Business Pulse – Looks like we’re gonna eat more chikin

In a few years, we might find it was a giant social experiment to find out how long people would stand in a parking lot waiting for chicken.

Turns out Warren County residents will be waiting over an hour in drizzly conditions if it comes to Chick-fil-A.

In what has been one of the biggest business stories of the year, the Chick-fil-A food truck traveled to McMinnville on Tuesday to serve customers at Cumberland Plaza, commonly known as the Lowe’s Mall.

“It’s hard to beat a Chickfil – Ranch Sandwich,” said Luke Nisbett, who was picking up several orders for his co-workers in the sheriff’s department.

Avid fan Sandie Bassett added, “I love Chick-fil-A. I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t.

Sandie bought seven meals in all and waited just over an hour for her food. “Worth it,” she said.

An article on the Chickfil – A food truck on the Southern Standard

The Facebook page had a strong response with 224 comments and 601 likes. Several people wondered if this was a trial run to see if a Chickfil-A store would fly in McMinnville.

Well, I have good news and bad news about that. Which should I say first?

The bad news is that I’m not looking to McMinnville to have an actual Chick-fil-A restaurant that operates out of a building that doesn’t have wheels. The good news is that the Chickfil-A food truck is expected to make regular appearances here.

“We’ll come see you, probably at least twice a month, as long as you show us you want us there,” said Chick-fil-A rep Chris Elliott. “What we’re doing now is going around and hitting several small towns that don’t have Chick-fil-A so we can see the response. We still have a few places to visit and then we will start to formulate a more precise program.

Elliott said the Chick-fil-A truck that visited McMinnville is affiliated with the Metro Center restaurant in Nashville. Elliott said the truck remains extremely busy and will be parked outside a Nashville Sounds baseball game on Friday night before attending an all-day event on Saturday.

Elliott said there’s a chance the Chick-fil-A truck will come to McMinnville more than twice a month, but that’s yet to be determined. Could good food truck sales eventually lead to our own brick-and-mortar Chick-fil-A restaurant?

“The food truck has absolutely nothing to do with our stores,” Elliott said.

The Chick-fil-Afood truck will likely continue to operate from the same location at the Lowe’s Mall when it returns. If you missed the opening act, you can at least catch an encore in a few weeks.

Another important lesson from all of this is that Southern Standard’s Facebook page remains a great source of news and information. The page is approaching 21,000 subscribers with a goal of doubling in size next year.

I’m pushing for a big promotion where the person who becomes our 50,000th follower gets a grand prize of $50,000, but so far that idea is stuck in the mud. Maybe we could award $25,000 to our 25,000th follower in a few months.

The moral of the story is to follow the Standard online at www.southernstandard. com, or on our social media pages for the latest news and local events.

Speaking of food trucks

Auntie Mattie’s Soul Food To Go is closing at 488 North Chancery Street. Friday was the last day at this location.

But fear not, Aunt Mattie fans. Restaurant owner Marlena Galie says she will always be around McMinnville, and other places too, in her Aunt Mattie’s food truck.

“I’ve been at this place for two years and I think it’s time to take Auntie Mattie on the road to travel,” Marlena said. “It will give more people the chance to try Aunt Mattie’s food. It’s been a good two years and I liked it, but I think a food truck will be better. Many people love food trucks.

Marlena says her goal is to have her food truck ready in time for Back to The Strip, which is the first Saturday in May. She says she will be looking to relocate to different locations around town in addition to going out of town for car shows and other weekend events.

Marlena said several people who learned of her departure asked her about the rental of the building. It is owned by Tennessee Credit and is in a busy location.

Contacted Friday, a Tennessee Credit employee said the building does not yet have a new tenant, but should move quickly.

Study electric vehicles

Ford has huge plans for electric vehicles, especially the F-150 Lightning which doesn’t need gasoline.

Tesla is generating excitement thanks to owner Elon Musk and his commitment to electric vehicles.

But before everyone rushes out and buys a new electric vehicle, the proper infrastructure needs to be in place. If these vehicles run entirely on electricity and do not use a drop of gasoline, how are we going to provide that electricity?

Enter Ben Newman, soon-to-be CEO of Caney Fork Electric. Ben tested an electric vehicle for a week with an extra week as part of an Upper Cumberland testing program. Given that Caney Fork will be powering many of these electric vehicles, it makes sense that Ben would have first-hand experience of how they work.

One thing to point out from above is that electric vehicles do not use gasoline, but they are not free to drive. Ben picked up his car last weekend and had to pay $7.60 to charge it for 45 minutes. For people who want to “fuel up” and leave, a 45 minute wait is a bit long.

Ben explained that there are three tiers of EV car chargers.

• Level 1 is the slowest and costs about 20 cents per hour. Ben said his vehicle was about 40% charged on a Level 1 charger after 4 p.m.

Level 2 is a bit faster and offers a full charge in about eight hours. This would be the type of charger installed in homes to charge electric vehicles overnight.

Level 3 is super fast. These are the type of chargers that TVA wants to install every 50 miles on the highways. Ben said he used level 3 chargers and his car charged from 15% to 84% in 45 minutes.

Ben’s two-week test drive will be used to gather data on what is needed to keep electric vehicles on the road. Cars will lose their appeal in a jiffy if people run out of charge and get stuck on the side of the road.

“All we hear is electric vehicles are coming, so be prepared,” Ben said. “We try to be prepared.”

I spoke to Ben on Monday just days into his EV test drive experience. We plan to hit base this week so he can provide more information on how it works after a full week of riding.

Many of us have questions about electric vehicles and how they work. It looks like we’ll soon have answers about how an EV behaves in Warren County. I will have more information in a future edition.

Invasion in California

It seems like almost every time I talk to someone in local real estate, it’s mentioned that Warren County is getting an influx of California residents.

Turns out it’s not just our county, but central Tennessee in general, with Nashville now a popular destination for those fleeing the West Coast.

It’s such a trend that Los Angeles TV station KTLA sent a team to Nashville to explain why so many people are moving to this area. Reporter Glen Walker shared some of his findings with sister station WKRN in Nashville. Walker said California’s population was declining.

Walker said a huge factor is California housing prices. “A lot of times the structure will be a two-bedroom house and you’ll be paying over a million dollars,” Walker told WKRN.

He noted that California residents can sell their homes and move to Tennessee, where the median home price is $446,000 and often pay cash.

Walker added that it’s important that Nashville doesn’t grow out of control. “I think your big concern here is that Nashville doesn’t turn into LA, which is urban sprawl,” Walker told WKRN.

That’s all people

Several companies appearing in the new business listings on page 5B of today’s edition look promising in the coming weeks. I will try to find as much information as possible.

Email your advice to [email protected]

About Robert Pierson

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