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Business Pulse - Local history packed into The Greek Station
The Greek Station
Teresa and Mark Dinwiddie have opened The Greek Station, a new food trailer in front of Roses at Three Star Mall. The business is open Monday thru Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. each day and can be reached for call-in orders at (931) 619-6317.

Today’s Business Pulse begins with the charming story of Mark and Teresa Dinwiddie, who have opened a new food trailer in the parking lot of Three Star Mall called The Greek Station.

It’s a unique food trailer, unlike any other in this area, and I encourage you to give it a try. But first, this story about Mark and Teresa.

If you remember way back to the days of yesteryear, there was the popular Dinty Moore restaurant on Spring Street. The Dinty Moore sign still remains eye-catching today. That restaurant was originally opened by Teresa’s grandfather, S.R. Dinty Moore, and she would work there growing up.

Located next to Dinty Moore on the corner of Spring Street and Main Street was the famous City Drug Store, now burned. That pharmacy was originally started by Nestor Stewart, who was later joined by Ernest Crouch, before Morris Dinwiddie eventually bought the business and became full owner.

Mark is the son of Morris Dinwiddie and he spent years working in the pharmacy doing just about everything.

“All three of us kids started working there at age 12,” said Mark. “My dad had a rule that you could ask one time how to do something. After that you were expected to know it, so we all knew the business from one side to the other.”

With Teresa spending so much time at Dinty Moore and Mark spending so much time next door at City Drug, you might think that’s where their romance began to bloom. It didn’t.

They also went to the same church growing up, so you might think their romance began to marinate there. It didn’t.

Despite all their chances to make a love connection (where’s Chuck Woolery now?), it wasn’t until years later when Teresa was working at a doctor’s office that she met Mark through work and they began to date. The rest, as you might say, is history and The Greek Station food trailer is a result of their marriage.

The two have both been cooking for years. Mark’s days in the kitchen go all the way back to the luncheonette at City Drug where he would cook, fill coffee mugs, take orders and wash dishes.

“I was the only guy who would cook back then,” said Mark.

Teresa has a sister who has been a professional chef for 20 years and she’s worked in such cities as Philadelphia, D.C., and Nashville. It was as Teresa was sitting in her vehicle thinking about recent health troubles of her sister that she prayed about her next step in life.

“I said, ‘Lord, what would you have me to do next?’” prayed Teresa. “And this food trailer is it.”

Divine intervention is perhaps the best reason of all to open a food trailer and we have The Greek Station to thank for that heavenly message. It’s been open for two weeks in the parking lot of Three Star Mall. Hours are Monday thru Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. each day and usually lasting until around 2 p.m. when the lunch rush begins to slow.

The menu offers a playful blend of herbs and spices you won’t find at many other area restaurants. It starts with the gyro, a signature Greek pita that features beef, lamb, tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce.

The chicken pita is a grilled chicken breast served with peppers and onions. The Greek hamburger has been described as a mouth-watering delight that has brought joy to the mouths of many. Asked what’s added to this burger to make is so unique, Teresa said, “We don’t give away our secrets. Let’s just say it’s a very juicy burger.”

When it comes to my personal tastes, I’m a big fan of hummus. Growing up, my mom would soak her chickpeas overnight and prepare hummus so good you’d get out of your chair and do 15 jumping jacks.

I’m not going to suggest anyone’s cooking is as good as my mom’s, but I will say the chips and hummus at The Greek Station are mighty fine. For dessert, there’s the traditional baklava.

Mark and Teresa say they enjoy being in the mall parking lot because they’re already cultivating regular customers from the ambulance service, the hospital, and from the nearby schools. In order to establish consistency, they don’t have plans to move around town and it’s their goal to stay at that same location.

If you’d like to phone in your order ahead of time, the number is (931) 619-6317.

Maybe it should be Sidtown

It was six years and eight days ago today when Sid Patel bought the gas station in Newtown and renamed it Hina Market.

After city voters approved package liquor sales in November 2016, Sid began planning for a liquor store in Newtown and that facility is currently under construction. A tentative opening time for the liquor store has been set for July, but Sid says that’s a ballpark estimate and not a guarantee.
Directly next to the upcoming liquor store is a vacant building which was most recently The Meat Market. Sid has purchased the old Meat Market property for the dandy price of $300,000, according to the Property Assessor’s Office.

With so much commercial property in his name in Newtown, there should be some consideration to renaming it Sidtown. That’s a small suggestion.

When I stopped by Friday to talk to Sid about buying the old Meat Market, he said he has no rock-solid plans for the building. It’s an extremely large facility, having once been home to a grocery store, so Sid says it’s doubtful he will use the entire space for one project.
He said he has no plans to relocate Hina Market across the street to what would be a much larger spot, both for parking and for square footage of the building.

He says his current direction, which is not set in stone, is to rent out the portion of the building which was The Meat Market since it has been recently renovated and is in the best shape. For the other part of the property, he said he might put in gas pumps. That would be in addition to his current gas station which will remain open.

Summer camp coming to Morrison

By this time next week, summer vacation will be upon us. Do you know what your kids will be doing this summer?

For parents looking for summer activities for their children in grades K-5, longtime daycare operator Tammy Young is opening what she’s calling Spark Summer Program in Morrison. It will be located in the spacious facility that once served as Morrison School that’s now privately owned by Monica Saine and called The Spot.

Tammy and her daughter Tristan Adcock, a special education assistant at Hickory Creek Elementary, are opening Spark Summer Program in partnership with Monica.

“We’ll be providing all sorts of fun activities for the kids,” said Tammy, who has run a daycare for nearly 30 years. “You can choose your weeks or your kids can come for the entire summer. This will give working parents a place to take their children and know they will be having a good time in a safe environment.”

The summer program opens May 29 and ends Aug. 3. Hours will be 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

Tammy says she wants to keep the price affordable so she’s charging $100 per week with a $25 registration fee. Snacks will be furnished, but children will need to bring their own lunch.

Tammy has recently lost weight and says she’s found the stamina to keep pace with high-energy kids. In addition to opening the Spark Summer Program, Tammy is preparing to embark on the trip of a lifetime, a mission trip to Africa to help the people of Uganda, where the natives speak Swahili.

Uganda is one of the most impoverished nations in the world, especially in the rural areas where 84 percent of the population lives. The people labor tirelessly to perform tasks we take for granted. Instead of turning on a faucet, they spend hours collecting water. Instead of turning on a stove, they collect wood, chop it and then build a fire.

In addition to all that, the camels are said to be extremely aggressive and the mosquitoes carry potentially deadly diseases so we hope Tammy takes good care of herself during this volunteer mission.

Summer program registration will be this Monday, May 21, beginning at 6 p.m. at The Spot. If you can’t make it Monday, you can pick up a form at Tammy’s Little Tikes, 1332 Pike Hill Road, from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

WC native makes history

Those of you familiar with this column know I love to promote Warren County residents who have gone on to do great things. This week I bring you the story of Candace Vannasdale who recently made history in Harriman by being selected as the first female general manager for Harriman Utility Board.

Many local residents will know her as Candie Brown, the daughter of Douglas and Patsy Brown, who still live in Warren County. Her brother, Gordon Brown, and sister, Hollie Brown, live here too.

Born and raised in McMinnville, Candie graduated from Warren County High School in 2003. She earned a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Tennessee Tech in 2008 and a master of science in environmental engineering from the University of Tennessee in 2013.  

Candace began working in the utility industry during college when she interned for Jackson Energy Authority and White House Utility District. After graduation, she worked as a consultant engineer for over five years before beginning her career at Harriman Utility Board four years ago.
Candace and her husband, David, have three small children.

HUB provides electric, natural gas, water, and sanitary sewer services to nearly 12,000 residential, commercial, industrial, and public facility customers spanning parts of Roane and Morgan counties. Although she has lived away for many years, Candace says, “McMinnville will always feel like home.”

Congratulations Candace!

MES shines as power provider

If reading about Candace has triggered your mental juices when it comes to public utilities, I have news to report about McMinnville Electric System. MES has earned a Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) designation from the American Public Power Association for providing reliable and safe electric service.

Neil James, manager of distribution operations at Santee Cooper, South Carolina and chair of the Association’s RP3 Review Panel, presented the designations on April 30 during the association’s annual Engineering & Operations Technical Conference in Raleigh, N.C.

The RP3 designation, which lasts for three years, recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement. Criteria include sound business practices and a utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity.

MES joins more than 240 public power utilities nationwide that hold the RP3 designation.

“This designation is about more than just reliability. It’s about operational excellence,” said James. “These utilities and their communities should be proud to represent the best of the best in the areas of reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement.”

Added Dr. Jeffrey McKinley, chair of the Board of Public Utilities, “This is a great honor. We take a lot of pride in the work we do to power this community."

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