Like the smell of BBQ billowing from a cooker, it hasn’t taken long for Edley’s Bar-B-Que to grab attention.
Warren County native Will Newman opened his first Edley’s restaurant in Nashville in late 2011. He’s been greeted with such a positive response, Will now owns five Edley’s in Tennessee and Kentucky and he’s working to open the first Edley’s franchise in Jacksonville, Fla., later this year.
For a guy who just turned 40, Will is an amazing success story. He’s another shining example of a Warren County product who is representing our community well in the landscape of America.
“To open a new restaurant, you have to have a short memory,” said Will. “You can’t remember how hard it was to open the last one.”
It was a much more suppressed economic climate when Will opened Edley’s on 12th Avenue South in Nashville just before Thanksgiving of 2011. We were still crawling out of The Great Recession and new restaurants weren’t common.
“The fact my new restaurant was newsworthy and there were stories written about it tells you something,” said Will. “Now there are restaurants opening all the time in Nashville and no one blinks an eye.”
There are three Edley’s in the Nashville area, one in Chattanooga, and one in Lexington, Ky. All of the restaurants have patios which add to the festive atmosphere.
Will has also opened a Mexican-style restaurant named Poncho and Lefty’s Cantina, which is located right across from Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville. The restaurant has two floors with a rooftop bar and does a huge business during Predator games and events at the arena.
Will said the property owner had been talking to him for years about putting an Edley’s there, but the layout wasn’t conducive to that type of restaurant. Built in 1810, he said it’s one of the oldest buildings in Nashville and has worked well for Poncho and Lefty’s.
But wait … there’s more. In addition to the restaurants mentioned above, Will also owns two stores called The Filling Station where people can visit to get craft beer on tap or fill their growlers to take home. There’s also a wide selection of bottled and canned beers at The Filling Station.
Collectively, Will says he has about 300 employees at eight stores which are open seven days a week. When asked how he deals with the stress of the hectic restaurant business, Will said, “You come to appreciate the fact chaos rules and you develop systems and procedures to deal with that.”
Will credits basic business principles he learned while owning two homemade ice cream franchises shortly after graduating from the University of Tennessee as teaching him the ropes and contributing to his current success. After selling those two stores, he went to law school in Alabama.
“After two years of law school, I was pretty darn sure I didn’t want to be an attorney,” said Will, whose father Robert is a local attorney.
Is Will's great cooking the secret to the success of Edley's?
"I'm no cook," admits Will. "I'm capable of doing the basics in the backyard, but that's about it. A culinary chef has really helped me refine all the recipes. He's made my rubs better, my potato salad better. We're kind of like 3M. We're a company that takes ideas and makes them better."
So how many more Edley’s Bar-B-Cues are on the horizon? Will says he is franchising the restaurant with the first franchise set to open in Jacksonville, Fla., later this year.
“We’ll train them for six weeks in Nashville then once they're open we'll evaluate them on a quarterly basis to ensure they’re providing the quality of food and service our guests have come to expect,” said Will.
As for the name, Will said he named the restaurants after his grandfather, Edley Newman, who also has a ballfield named in his honor at McMinnville Civic Center.
“I look like him and act like him and growing up in Warren County I heard a lot about him,” said Will. “He was the quintessential Southern man. I grew up hearing about his legacy and it made a huge impact on me.”
Business Pulse is proud to salute the efforts of Warren County’s own Will Newman.
May he one day bring his famous potato salad recipe back home.
Amy Fults joins Pioneer Pediatrics
After nearly three months at Pioneer Pediatrics, family nurse practitioner Amy Fults has made the following diagnosis. She’s a great fit there.
“The people here at this practice are very caring, very loving,” said Amy. “I don’t know how many other places I could go where the doctor walks into the room sounding like Donald Duck or Chewbacca. I love it here and I love the joy of children.”
Amy joined the practice, located at 236 East Main Street, at the end of February. She’s continuing what’s been a 24-year career in the field of nursing.
Amy has specialized in a variety of areas. She’s been a school nurse, worked in home health, and even provided chemotherapy treatments.
At Pioneer Pediatrics, Amy says she feels like she’s finally found her true home. She enjoys working with children and providing healthcare solutions that lead to overall well-being.
Even though she deals with young patients from birth to age 18, Amy says it’s startling how many children are developing adult health problems due to poor diet and lack of exercise. Today’s children are also experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, along with other mental health issues.
“Our lifestyle, as a society, is everything needs to be in a rush,” said Amy. “We eat fast food, and when we do eat at home it’s from a microwave. Diabetes is on the rise and high cholesterol is on the rise for our children. And I’m seeing increased depression in children as young as eighth-graders.”
Amy recommends limiting TV, video games, and social media time to one hour per day for children. She says this can also be a difficult message for parents to convey because parents are becoming glued to their cellphones as much as kids are.
“We need each other’s undivided attention,” said Amy.
She said she recently read an interesting story about a person who travelled around to different restaurants looking to find a family that could eat an entire meal without one member of the family disconnecting from the group and turning to their cellphone. According to the story, it took this person three days to find a family that could eat a meal without cellphone interference.
As the father of two teenage boys, I know firsthand how difficult it is to get kids to step away from their cellphone. They don’t seem to enjoy life without a screen.
This undoubtedly interferes with their face-to-face relationships. I wonder if people will even talk 20 years from now or just text each other from the same room.
Amy is an engaging person with a ton of healthcare experience. She’s accepting new patients at Pioneer Pediatrics and can be reached for an appointment at 815-5437.
Carlene Brown Is retiring
After 42 years in the workforce, Carlene Brown has announced her retirement. Her last day at McMinnville Physical Therapy is set for this Friday.
Local residents may best remember Carlene for her work at McMinnville Civic Center as she spent 25 years as the city’s Parks and Recreation director. Her career got its start in 1978 when she accepted a job fresh out of college as recreation director at the prestigious Pinehurst Country Club in North Carolina.
At the time, Pinehurst had seven swimming pools, horseback riding, a lake, golf, a hotel, and several condos. Carlene worked there for three years before moving to the mountains of North Carolina where she took a job managing recreational activities for a huge timeshare community. Those activities included skiing in the winter and whitewater rafting in the summer.
She fondly remembers her years at the Civic Center.
“One of the neatest things about being there for 25 years is I’d have young employees who were 18 or 19 and I’d see them grow up and have families and then their kids would come through the Parks and Recreation Department,” said Carlene.
It was after Carlene left Parks and Recreation she decided to see about joining the staff of McMinnville Physical Therapy thanks in part to an article in your friendly, neighborhood Southern Standard.
“There was an article with a picture that showed a crane setting up the indoor pool and when I saw that I thought this would be a great place to work,” said Carlene.
Eight years later, Carlene says her time at McMinnville Physical Therapy has been memorable and the pool has been a great place for local residents to enjoy shallow and deep-water exercises.
“When we work with patients here, it’s usually for six weeks and that gives us a chance to really build a relationship,” said Carlene. “When you’ve worked with someone and seen them make real progress, it’s very rewarding when they look you in the eye and say thank you.”
As for her future plans, Carlene says she’s 62 and husband Ronnie is 70. She says they have bought a camper and plan to travel. Carlene is hopeful to get re-elected to the Warren County Commission in August and says she will be able to devote even more time to local government once she’s retired, along with some of her volunteer organizations like the Park Theater board and the Chamber board.
As Carlene prepares to turn the page, Business Pulse would like to issue this age-old reminder. As one door closes, another opens. This isn’t the end, but a new beginning.
That’s all folks
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