Success stories are fun to tell. So sit back and enjoy the story of Boles Tool, a local business which just closed on a deal to purchase the old Pine Hill Plastics building in Dibrell.
The much larger facility will give Boles Tool about five times more space than its current building with the possibility of employee growth down the road.
“I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse, but this is ours now,” said Terry, who owns and operates Boles Tool with his wife, Cindy.
Terry and Cindy started Boles Tool in July 2002. Back then they were two of the four employees. The company has outgrown several locations along the way and now has 19 full-time and part-time employees. That's steady growth for what was basically a mom-and-pop operation at the start. The business specializes in CNC machine work and has a well-diversified customer base.
Terry said they do some work for the aerospace industry, which sounds really high-tech. They also do after-market auto parts work. Other customers include a firearms manufacturer and an industrial battery company.
“We ran out of room and power at our other facility so we had to do something,” said Terry. “We were going to add on there, but this came along and seemed like too good a deal to pass up.”
Terry said one of the biggest challenges for his business is finding well-qualified machinists who can do the work. He said the Tennessee College of Applied Technology has a strong training program under the direction of Randy England and he’s hired four or five workers after they’ve completed their coursework at TCAT.
The old Pine Hill Plastics facility has three buildings and a total of 34,000 square feet. Boles Tool will be moving from a facility with 7,500 square feet so this is quite an upgrade. Terry estimates it will take at least two months to complete the moving process, a process that will begin by removing very large plastic mold injection machinery that was left behind.
It’s been said many times before that a local economy typically receives its most growth from existing industries making gradual expansions. A new plant might generate headlines and bring state officials to town for a ribbon cutting, but helping your existing businesses prosper to the point where they can expand is the best avenue to create more jobs, economic officials have told me again and again.
Terry says he’s not ready to begin hiring now, but it would seem to be the next logical step at some point down the road. The editors of Business Cheetah congratulate Terry and Cindy on their new business home and the success it may produce in the future.
When can we expect liquor?
I frequently get asked about the status of liquor stores opening in the city after McMinnville voters approved package liquor in November. It appears some folks are eager to start drinking. Here’s the latest update.
City officials have completed all the necessary local steps and anyone who would like to pick up a liquor store application can do so at City Hall.
Those who meet the requirements will be granted a certificate of compliance at the local level, but state approval is still needed. This is apparently where the process gets dicey and lengthy and maddening.
Mike Patel, who owns the Smoke Shop on Sparta Street, Pump N Pay East, and Pump N Pay West, has started the paperwork, which includes having a public notice listed in the newspaper. That notice appeared in the March 22 edition of the Standard and said it was for a store to be named McMinnville Liquor Store to be located at 719 North Chancery Street. That’s the old location of BJ’s Discount.
To accommodate a liquor store there, Patel bought the shopping center from Jewel Hale and Bobby Kirby. Patel now owns five of the six bays in that shopping center, with the exception of Brent’s Computers, which owns its spot.
“It’s a good, high-traffic location,” said Patel when asked about the shopping center. “It’s too early to tell how long this will take.”
That spot is equipped with a drive-thru window which has led to the question of whether it’s legal to buy a bottle of vodka at the drive-thru. The simple answer is I don’t know.
Is there much of a difference in buying a Big Mac at the drive-thru and buying a bottle of liquor? One will make you fat, give you high blood pressure, and put you on prescription medication for the rest of your life. The other will get you drunk. OK, so there is some difference.
Mike Patel isn’t the only gas station owner to begin spinning the liquor store wheels. In Newtown, Sid Patel purchased the property across from his gas station, Hina Market. He recently had the building on that .46 acres of property demolished.
Sid says it will probably be a month or so before he begins construction on a building that will house a liquor store. It’s also located on a busy road.
So in answer to the liquor store question, there’s really no way to determine how long the state will take to approve the liquor applications it receives. State offices are known to be as slow as a slug. But there are two local businessmen working to establish liquor stores.
Flash a Happy smile
A big smile has a way of brightening a room, of providing cheer on a cloudy day. Smiling is contagious. It’s friendly. It’s the American way.
After 27 years of bringing better smiles to Warren County, orthodontist Dr. Robert Jones has merged his longtime practice with a chain called Smile Doctors. Dr. Jones remains on hand, along with his trusty staff.
“People think I’m retiring and leaving the business, but that’s far from the truth,” said Dr. Jones. “I’m not going anywhere. This allows me to concentrate on what I love and that’s taking care of my patients. I don’t think anybody really enjoys the business part of it and that’s what Smile Doctors is taking over. They are handling the business end and I’m still seeing patients. This allows me to wear only one hat.”
Smile Doctors is a Texas-based company that has offices in Texas, Georgia, Indiana and Tennessee. The business is still looking to grow. Dr. Jones said he heard about Smile Doctors from a fellow orthodontist.
“He had merged with Smile Doctors about a year ago and it had worked out really well for him so I thought it might be something good to look into,” said Dr. Jones.
Dr. Jones is a second-generation orthodontist. His father operated a practice here with Dr. Neil Schultz, a practice Dr. Jones bought in 1990. He opened another office in Murfreesboro about six months later and has operated the two offices together ever since.
“The hardest thing is to try and coach 12-year-olds through what they need to do to get the results they need,” said Dr. Jones.
As for making better smiles, Dr. Jones says some mouths are easier to fix than others.
“I’ve seen some where there are teeth going all over the place and I think how in the world am I going to fix this?” said Dr. Jones. “It makes you long for the ones that aren’t that difficult. But the hard ones are OK too. They keep things from getting too mundane.”
Dr. Jones continues the same hours of operation under the Smile Doctors name.
The business is open locally Monday and Thursday at 1200 South Chancery Street. The phone number is the same, 473-6200.
Activity at old Gribble’s Smokehouse
Let me tell you about my level of dedication in tracking down business-related questions. It’s amazing.
A couple weeks ago, I received a voicemail from a lady who said there’s renovation work taking place at the old Gribble’s Smokehouse. She said on the voicemail she wanted to see a report in this business column and then she hung up. She left no phone number or no information about where the old Gribble’s Smokehouse might be.
I asked everyone here at the office – and we have some pretty old employees – but no one seemed to recall where the old Gribble’s Smokehouse might be. The break in the case finally came on Tuesday when I was getting a haircut at Smith Brothers Barbershop. The conversation turned to business so I asked barber Billy Smith if he’d heard about the old Gribble’s Smokehouse.
He had and Billy put me right on track to figuring out who might have information on it. I ended up calling Donna Goolsby. Her mother, Christine Gribble, owns the property and Donna filled me in on what’s happening there. She says it won’t be a new business.
“We’ve had people call and ask us what we’re doing,” said Donna. “It’s an old building and it’s been sitting empty for a long time. We’re using it for storage so we decided it was time to fix it up and make the neighborhood look a little better.”
They have certainly accomplished that as renovation work has produced the nicest looking shed I’ve ever seen. Donna also filled me in on the details of the old smokehouse.
She said Gribble’s Smokehouse was operated by her father in the 1970s. Cattle was raised at the business and turned into hamburger meat that same day. It was a way to ensure the freshest of meat.
So don’t get excited about a new business coming to the old Gribble’s Smokehouse. Donna said people have asked her if she was fixing it up to put a meat market there.
“We’ve already had one meat market and we closed that one,” said Donna. “We don’t want another.”
Enjoy the improved appearance of the building, just don’t expect a new business to be moving in.
That’s all folks
I’d like to thank the kind lady who did leave a business tip on my voicemail about the old Gribble's Smokehouse. While it was skimpy on details, it was the first business tip I’ve received in over a month. Phone in your business news at 473-2191 and I will report it in the newspaper.