Business Pulse – Renovations begin in former shoe factory
Job creation is a wonderful thing.
Tri-State Development is undertaking a complete top-to-bottom renovation of the old MPC building on Garfield Street, probably best known for once a shoe factory.
The building is older, built around 1930, but will be fully functional when tri-state work is completed. Upgrades include a new roof, new ground floor windows, new offices, new lighting and new electrical wiring.
“We would love to be able to create 50 jobs here,” said Adam Bouldin, who operates Tri-State with his father, Keith. “We think we will have done everything by the end of February or the beginning of March and I don’t think it will be difficult to find a tenant. I have already received two calls, but they have already gone elsewhere. Everything is there, the new roof is there and the new windows are there, so that we can finish the project.
Adam says managing the supply chain issues has been like a headache, but now that all the materials are on property, he believes the February-March completion date will be right. Footwear production has taken place for years in the factory which has 50,000 square feet available in its main building. The property most recently housed the Metal Products Company, which employed nearly 50 people just two years ago, but has closed.
“We are trying to do our little bit,” said Adam. “It’s been a massive undertaking and a significant investment, but it’s a good investment. Most companies don’t want to take on a project like this and we’re in a position where we could do it quickly. It didn’t have to be a two-year dragging job. Our goal is to get the best tenant here with the most jobs.
Chris Lack worked at MPC for 17 years and was hired by Tri-State when MPC closed. He says that the restoration of a building in which he worked for so long has received care.
Two other interesting factors accompany ownership. One, he has a water tower which is no longer functional but it is sure that it is large. Adam says they are thinking about how to repaint the water tower. I think this is a great idea because a new water tower paint job can really change a skyline.
Second, there will be 180 storage units built at the end of the property closest to the Milner Recreation Center. Adam says the 180 units will be spread across three long buildings.
“More and more people are moving to this area and they need larger storage units for their stuff,” said Adam. The 180 units will represent 30,000 square feet of storage.
Storage units seem to fill up quickly around these rooms, so there certainly must be a need. Lately, a lot of our new construction has been storage units.
Tri-State Development is one company that has really made an impact in Warren County. She built the Chamber of Commerce building, our first specification building which is now Morrison Industries, and DN Plastics on Manchester Highway.
Keith recently estimated that he believed Tri-State had constructed some 200 buildings in Warren County since the company was formed in 1978.
If you have a burning desire for candles and candle supplies, the place to go is Three Sisters Candle Co. on Main Street. It is located in the newly renovated Fraley’s building, which has been a huge boost for downtown McMinnville.
Cassie Johnson owns and operates the business. Her name is Three Sisters because she has three daughters who all lend a helping hand: Abbi, Ally and Emma Johnson. Her husband Joseph was the man with the plan for the store handyman job.
“We do everything here,” said Cassie, who said the location serves as a fully functioning retail hub and candle store.
“It started as a hobby that started to work well when I opened an Etsy store in 2019,” Cassie said. “It was a case where I needed more space than my house could provide, so we opened up here. “
As you might expect, the store is filled with enveloping candles and fragrances. There are wicks, jars, perfumes, and wax available for those who want to do it on their own. There are also wax melts, which Cassie says have become extremely popular.
“Some people get to a point where they’re tired of burning candles and moving on to melting wax,” Cassie said. “There is no flame to worry about which can be a problem if you have pets.”
If you want to pour your own candle, Three Sisters will give you this opportunity in January. Reservations will be accepted for after hours appointments and groups can be accommodated.
“It can become a fun activity downtown,” Cassie said. “Smaller candles take about 45 minutes to an hour to cool, so you can get started and then go out to eat while you wait. Larger candles take a bit longer to cool down, so for those you will have to come back the next day.
Cassie said she was pleasantly surprised by the high energy downtown and the level of activity.
“There were carriage rides here this past weekend and a lot of people have come for that,” Cassie said. “I discovered that there are so many people out there looking to support local businesses. We have a very diverse customer base, other buyers and younger buyers have come here.
Three Sisters is open Tuesday through Friday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The phone number is (931) 414-4056.
Our new Hampton Inn on Sparta Street has been a beauty to Warren County with high occupancy rates. During the monthly Industrial Development Board meeting on Thursday, it was noted that the hotel was 100% occupied over Thanksgiving weekend and was nearly full most nights.
“It’s been great for us because we have people in town working every week, if not every day,” said Greg Smartt, CEO of Ben Lomand Connect.
Now that the hotel is fully operational, much attention has been paid to the unfinished shopping center opposite. The mall was supposed to be finished and with vibrant tenants around the same time the hotel opened. This does not happen.
This is a concern for the IDB as hotel owner David Hunt has received a TIF for the project. It is a financing by tax increase and it is an agreement which allows the beneficiary to benefit from property tax savings.
Mr Hunt would like to start receiving his TIF savings on the hotel now, although the deal says the hotel and mall would both have to be completed for that to happen. The IDB discussed the possibility of changing some terms to allow Mr. Hunt to start enjoying TIF savings on the hotel. He will then use that money to complete the retail hub.
Michael Griffith of Security Federal worked closely with Mr. Hunt on funding parts of the project. Griff was invited to attend the industrial council meeting to discuss the hotel and the mall.
“The mall is 75% complete for all intents and purposes,” said Michael. “I know it says 50% for tax purposes, but it’s more advanced than that. “
He said Mr Hunt had signed two letters of intent, which are not leases, for tenants looking to move into the mall. At one point, the retail hub was in the market to be sold unfinished, but Mr. Hunt is now focused on finishing it, Michael reported.
A lengthy discussion ensued to allow Hunt to start receiving TIF benefits on the hotel before the end of the retail hub. It looks like the Industrial Board is moving in that direction, but it will likely take a few more meetings before this is all sorted out.
“Ultimately, you’ll get the end result you wanted in a new hotel and mall,” Griff said.
That’s all people
Next week will be a special Christmas edition of Business Pulse where I invite everyone to give me gifts. No gift is too small.
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