Business Pulse – Main Street is getting better all the time

When it comes to Beatles albums, I often fluctuate on the ranking of “The White Album”, “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be”.

But when it comes to my favorite Beatles album, “Sgt. Pepper” has always remained at the top of my list. It’s a masterful compilation that includes the cheerful number “Getting Better”.

When I think of Main Street McMinnville, it really is like that famous Beatles song. It’s getting better all the time.

There’s a new business coming to Main Street and it just might give us all “Twist and Shout”. It’s called The Hitch Outfitters and it’s moving from Rock Island.

Ronnie Hitchcock is the owner of the business and he operates another location in Sparta. Chris and Kelly Snider operate the Rock Island store and have been busy preparing for the Main Street store to open.

It is located next to Collins River BBQ and takes over the renovated storefronts owned by Joe O’Neal, which were last occupied by Trendy Trunk and Ashley’s Attic. It will be approximately 5,000 square feet of store.

“Uptown is really picking up and that’s where we feel we need to be,” Chris said. “We wanted to be right next to the Collins River BBQ so we spoke to Joe and were able to make it happen. We think we’ll do much better here than we did at Rock Island. It’s not that Rock Island was bad, but we think it will be much better.

After years of idling, downtown McMinnville is reaching heights not seen in decades. The stores are bustling with activity and there is a real momentum to support local businesses. The addition of The Hitch will bring another unique boutique to our downtown community.

Chris told me on Thursday about some of the lines that will be ported. It includes coolers, Yeti mugs and caps, Chaco and Teva shoes, and apparel from Life Is Good, Simply Southern, and Volunteer Traditions.

The store will include dog toys, camping supplies, hammocks and a general store that carries Tennessee Best products. There will be glass bottled drinks to capture a bit of nostalgia.

“We’re not used to having this type of room,” Chris said, “so we’re going to have a really wide selection. There’s a lot of people who are excited for us to come here. Men’s clothing and items, which you don’t see much downtown.Most of the stores here are geared towards women.

Chris says they will explore getting a number of other product lines, but it’s often a question of who has the right to sell a certain product in that area, so some rights may already be taken.

“Our plan is to open in February,” Chris said. “I don’t know if it will be the beginning, the middle or the end, but we want to open in February.”

Chris says one thing that will set The Hitch apart from some other retailers is its commitment to customer service. “You walk into these big box stores and the employees don’t care if you buy something or not,” Chris said. “We value our customers and always thank them for their business.”

I’ll try to provide more information on The Hitch before opening day arrives.

The main street has Airbnb

Speaking of Joe O’Neal, in addition to renovating the two storefronts that will be The Hitch, he also created the very first Airbnb on Main Street. It is located above these businesses and is called “1886 Main Street Loft” for anyone who wants to look it up and book it.

“I just posted it for the first time on Wednesday,” Joe said. “It’s a two bedroom with a full bath and a half bath. It also has a full kitchen and a washer and dryer. It has everything you need like renting a beach house for a week.”

Several years ago there was a push to return a hotel to downtown McMinnville, a great idea that has yet to materialize. While an Airbnb room is definitely not a hotel, it’s great to have this option available to people visiting our community.

“I think it’s a good addition for downtown,” Joe said. “I like the view on Main Street. We came here to watch the Christmas parade and it was great fun.

Now that Park Theater has increased its entertainment offerings again, I can see people traveling here to see a show and then staying at Joe’s Airbnb. He says our area is already doing well for tourism with a number of out-of-town visitors eating at Collins River BBQ every weekend.

Before putting it online to rent it, Joe admits to having tried his Airbnb himself. “We stayed here to make sure any issues were resolved,” Joe said.

If you have family visiting or just want to experience staying on Main Street, there is a two-day minimum stay and a 30-day maximum stay.

Used car prices are skyrocketing

Much has been made of the crazy train we are currently riding, called inflation. I was reading an article on CNBC on Wednesday that said that of all the skyrocketing articles, used car prices have seen the biggest increase nationally.

To get a sense of how this can play out locally, I visited Turner’s Automotive next to Hardee’s on Main Street on Friday. Business owners Charlie and Donna Turner know their stuff when it comes to selling used vehicles.

“We went to a sale two weeks ago in Murfreesboro that normally has 300 vehicles,” Donna said. “This sale was only 80 and it looked like an insurance sale, which means it was basically a bunch of vehicles that were someone else’s problem.”

Donna says if you’re looking for a used vehicle, be prepared to pay more.

“A lady called me the other day and she said she had $6,000 to buy a reliable car,” Donna said. “Well, I can’t find a reliable car for $6,000. And I can’t find any truck for the price range that people want to pay, which is usually $5,000 to $10,000.

One of the main problems is that new car dealers used to sell many of the trade-ins they received to used car dealers. It doesn’t happen anymore.

“Dealers have such low inventory that they keep all trades to themselves,” Charlie said. “I don’t see the used car shortage ending until new car dealer lots are full again. As long as new car batches are

empty, you won’t be able to find anything.

Inventory is so scarce that cars are often auctioned off for more than they are worth. This also creates problems.

“Blue book value and loan value haven’t caught up to the new prices,” Charlie said. “So people are trying to get a loan for a $9,000 car that only has a blue book value of $7,000. Banks say no, they won’t lend that much, but that’s what costs the car now.

Donna says one of their busiest times of the year is February and March, when people start getting their tax returns.

“We usually jump when people collect their taxes, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to have the inventory to keep up with the demand,” Donna said.

Supply chain issues and chip shortages have undoubtedly made buying a vehicle very expensive, whether new or used. In about 12 months, a used vehicle that used to cost around $5,000 now costs around $8,000. That’s a 60% increase if you don’t want to do the math at home.

Hometown Bar is coming to Sparta St.

For people with long memories, there was a time when Gillentine’s Restaurant was located at 1107 Sparta Street opposite Scottish Inn.

Gillentine closed over 20 years ago and this place hasn’t been able to sustain business since. It’s a children’s playroom, an adult nightclub, 1107 Steakhouse, Pinwheel Restaurant, Tate’s Burgers, and of course it’s also a Mexican restaurant.

To the best of my memory, the building has been vacant for five years.

Steve Hicks plans to bring stability to this place, as well as a cool bar and grill. He has done extensive work on the property and plans to open the Hometown Bar and Grill in the coming weeks.

Steve is well known in these areas for his karaoke and sound system. Steve says it’s all about having fun and Hometown Bar has the food, drink and ambiance needed to have a good time. He plans to get his liquor license in the coming weeks so visitors can enjoy mixed drinks or snap a photo.

One interesting thing to note is that Steve will use top and bottom. He says the upstairs part will feature pool tables and downstairs will be for karaoke and a dance floor. He plans to have a tasty menu with a variety of offerings.

I was excited when I saw Hometown Bar appear on this month’s business license bundle and even more excited to see the pictures Steve sent me of the renovation work he did.

Sparta Street is one of the busiest roads in McMinnville, so Steve has definitely found himself a quality spot. I am convinced that a business can thrive here, so Hometown Bar can be the perfect solution to turn a long vacant building into a vibrant business.

I plan to provide more information about Hometown Bar when it’s ready to open.

That’s all people

January is the perfect time to resolve to start a new business in 2022. When you make that decision, be sure to give me a call and I’ll report it in the paper. The number is 473-2191.

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