Let the Zaxby’s countdown begin.
I stopped by the Zaxby’s construction site on Friday and was given a complete update by general contractor Jack Williams, a man who has built many a Zaxby’s.
“We’re supposed to be able to build four a year,” said Jack, “but we’ve never done it. It usually ends up being about two a year. I just finished one in Talladega, Ala., and I’ll be starting one in Lawrenceburg when I leave here.”
Jack said construction is expected to be complete at the end of May, with Zaxby’s expected to open its doors to the hungry McMinnville community in mid-June.
“It’s Zaxby’s corporate policy to wait at least 10 days after getting a certificate of occupancy before they open,” said Jack. “The worst thing you can do is open without being ready.”
Our Zaxby’s is owned by Steven Stembridge, who owns around 15 Zaxby’s and counting.
As for the size of our Zaxby’s, we’re getting the mid-sized model. According to Jack, Zaxby’s franchises are built with three basic floorplans. The small seats 50. The mid-sized seats 70, while the large seats 90.
Jack said he’s been in town at a hotel for the past two months while overseeing construction. He said the most challenging part is getting subcontractors to show up when they say they will.
I can certainly relate. Any time I try to get someone out to my house to do some work, they always forget to show up. As a result, I’ve developed a great many home improvement skills. Jack says subcontractors on major building projects can be much the same as the electrician who doesn’t show up at my house.
“The only difference is when it happens here, it’s on a much larger scale,” said Jack. “It’s a domino effect. Everybody has to be pushed back and rescheduled.”
I hope this update allows you to adjust your schedule and vacation planning for the expected mid-June opening of Zaxby’s. That puts it on a collision course with Bonnaroo, which means I may be in Manchester when our Zaxby’s opens for business.
The lowdown on those bins
Have you seen the size of those bins on Manchester Highway? They could quite possibly be the largest structures in a 100-mile radius, although I’m not about to travel 100 miles with a tape measure to verify that claim.
I’m referring to the five, elephant-sized bins on the right on the way to Manchester. The bins are owned by Woodall Grain Company and, collectively, are capable of storing nearly 2 million bushels of grain.
Since I get asked occasionally about the bins because of their enormity, I decided to talk to Lou Pfister, who is the director of operations at Woodall Grain. The location in Manchester is the company’s newest in Middle Tennessee. There’s also a plant in Decherd, and two in Lincoln County.
Lou told me after about six months of construction, the company opened phase one of the plant in Manchester in September 2014. Phase one consisted of the three smaller bins capable of holding 250,000 bushels each.
Phase two was complete in September 2015 and added the two larger bins capable of holding 550,000 bushels each.
“We’d rather not broadcast the amount, but it was a good-sized investment,” said Lou when asked the cost of the plant. “When we were looking for places to expand, one of the reasons we went in that direction is because all of the customers were have from the north. We had people who were driving from three hours north to the plant in Decherd.”
So what’s in those bins? Lou says the bins are filled with corn, wheat and soybeans. They are constantly getting filled and emptied and the bins are rarely at full capacity.
“We’re always looking for buyers and sellers,” said Lou. “We’re moving grain in and out constantly. It takes a pretty good logistical dance to keep everything moving.”
One major benefit of the Manchester plant is Woodall was able to build it from the ground up and modern technology is utilized for speed and efficiency. Lou says a full semi-truck can unload in about 8 to 10 minutes. A robotic arm is used to probe into a grain load to determine its quality, which determines its bin.
“In some places the truck drivers have to sit around and wait for hours,” said Lou.
One of Woodall’s large customers is the poultry industry, which uses almost 100 percent of the corn for chicken-house feed. Woodall distributes grain throughout the Southeast. It has 60 employees at its four Tennessee locations.
That’s a two-minute rundown on Woodall Grain Company and the bins you can’t miss as you’re driving from McMinnville to Manchester. If you have grain needs, Woodall can be reached at (931) 968-1070.
Justin Stewart to buy business
There’s been a great deal of speculation about the fate of Stewart Medical Equipment since the closing of Stewart Pharmacy. Now it appears Justin Stewart, the grandson of pharmacy founder Nestor Stewart, is going to buy the medical equipment business and keep it operational.
Justin says there’s been much confusion about the medical equipment business since the pharmacy closed, but the two have always been separate businesses. While Rite Aid bought Stewart Pharmacy, it did not buy the medical equipment business.
“We shopped it around and got two or three bids on it,” said Justin of Stewart Medical Equipment. “But I decided I didn’t want to let it go.”
Justin said he matched the offer of the highest bid and is in the process of buying Stewart Medical Equipment. He says the name will remain unchanged, but he hopes the location will. He doesn’t need the 12,000 square feet occupied by the pharmacy and he hopes to be moving to a much smaller spot at Plaza Shopping Center between Ashley’s Attic and Merle Norman.
“Since the pharmacy closed, people will poke their heads in here to see what’s happening,” said Justin. “One of the neat things is so many people will stop and tell me a story about grandpa.”
As for what remains of Stewart Pharmacy, an auction is scheduled for May 14 in hopes of clearing the store.
“We hope to get rid of everything that’s not nailed down,” said Justin.
A wide variety of items are set to go on the auction block. That includes shelving, fax machines, staplers, and hundreds of other items that accumulated over the course of 50 years of business.
If you’d like to reach Stewart Medical Equipment, the phone number is 473-5387.
Never enough Mexican food
If you were thinking we just don’t have enough Mexican restaurant options here in Warren County, I have news for you. One of our Mexican restaurants is about to expand.
The granddaddy of them all, the first Mexican restaurant of McMinnville, the one that started the revolution, Fiesta Ranchera at Plaza Shopping Center, is about to get bigger. It’s going to be expanding into a portion of the shopping center located closest to Smithville Highway as David Savage is downsizing his business.
“I’ve been dealing with used furniture for over 30 years and I think it’s about time to get out of the business,” said David, who is going to keep the back part of the building and continue selling BBQ and doing car detailing.
“The used furniture, people expect you to give it away,” David continued. “So I may do some flea markets, but I’ve cleared it all out of the front of the store and I think the Mexican restaurant may start its renovation work on Monday.”
While the Mexican restaurant moves into the front of the building, David says he’s going to transform the back half into a family game room with a pool table, air hockey table, and a few video games. He says he’s going to add a side door for more convenient access.
Two degrees of Chuck Norris
For the rabid fans who comprise Chuck Norris Nation, here are a few one-liners.
A bulletproof vest wears Chuck Norris for protection.
Chuck Norris doesn’t dial the wrong number. You pick up the wrong phone.
Chuck Norris can put out a fire with a gallon of gasoline.
Chuck Norris can cut a knife with butter.
OK, so enough with the Chuck Norris jokes, and no they’re not random. I bring you these Chuck Norris jokes because several students at McMinnville Jiu-Jitsu Academy had a chance earlier this month to make a trip to Cookeville to learn from jiu-jitsu master Carlos Machado.
If you’re asking “Who is Carlos Machado?” he is the person who gave Chuck Norris his black belt in jiu-jitsu.
“He’s a very rare breed,” said McMinnville Jiu-Jitsu Academy owner Robin Clark in talking about Machado. “Masters like him are in high demand and we’re extremely lucky he came to a place like Cookeville. This shows that students at McMinnville Jiu-Jitsu can learn from some of the very best in the world. He is one of the original pioneers of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.”
If you’d like to improve your fitness, increase your self-defense abilities, or just learn a new skill, Robin is a talented instructor who can put you on the right track. He can be reached at (931) 261-4183.
That’s all folks
For all your business tips, phone 473-2191.