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Business Pulse - Bridgestone shows love of our world
Bridgestone tire original
Bridgestone is one of Middle Tennessees largest employers. The tiremaker showed its environmental compassion on Wednesday by donating 6,000 acres in White County to a conservation group. Thank you, Bridgestone.

Former Chrysler executive Lee Iacocca is credited with saying one of the dumbest things in modern history when he said, “We’ve got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?”

Iacocca’s statement came in response to environmental regulations which were aimed at improving air quality, but would cost his company money.

Gee, what’s more important – Chrysler’s quarterly profits, or the air we breathe? If Chrysler made enough money, perhaps we would all be happy drinking polluted water too.

Thankfully, not all companies operate in a moral vacuum oblivious to the environmental damage they inflict. Bridgestone is a shining example of a company focused on doing what’s right.

I say this after Bridgestone Americas donated nearly 6,000 acres of forest in White County for land conservation aimed at protecting endangered species and mitigating climate change.

The tire and rubber giant announced Wednesday it would give land on the Cumberland Plateau to The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee. It’s the largest land donation received in the history of The Nature Conservancy.

The gift will protect and enhance habitat for a range of endangered plant and animal species and will provide connectivity to adjoining protected forests, including the 10,000-acre Bridgestone/ Firestone Centennial Wilderness previously gifted by Bridgestone to the state of Tennessee.
The donated land will be known as the Bridgestone Nature Reserve at Chestnut Mountain. It’s located on the eastern side of White County not far from Cumberland County.

“At Bridgestone, we have a corporate social responsibility philosophy called Our Way to Serve, in which we are not only committed to making our communities where we work stronger, but are equally dedicated to our environmental commitment to ensure a healthy environment for generations to come,” said Bridgestone representative Christine Karbowiak. “The Bridgestone Nature Reserve at Chestnut Mountain is a beautiful part of Tennessee and home to some of the most biodiverse forests in the United States. We are proud to partner with The Nature Conservancy, which shares a mutual goal of restoring and managing this fragile forest to the benefit of us all.”

The land’s most notable natural feature, Chestnut Mountain, is the highest peak in White County with an elevation of approximately 2,000 feet. The acreage includes Billy Branch Lake, mixed hardwood and pine forests, wooded mountain bluffs, caves and streams.

The area is home to rare species, such as the peregrine falcon, Eastern slender glass lizard and barking tree frog, along with rare plants like the Cumberland rosemary and Michigan lily.

The forest is so robust in its oxygen production, Bridgestone officials say it removes enough carbon dioxide from the air to offset the carbon footprint of the entire Bridgestone tower in Nashville.

I bring all this to your attention because I thought you’d like to know.

New boutique opens its red door

It was nearly two years ago when Jessica George began selling boutique items from the back of her car. Her clothing line was catchy and in demand so she opened a store in Centertown in October, 2016 called Red Door Boutique.

That store frolicked in prosperity so Jessica decided to make the next step – open a new location in the big city of McMinnville. She started with a soft opening last weekend before having a grand opening extravaganza on Friday.

“I’ve really been blown away by the response,” said Jessica on Friday. “Even on a rainy Tuesday we had customers packing into the store. Opening right now, with the new spring inventory we have in stock, has really been perfect timing.”

The store was hopping with activity Friday afternoon. All the merchandise at Red Door Boutique is brand new and features the latest fashion trends. Jessica says it’s easy to find a look that’s right for you.

“One thing we’re doing here that we don’t do in Centertown is we sell shoes,” said Jessica. “We sell makeup and we sell jewelry. You can come in and get a complete outfit from head to toe.”

The boutique is geared for women. Jessica says she doesn’t offer merchandise for men and children, but she has taken them into consideration.
“We have a very nice seating area for men,” said Jessica. “They can hang out there and not have to carry around clothes. They can sit back and relax.”

Red Door Boutique is also contributing to the local workforce. Jessica has hired four employees and says they are all very knowledgeable on fashion.

The business is located at Plaza Shopping Center and is open seven days a week. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday thru Saturday, and 12 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The phone number is (423) 364-3187.

Prayers answered for Sunday liquor

On a personal note, I don’t think the state needs liquor sales on Sunday. Can’t we have a one-day break from the never-ending cycle of intoxication?

If you do want to drink on Sunday, that’s your business. But can’t there be just a smidgen of planning to at least buy what you need on Saturday?
Apparently not.

State lawmakers have passed a bill allowing liquor sales on Sunday. Yes, Sunday. The measure took effect last Friday, April 20, when Gov. Bill Haslam signed it into law.

If the state allows it you might as well do it. After missing opening Sunday last weekend, all three liquor stores in McMinnville say they’re going to be open this Sunday for weekend No. 2.

“We thought we would gauge what our customers wanted and we got an overwhelming response for opening on Sunday,” said Tree City Wine & Spirits owner Keval Sheth, who said his Sunday hours will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Our customers said if we were open on Sunday, they would shop here. With the city trying to push tourism and the weather getting warmer, people might want some drinks heading out to Rock Island.”

In an interesting twist, liquor stores are permitted to sell beer beginning at 8 a.m. Sunday morning under ABC Board guidelines. That means local residents could get a four-hour headstart on their Sunday beer buying if there was a liquor store that opened at 8 a.m. because current McMinnville guidelines don’t permit beer sales until noon on Sunday.

However, local residents will have to settle for two hours earlier for now. Somewhere Liquors at Plaza Shopping Center plans to open the earliest on Sunday with hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“All we’ve heard about is buying liquor on Sunday so we’re going to be open,” said Somewhere Liquors employee Vickie Hillis. “I think some people want to do it just because they can.”

McMinnville Liquor and Wine on N. Chancery Street will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

“We’re going to see how it goes and adjust the hours,” said employee Kelsey Stephens. “We’re definitely going to be open. I had at least a dozen people ask me about it yesterday.”

Motlow students show ingenuity

Tasked with building an automated can-crushing machine completely from scratch in 15 weeks, local Motlow students rose to the challenge. They completed the project and gave a community demonstration Friday at the McMinnville campus.

“What I learned is everything takes longer than expected,” said Byron Bass, one of eight students who worked on the project.

I must admit I was well impressed with what the students created. They developed a tangible design, ordered parts, programmed software, did the wiring, and managed to complete the project below their $500 budget. They said their exact cost was $462.

The crusher included a sensor to determine the weight of the can. If the sensor did not determine the can was empty, it would not allow crushing to commence.

The crushing motion itself was slow because students used a 450-pound, low-capacity actuator, but that setup provided plenty of torque. Before giving a demonstration, students were asked what they learned from the 15-week project.

Group leader Will Hill said, “This made me really understand the importance of delegating and delegating in a way where everyone felt like they were a vital part of the project, but no one was overwhelmed with too much work.”

Other students said they learned the importance of having a good leader, the importance of realizing your first plan is likely not going to work, and the importance of considering backup plans to every phase of development so the project doesn’t collapse if one stage won’t work.

From my perch, it's great to see what these fine, young minds created. It’s this type of Mechatronic and robotic know-how that’s so vital in manufacturing today. It’s reassuring to see we have a talented, up-and-coming crop of employees poised to enter the workforce. These students are our tomorrow.

That’s all folks

If you are so inclined to call me with your business tips, the phone number is 473-2191.