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Business Pulse
Which Wich customer
Jason Gross places an order Monday night at Which Wich, the first day of business for the new restaurant on Manchester Highway in Morrison. Hes greeted by friendly service from Rylie Chisam.

It didn’t take long for Which Wich to get a repeat customer. It was accomplished on the restaurant’s opening day Monday in Morrison.

“I ate here for lunch and it was so good I decided to come back for dinner,” said Jason Gross while placing an order Monday night. “I’m ready for a place like this. I especially like the later hours. You can get a fresh sandwich until 10:30 p.m.”

Monday saw a steady flow of customers anxious to give the new sub shop a try. It’s located on Manchester Highway in a massive new development owned by Bhumik Patel that also features a Quick Shop convenience store that sells Shell gasoline.

“The sandwiches are made with quality meat and quality cheese,” said Bhumik. “Everyone has been happy so far.”

Bhumik said store employees have been trained by professionals who traveled from Dallas, Texas. There was Friends and Family Day on Sunday where free food was given away so employees could fine tune their routine under a rush.

One early favorite appears to be the Wicked Sandwich that includes five meats and three cheeses. There are several flavors of milkshakes and I could testify under oath that the Oreo milkshake is mighty tasty.

Donna Anderson, a former Standard employee, is quickly becoming a Which Wich regular. She’s already eaten there twice and says she’s thrilled to have another restaurant option in Morrison.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed it both times,” said Donna. “My husband ate the vegetarian wrap called a Superfood Wich. He said it was very good. I’m glad we have a new fast food place where we can grab healthy choices for our meals.”

Which Wich has a customer rewards program where you earn points with every purchase. When you accumulate 35 points, you get a free Wich. Members of the rewards program are also mailed a coupon for a free Wich on their birthday. Bhumik says you can register for the rewards program then just give your phone number when you order so you don’t have to keep up with another card in your wallet.

If you’re interested in bringing a new level of flavor to your next party or gathering, Which Wich also does catering. You can order sandwich or wrap trays, pasta salad, drinks, chips, cookies and more.

Regular hours are 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. seven days a week. The phone number is 304-8388.

As for the other two parts of the commercial development, Bhumik said it shouldn’t be long before the Quick Shop is open. He said the store will first start selling gas, possibly as early as this week, before it becomes fully stocked with other items and plenty of hot food.

There’s also space allocated on the other side of Quick Shop for a second restaurant. Bhumik said his attention will turn to filling that retail space down the road.

“We wanted to get the Which Wich up and running first,” said Bhumik. “This has been a lot of work. We want to get settled in here and then we’ll concentrate on the Quick Shop.”

Anyone driving down Manchester Highway can tell Bhumik’s new development represents a major investment in Warren County. He is young, ambitious, and eager to succeed.

Washing his hands of Village

It’s a business location just bubbling with opportunity. Prime real estate property has come available in the middle of McMinnville’s busiest commercial district.

Village Car Wash is officially on the market and listed with Kirby Real Estate. The property is 2.6 acres and can be accessed from Hobson or Mullican streets.

“For the last year, or last year and a half, I’ve had a lot of out-of-town brokers approach me to see if I’m interested in selling,” said property owner Joe Anish. “I figured the best way to tell if there’s real interest is to put a sign up and list it. So far it’s gone well and I think now is a good time. With the economy the way it’s been and some of the other commercial developments, now is a good time to market it.”

Joe says he’s been surprised to learn there’s interest in keeping it a car wash. He says this includes some interest from local residents.

A car wash has been proven to work at that location. Village Car Wash has been there since 1964 and Joe says it still does a great business.

“We just had our busiest three-day stretch since I’ve owned it last Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” said Joe. “It was nice weather and everyone had salt on their cars from the snow.”

While keeping it a car wash is fine, Joe says he thinks the best use of the property would be to redevelop it considering its location. This could be for a new restaurant or retail business.

Joe says he has talked with Gary Brewer, an adjacent property owner, and Gary would be willing to add .6 of an acre of his property to the mix to bring the total to 3.2 acres at that spot. Joe also clarified the property for sale is just the car wash and does not include the convenience store and gas station.

As for his other car wash businesses, Joe sold Viola Road Car Wash on South Chancery Street three years ago. He says he’s in the process of making some upgrades to Mt. Leo Car Wash on Beersheba Street and putting it on the market.

“The car wash business has a lot to do with discretionary income and gas prices,” said Joe. “If people don’t have money to fill up their tank, they’re not going to get a car wash. But with gas prices the way they’ve been, people have money for a car wash.”

Joe has been the owner of Vilco Supply since 1976 and says he wants to concentrate on that busiEness. He says it’s difficult to give Vilco his full attention when he’s also operating car washes that stay open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

If you’re interested in the Village Car Wash property on Hobson Street, give Kirby Real Estate a call at 473-3181.

IDB awakened by hotel prospect

A Tennessee businessman has been working with our Industrial Development Board in hopes of bringing a Hampton Inn to Sparta Street at the site of the old River Park Hospital.

In an effort to help the deal materialize, the IDB has been working with the state on a Tax Increment Financing program, also called TIF. The goal is to keep local property taxes at their current level to help the developer.

“Improvements that are going to be made are going to raise the property tax down the road,” said IDB director Don Alexander. “This company is just wanting some relief from that.”

Don explained to board members that the current city and county property taxes for the site in question are $6,685. Based on estimates for the type of hotel that will be constructed, local property taxes are projected to rise to $198,270 once the hotel is complete. The estimated difference is more than $191,000 in tax.

I don’t want to bore you with all the technical issues associated with the TIF program, but the goal is to get the hotel property tax to stay at its current level of $6,685 for many years down the road. This will provide a tax incentive for a person who will be investing millions of dollars into our community.

Don estimates about 70 percent of the work has already been done to get the property eligible for the TIF program. He says while this is a new endeavor for the local IDB, it’s something the state does regularly and he’s confident it will be achieved. When that happens, we’ll be one step closer to a Hampton Inn.
What will happen with Newell?

Years ago, it was called Oster and got its start in Warren County way back in 1959. After decades of operation as Oster, the company was sold and became Jarden.

More than a year ago, another acquisition took place and Jarden was purchased by Newell Brands, which now operates two large facilities right here in McMinnville.

I provide that little bit of history because many folks don’t realize Newell Brands has a strong presence in town. And that’s why Thursday’s major announcement was especially attention-grabbing.

For those who may have missed it, Newell said it will be selling about half its manufacturing plants and cutting its customer base in half. This top-to-bottom restructuring comes amid disappointing sales and profits. Three members of the Newell board of directors resigned Thursday.

Trying to determine what might happen to the two local facilities is pure speculation at this point. Newell probably doesn’t know itself as the company said it would begin the evaluation process immediately with a goal of finishing by the end of 2019. That’s almost two years away.

From what I understand from super-secret sources, the two facilities in McMinnville still fall under what the company calls its Oster Division, which is appliances and cookware. This division is supposedly stable and is not expected to be altered like some of the other Newell segments.

Newell manufactures well-known products such as Rubbermaid and Sharpie. When Newell combined with Jarden, the company had a worldwide workforce of some 45,000 employees.

The restructuring news spooked investors and sent Newell stock plummeting over 20 percent Thursday. The stock rebounded with about a 2 percent gain Friday, but it’s still less than half its value from this summer.
Newell Brands is based in Hoboken, N.J.

That’s all folks

Good luck on all your business endeavors. Phone in all your latest business tips to 473-2191.