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Business Pulse - Rafael's Italian Restaurant back in business
Rafaels to open Monday
Food is delivered to Rafaels Italian Restaurant on Friday in preparation for the grand reopening at 1111 Sparta Street this Monday.

Here’s the fabulous, spectacular news of the week. Rafael’s Italian Restaurant is reopening this Monday.

Prepare to feast.

I realize these past four months have been trying times for the powerful legion of Rafael’s followers, similar to the painful four months McMinnville residents were forced to endure without Hardee’s in 2016.

But just like the majestic Phoenix was reborn from the ashes in Greek mythology, Rafael’s will rise again Monday.

Get ready for calzones, 2-for-1 pizzas, and all your traditional Rafael’s favorites. The new location is 1111 Sparta Street and the phone number remains the same, 474-3301.

Let there be Nice houses

In last week’s column, I mentioned a conversation by Industrial Development Board members in which they pointed to a lack of new homes in Warren County in the $150,000 to $250,000 price range. This report is an extension of that segment.

In continuing to examine new homes being built in our community, I had a conversation with local developer Waymon Hale on Friday. I was interested in learning about Stone Creek Crossing, an upscale development just past the high school off Vervilla Road. Waymon tells me homes in this subdivision are in the $250,000 to $400,000 price range.

“It’s a nice development that will have a sidewalk around the whole neighborhood and it has upscale street lights like they have downtown,” said Waymon. “I requested the land to be annexed into the city so it has police protection, fiber optics, and city sewer.”

All Warren County taxpayers can be thankful for this new subdivision because it’s taken what was formerly an empty field and transformed it into a multi-million dollar development. And as long as the housing boom continues, Waymon sees no end in sight to home construction at Stone Creek.

“We’re going to keep three to five under construction at all times during this first phase,” said Waymon. “If that fills up, we’ll have to build new roads but I have the land to do that. Housing is all based on the economy. As long as we keep selling them, we’ll keep building them.”

Warren County real estate has been selling at a frantic pace, and at high-dollar values. It’s certainly a different climate than seven or eight years ago when there was virtually no new home construction here and property values received a drop kick.

Waymon says four homes are currently in the construction phase at Stone Creek. The next home is scheduled to be complete in six to eight weeks.

If you’re interested in getting a home custom built at Stone Creek, Waymon says that’s not a problem as long as the home is compatible with building restrictions in the subdivision. You can give him a call for more information on such a project at 473-8074.

If you’d like information on finished homes at Stone Creek, realtor Mia-Lan Powers is handling those properties. She can be reached at 224-6706.

As the old saying goes, “Home is not a place … it’s a feeling.” If you’d like to snuggle in to a new home at Stone Creek, that opportunity awaits.

Dragon’s Lair Ready to conquer

Few things are more dangerous, more feared, in fairytales than entering a mystical dragon’s lair. Fortunately, local residents won’t have to deal with that level of anxiety when entering Garner Loudermilk’s new store, The Dragon’s Lair.

The store is located in the lower level of Plaza Shopping Center near Gary Steele Karate Studio. The Lair specializes in wizard games such as Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh!

“My idea is to give kids a chance to interact and talk with each other face to face,” said Garner. “It gets them away from the screen of a video game. This is a safe environment for kids to come and play. We have plenty of seating inside and also outside in the lobby. There’s a drink machine and several restaurants within walking distance.”

Garner said wizard-based games have become popular with people of all ages and he has personally known people to play from as young as age 8 to as old as 64.

“Magic has been out for 25 years so it’s become a generational thing,” said Garner. “There are some fathers who played and they’re now teaching their sons. It’s a great way to socialize.”

Garner is certainly familiar with these types of games. He has operated two different comic/ game stores in McMinnville and one in Cookeville.
I must admit my familiarity with games like Magic and Pokemon is extremely vague, although Garner took time to explain the concept to me Friday. Tournament games are 50-minutes long. Personal games can last for hours, or be over in a matter of minutes.

If you’re looking to expand your card collection, Garner has a wide selection in which to choose. He has a grand opening scheduled this Monday, April 2, where Rivals Ixalan card sets will sell for $2.75. The card packs normally sell for more than $4. Garner says he’ll buy and trade cards. He also has hard-to-find model kits for sale, including Gundam and Ban Dai models.

Comic books, a staple at his other stores, will be added to Dragon’s Lair as Garner increases his inventory.

If you’re just looking to have fun -- and who isn’t? -- there will be game nights held at Dragon’s Lair with traditional board games. For the wizard card games, there will be sanctioned tournaments on Friday nights, modern tournaments on Saturdays, and commander tournaments on Wednesdays.

Store hours are Monday thru Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The phone number is 507-LAIR.

Long Realty has New brokers

Veronica Matheny Patterson and Candace Womack Matheny have an interesting story. Veronica works as a dental hygienist, while Candace is a hair stylist.

Despite their different professions, the two sisters-in-law have dreamed of working together as one powerful team. Now they have their chance as affiliate brokers at Long Realty.

“List your house with us where you get two agents for the price of one,” said Veronica.

Added Candace, “Our love of the complexities and intricate details of real estate inspired us to work as a team co-listing Warren County real estate.”

The ladies say it was their goal to take their love of community and combine it with their faith, energy and desire to treat everyone like family that led them to real estate. They already have several listings and are eager to add to their selection.

If Veronica looks familiar, it’s because she’s a famous novelist with one book already under her belt. They both say they find inspiration in being working moms and they enjoy photography.

“Trust us, hometown girls, with all your real estate needs,” said Veronica.

For more information, call Veronica at 703-5432 or Candace at 808-6707.

Rusty Buttercup Now blooming

If you’re in search of antique and vintage items, The Rusty Buttercup opened Friday at 1112 Sparta Street. Chris Foster is the business owner.
The store has all types of neat, old things. This includes decorative tools, a hand-carved pyramid sphinx, and classic furniture like the kind in your grandmother’s home you weren’t allowed to sit on as a kid.

Business was brisk right from the start with several items selling in the first few hours. The store, which is located across from Whitey’s Small Engine Repair, may be small in size but it’s packed full of merchandise. New items will be arriving regularly.

Hours are Monday thru Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store will be open Saturday with hours still to be determined. The phone number is (931) 743-0630.

That’s all folks

May your Easter Sunday be filled with happiness, hope, and spiritual fulfillment. Once you experience all that, give me a call with your business tips at 473-2191.