By James Clark, Editor of Southern Standard
When thinking about the world as we know it, the Bojangles restaurant chain could probably be best described by a country song.
I don’t know if Bojangles lost its truck and lost its dog, but the restaurant chain lost about everything else.
As most Warren County residents are well aware, our Bojangles opened with great fanfare on Dec. 1, 2015. It’s hard to believe that phenomenon was nearly five years ago.
Back then, the time was different. Humanity was more at peace. America was united. The thought of a tasty biscuit with gravy was something powerful, yet soothing.
When Bojangles opened, it was almost like a slice of heaven had fallen down to earth. Unfortunately, that metaphor turned out to be just a pipedream as Bojangles could be best described as having an empty dining room and invisible drive-thru lines during its almost three years of operation in McMinnville.
But today is a new day and the horizon sparkles with promise for what I’m about to say. The old Bojangles property has been sold and a Grandy’s restaurant is in the process of locating at that spot.
For a building that has been vacant for nearly two years, this is great news. So let me tell you about Grandy’s.
The restaurant chain got its start more than 45 years ago and at one point had over 200 locations.
At present time, Grandy’s has most of its restaurants in Texas and Oklahoma. It also has locations in Georgia and Kentucky.
Chris Benner is the owner of Trident Holdings, which manages dozens of Captain D’s locations and has purchased the Bojangles property in McMinnville for $1.25 million. Chris is excited about opening a Grandy’s restaurant here.
“We have set out to reinvent the Grandy’s brand,” said Chris. “Internally, we’re calling it Grandy’s 2.0. It’s a new look and a new feel. We plan to open a new location in Murfreesboro in mid-August and we hope to have our McMinnville location opened in mid-October.”
So what does Grandy’s serve? The restaurant specializes in fried chicken, oven-roasted chicken, chicken strips, country fried steak and more. Chris said daily specials will include chicken and dumplins, meatloaf and a variety of sides such as macaroni and cheese, cornbread stuffing, and mashed potatoes.
In addition to lunch and dinner, Grandy’s also does breakfast. There will be all types of breakfast options available, including pancakes, eggs, and breakfast meats. It should also be noted, with great exclamation, the restaurant serves its Sinnamon buns all day long. The buns are cinnamon buns, but deemed so delicious they are a “sin.”
Benner’s company operates 39 Captain D’s locations, although it doesn’t have the Captain D’s in McMinnville. But it was through our Captain D’s, which does a mean business, that Benner became aware of the vacant Bojangles building.
“We bought a Bojangles building in Lewisburg, Tenn., and turned it into a Captain D’s,” said Chris. “That was the exact same building as the one in McMinnville. It was built at the same time with the same floor plan so we know it’s a good building. We know the Captain D’s in McMinnville does very well. We also know another franchisee in McMinnville that does a good business so we gather the folks in McMinnville like to eat out. We think Grandy’s will be a good fit.”
Benner said he plans to open a Grandy’s location in Murfreesboro on South Church Street in mid-August. Provided that goes according to plan, the McMinnville location of Grandy’s is slated to open in mid-October.
Goodbye to Stage Stores
There was perhaps a glimmer of hope when Stage Stores announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May in hopes of keeping its chain alive.
That hope came to a crashing halt 10 days ago when the company announced it would be closing all 720 Stage Store locations, which includes the Goody’s, Peebles, Gordmans, and Bealls brands.
Of local interest, that includes the Goody’s location at Three Star Mall. An exact closing date has not been announced, but the store is selling its merchandise at cut-rate prices and the inventory is going fast.
When I stopped by Friday, the store was limping to the finish with some items sold out and others drastically marked down. If you’re looking for great savings, stop by Goody’s very soon and see if something strikes your fancy. No closing date has been announced, but I have a feeling it could be at any time.
For folks scrambling for some sense of navigation, this is definitely bad news in my book. Our world is changing right before our very eyes and the day when people went to shopping malls for their purchases is quickly disappearing.
A trip to the mall is being replaced by a trip to www.com. This may be viewed as a plus by some folks, who can make a few clicks on their phone to buy the hottest blouse of the season, but my contention is this.
We need something to do other than stare at a screen. Going to the mall is an event of sorts. Maybe not going to Three Star Mall, but going to big malls can be a social event for the entire family. There’s the food court and all the excitement of being in a large shopping venue.
Shopping online may be convenient, but it’s boring in my opinion. Do we really need more reasons to sit on our couch????
It’s up to all of us to decide our direction. If we continue to shop online, stores will disappear. Then we can gather the whole family together as we hit the “checkout” button on our phones.
A brief commentary
I find Tennessee’s high unemployment rate somewhat laughable. The Tennessee unemployment rate was 9.7% in June, according to the state, yet there are jobs available for anyone who wants to work.
There are jobs everywhere. Jobs, jobs, jobs. It’s like a waterfall of jobs.
The problem is folks would rather collect federal unemployment benefits and live off the government than go to work. Sad, sad, sad.
It’s really amazing how the mindset has changed in America over the past 20 years. It used to be folks were determined to earn a living and support their family. I can remember that mentality in my relatively short lifetime.
But forget that thinking nowadays. People just want handouts. Thanks to our government coddling everyone, there are people who won’t work fast food. There are people who won’t work factory jobs. They just want to collect a government check.
Sad, sad, sad.
Highway jobs Are available
For anyone who may want to work, and earn a decent salary, there are highway jobs available. I talked with Kent Starwalt of the Tennessee Road Builders Association on Friday and he told me there are plenty of jobs for people ready to work.
“We have jobs for unskilled labor, for truck drivers, and equipment operators are always needed,” said Kent. “The highway construction industry has been struggling for years. The industry is getting older and people are getting ready to retire. There are a lot of positions to fill and this is a good career if you want a steady job with the possibility of advancement. We pay well with the opportunity to earn $13 to $15 an hour to start.”
When I talked to Kent on Friday, one thing stood out. There’s a great opportunity for career advancement with highway jobs.
Even if you start at the bottom level, employees with ambition have a great chance for promotion. If you can pass a drug test, something which seems so simple, you can start on the road to a career in building our highways.
“There’s a great deal of gratification if you build a bridge or build a road,” said Kent. “You can look at that project and say you were responsible for something that’s helped all of Tennessee.”
To apply for a highway job, visit NowHiringTN.com. The slogan adopted is “Good jobs. Great pay.”
That’s all folks