Enterprise Pulse – Investigating mysteries

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, which means all of us at the Southern Standard are in our busiest time of the year preparing to give you the best Countywide edition we can. For those who don’t know, Countywide is typically our largest newspaper of the year. It’s chock-full of local businesses’ Black Friday ads, all the news, sports and feature stories we can throw at it, and it goes out free to as many people as we can reach across the county.

I hope everybody enjoys it and I hope anybody who doesn’t already subscribe will consider taking advantage of our biggest sale of the year during Black Friday week. A year’s subscription of the Standard delivered right to your house can be had for $78. That’s a $22 saving over our regular price.

Amid all the Countywide preparation, I still managed to squeeze in a little time to scrounge up some business news this week, so let’s get into it.

Mystery solved

I’ve been keeping a watch on the former home of Randy Jane & Co. on Main Street for a while now and, apparently, I’m not alone. I’ve been fielding questions for a few weeks about what’s going on there and I’m now able to confidently tell you. Currently undergoing a major face lift, the building will soon be the home of Waterstone Title. Originally known as First Title and Escrow, the company has been around for 21 years. Kelly Taylor will be running the title company. Kelly has done a great job in the past building relationships with builders and realtors and hopes to carry that over to the new venture. David Marttala will be providing legal counsel for the title company. The building is currently still under construction but Kelly hopes to be open in early January. 

All real estate closings that Waterstone Title handles will be done out of the new office at 222 E. Main St. The building houses four offices as well as a closing area and a reception space. I was given a tour of the offices as work was ongoing and the smell of fresh construction was fresh in the air. It certainly will be a new look to those familiar with the interior of Randy Jane & Co. but I’m happy to report the beautiful exposed brick walls remain. 

The building offers a great central location in downtown McMinnville and ample parking both in the front and back of the business and is yet another example of the revitalization of downtown since the Main Street renovation project. What once was a veritable ghost town now sees no building staying vacant for long. 

“The title business has grown substantially and I feel like we can offer the community our services in a good location and a really cool building,” Kelly said.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get back with Kelly upon her opening and give you a better look at the finished space but, for now, I wanted to put everybody’s curiosity to rest and give a title to the mystery business. 

Mystery remains

That’s one downtown mystery solved but, as further proof of the business boom downtown is enjoying, there’s another long-dormant building showing signs of life. 

The old eyesore that was once little more than an open block structure and graffiti receptacle behind Begonias Restaurant has seen a lot of work lately. New doors have been cut, old open holes have been boarded over and the exterior has gotten a white paint job. 

I’ve got an inkling of what’s coming but I’ll put a hold on my speculation and let you know as soon as I’m certain and at liberty to say. 

What I can tell you with certainty is the project is being overseen by Raven Young of Raven Young Designs. Raven is  a McMinnville native and graduate of UT Chattanooga who has a degree in Interior Design. She manages Main Street Center, LLC, the old Fraleys building. 

Along with her grandfather, Ken Roberts, she has brought several new businesses to the space, including Southern Traditions and Begonias, among others. Raven is a member of the McMinnville Historic Zoning Commission and is the president of Main Street McMinnville.

I haven’t gotten a peek inside the new space yet, but if Raven’s other work is any indication, I expect to see a beautiful area in what was once a place only the brave would venture. I’m told to expect the building to spring to life in early 2023.

IDB news

It took a little longer than expected, but the Industrial Development Board approved a motion on Friday that brought the county a step closer to an incentive deal to facilitate a massive expansion at Bridgestone. 

A meeting on Thursday where a motion was requested to advance a previously agreed-upon  incentive package was put into recess until Friday after board members and some county commissioners in attendance expressed frustration about not yet being presented with drafts of the agreement and relevant exhibits before the vote. 

While some questions were raised, Bridgestone officials were repeatedly reassured by board members and commissioners that getting a deal done to pave the way for the planned expansion was something that everybody wanted, but the members wanted more clarity on the full details of the agreement before voting.

Upon reconvening Friday afternoon after having the chance to review the exhibits, the motion to approve the Bridgestone PILOT Incentive package as presented was passed with a unanimous 8-0 yes vote.

Charles Traughber, a member of the Bridgestone legal team in attendance, told the board that a worldwide search was conducted by Bridgestone’s headquarters in Japan and that Warren County emerged as the preferred destination.

IDB Chairman Jenny Nafrada pointed out that the incentive package is not just about securing Bridgestone’s expansion locally, but also to ensure the existing plant remained here. Upon the motion’s passing, Nafrada said, “This is a wonderful thing for our county. We have to wade through some mud to get to the end of the road, but we are doing that and we’re going to get to the end of the road and it’s going to be wonderful for our county and surrounding counties. I’m very grateful for Bridgestone. We’re really excited about this.”

The incentive package will next be presented for a vote by the County Commission Monday night at 6:30 p.m.

Until next time,

same biz time,

same biz page

 As always, send your business tips to or call (931) 473-2191. Thanks for reading. And remember, if you don’t already subscribe to the Southern Standard or if you need to renew, there’s never a better time to do it than this week. 

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