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Business Cheetah 6-4
New restaurant offers smooth cooking
Smooth Rapids Grill features a spacious deck that provides a scenic view of the Barren Fork River. Its a great atmosphere for relaxing with friends like Brad Hennessee, Ray Talbert and others.

It's time for the Business Cheetah Shout-Out of the Month, a recognition I give probably every two or three years.
It goes to the Arizona man who was successful in getting his driver license photo taken with a spaghetti strainer on his head.
This sort of behavior is normally frowned upon by stuffy state officials, but Sean Corbett was able to get away with it by saying the colander is part of his religious freedom.
Corbett claims to be a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Such followers are referred to as Pastafarians.
"The Pastafarians believe the Earth was created by an unseen flying ball of spaghetti and the world was created in four days," said Corbett. "The whole premise behind Pastafarianism is you're just supposed to enjoy life and do whatever you really need to do while being slightly intoxicated."
The editors of Business Cheetah support religious freedom, but never want to encourage drug or alcohol use. We have TV for that. On a personal note, I don't think religion and pasta should mix.

For great food, just add water

Water is used for a great many things. From a musical aspect, the beauty of water has been gushed about by singers such as Billy Joel, Neil Young, Johnny Cash and others.
From a Smooth Rapids Outfitters standpoint, water is a great place to sling a kayak and begin paddling.
At the newly opened Smooth Rapids Grill, a beautiful river view is in store for customers as they dine on burgers, wings, cheddar bites, and other favorites. The restaurant, which opened last month, overlooks the babbling brook we call the Barren Fork River.
You could say the good reviews have been cascading in as Smooth Rapids Grill is gaining notice. It’s open five days a week at 245 Durham Street.
“We’re getting a lot of good feedback on our food and we have something for everyone,” said kitchen guru Travis Barker, who said parents will appreciate the children’s menu. “It’s a great stop when you’re coming off the river and want to grab a bite to eat.”
It is indeed as the Smooth Rapids Grill is located about an hour, as the river flows, from Pepper Branch Park. There’s a spacious deck equipped with amenities such as picnic tables, a sofa and a hammock to address the level of relaxation you crave.
If you’d like to grab a tall glass of sweet tea, there’s plenty on hand. If you’d like to grab a cold draft beer, there’s that too. Patrons can choose from a selection of four draft beers.
There are several TVs located inside and out, perfect for watching a big game with friends, or an episode of Oprah with your mom.
One menu item that’s getting considerable airplay is the River Monster. It’s a slow-cooked burger that features provolone cheese, banana peppers, red onion, and horseradish mayonnaise. Bring your appetite if you plan to reel this entire burger down your throat.
The chicken wings have also been a hit with customers commenting on the hefty size of the wings.
Smooth Rapids Grill is open five days a week. On Wednesday, it’s open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. From Thursday thru Sunday it’s open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The grill is closed Monday and Tuesday. Boat rentals remain seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
The restaurant is the latest addition for a business which began in April 2012 as a part-time venture for four friends who decided to join together to offer kayak rentals. The four pals, Todd Barker, Jimmy Barker, Michael Lockhart and Mickey Heath, decided to grow their business slowly.
Over the past five years, they have added around 80 kayaks to their inventory, a campground, a store, and now a restaurant. They also started their own festival, Reggae at Smooth Rapids, which is set for Aug. 4-5 this year.
As this community has stretched its arms to embrace time on the water, Smooth Rapids has helped nurture our newfound pastime. It’s also a business frequented by out-of-town visitors as a day on the river is a great way to vacation.
Smooth Rapids can be reached at (931) 452-9251.

Old Cheese plant up for auction

If you’ve often thought of buying the old cheese plant off the bypass, as most of us have, now is your chance to pounce.
The 47,000-square-foot building is currently for sale with Tays Realty in an absolute online auction. Anyone who would like to bid on the building can do so until June 20 at 10 a.m.
“It’s a good building with several tenants,” said Clint Moore, one of the property owners.
One option in buying the building is to let the tenants stay as a source of regular income. There’s currently a water business located there, the Habitat for Humanity Restore, a painter, and a lotion manufacturer.
Or, if you have big plans and want to utilize the entire building, the tenants could find other accommodations.
Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander says he’s shown the building to potential buyers on several occasions. At one point, it appeared one of those was a very strong candidate. However, a deal to buy the building was never finalized.
If you’d like to take an up-close look at the facility, Tays Realty has done a great job listing it on its website. You can even take a 360-degree virtual tour that looks as if you’re walking through the building.
The website is You have a little more than two weeks to submit your bid. Good luck.

Zion Horses begins to gallop

Caitlin Popplewell started riding horses when she was a little girl and her love for horses continues today. That’s why she has started a new business called Zion Horses in the Mt. Zion area that provides all sorts of horse-related services such as rescue, boarding, training and breeding.
One of her primary concerns is finding homes for unwanted horses, which she says is a growing problem.
“You know how people will dump a dog on the side of the road and drive away,” said Caitlin. “Well they do that for horse too.”
That is certainly unfortunate, but the horse will land in good hands if it ends up in Caitlin’s care. She will keep it until she finds a quality home. She has a max of about 14 horses and is nearly at capacity between her barn and pastures.
She has an arena set up for training for anyone who would like to climb on that horse and learn the ropes of horseback riding.
Caitlin was once a hard-core rider who would jump and do cross-country races so she knows her stuff.
She also offers boarding and breeding services.
“Sometimes a horse owner will need a place to keep their horses during a move or while a fence is being constructed,” said Caitlin. “Whatever the reason, I’ll board them and I’m here at the barn every day.”
Two horses recently left her care after she found them homes. Two more have been adopted and are scheduled to leave in the coming weeks.
“Some of them I know will never find a home. They are here to stay,” said Caitlin who had one horse named peaches that lived to age 42. “She was nearly blind and had no teeth. I thought she would live forever, but I walked up to her one day and saw she was having some trouble and she just fell over dead.”
Peaches was an exception as Caitlin says most horses live to their 20s or 30s. She has interesting stories behind so many of her horses and is a great source of information.
If you’d like to learn more about Zion Horses, call (931) 314-9062.

Officials hit the river

Members of our Industrial Development Board want to ensure the Warren County apple tree keeps bearing jobs. As of way of saying thanks to the state officials who help them so much, our IDB held a river float on Friday that was attended by representatives from TVA, Upper Cumberland Development District, the Tennessee Department of Economic Development and others.
IDB director Don Alexander summed up the gathering when he said, “As much electronic communication as we do nowadays, it's nice to get together and see each other face to face.”
Those who made the float were treated to a trip down the Barren Fork and Collins rivers on the traditional journey from Pepper Branch Park to the VFW. They stopped at the Smooth Rapids Grill, mentioned previously, for burgers.
City employee Brad Hennessee was among the distinguished members of the delegation. Brad scarfed down his burger so fast, I thought he might accidentally eat the basket it came in.
Also among the group was Tracy Daugherty who works with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The department is charged with assessing the state’s 60,000 miles of waterways.
Tracy said the extended look at the Barren Fork River was a refreshing change as he usually pulls up to a river, gets a sample, takes a quick look around, then leaves.
“It’s really nice to see it firsthand from a different perspective,” said Tracy as he climbed back into his kayak after eating at the grill. “The Barren Fork has a lot of nice features, some unique critters. Bugs are one of the things we look at with a waterway. Some are good, some are bad. The wrong kind of bugs show the waterway is in a stressed condition. The Barren Fork and Collins are both in good condition.”

Unemployment is crazy low

The state has released its latest county-by-county unemployment rates with Warren County at a staggeringly low rate of 3.7 percent for April.
According to the state, unemployment decreased in all 95 Tennessee counties from March to April.
Williamson County has the lowest unemployment at a mere 2.6 percent. That’s followed by Davidson County at 2.7 percent.

That’s all folks

At this time next week I will be a Bonnaroo. While I’m enjoying this musical diversion, I will still be thinking about business news, 473-2191.