Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

I’ll Believe It When I See It

There are new pictures in the Tennessean this morning about last night’s meeting to discuss redevelopment along the east bank of the river.

I enjoy looking at pictures of hypotheticals (this is why I bought The Plan of Nashville), but reality tells me none of this will ever happen. And, what may happen will pale in comparison to what should have happened.

I’m still waiting.

Gateway to La Vergne

Move on over Dell, Gateway is coming. They’re opening a manufacturing plant in La Vergne with its partner, Quanta. 300 jobs with a payroll of around $8 million.

And the battle for the title of “Silicon Valley of the South” between Nashville, Austin and Atlanta continues…

Shop At Home Closes

Shop at Home is closing its doors, putting some 400 660 (according to the City Paper) Nashvillians out of work.

In previous statements, company officials had cited difficulty reaching the homes of Americans for the fourth-ranked home shopping television network, which goes up against top-ranked QVC and other home shopping television outlets. The company also said the path to profitability was taking longer than expected.

Who killed Shop at Home? QVC? or the Internet? My bet is on the latter.

Coalition Not Competition

So, HCA wants to build a new hospital in Spring Hill, and their competitors are not happy about it. Williamson Medical Center, St. Thomas Health Services and Vanderbilt University Medical Center have teamed up to form the Coalition4Care, an organization created solely, well, to oppose HCA’s plans, which still need approval by the HSDA.

The list of evidence on the Coalition4Care fact sheet is not particularly impressive. Their list of grievances basically boils down to “will increase competition”, and “decreases our ability to recruit physicians”. Are we really facing a physician shortage? I looked quickly for some numbers but couldn’t find much.

E. Thomas Wood at the Nashville Post had this to say:

Imagine that. A group of wealthy and profitable enterprises does not wish to have another wealthy and profitable enterprise open a branch in its market area. In other news, Kroger and Wild Oats are opposed to the new Whole Foods being built in Green Hills. Likewise, there is virtually unanimous opposition among AmSouth, Pinnacle, Cumberland, SunTrust and other banks in my neighborhood to the new Fifth Third branch under construction on Abbott Martin.

I am generally inclined to agree with him. But the healthcare industry is not comparable to the banking or grocery industry for a number of reasons, with previous government intervention high among them. It’s not exactly a level playing field. Does Vandy, et al. have a legitimate grievance here?

Costco Dreaming

Looks like I’ll have to get an additional job to be able to afford the fact that Costco and Best Buy are moving into West Nashville.

I love Best Buy for obvious reasons, so many fun things, so little money to buy them. But, the ability to buy large packages of things I may or may not need, holds a special place in my heart. I have answered the siren song of warehouse stores for years. Oh sure, in my early days on my own, I made some mis-steps in the world of bulk shopping (1,000 Sweet and Low packets, anyone?), but, once I got my groove and figured out exactly what I needed to maintain my world, there was no thrill like having a package of 48 rolls of toilet paper for each bathroom, each available at one low price thanks to Sam’s located right down the street.

But, as of late, the thrill of Sam’s has dwindled for me. The not-so recent remodel of the Bellevue store messed with my Sam’s mojo. Where I once found comfort in my regular trips there to get my regular things, I found myself vaguely dissatisfied that the things there were just that, “regular”, I wanted something more.

So, I began to cheat on Sam’s with Costco. It was clean, fresh, and, 30 miles away. At first, I limited myself to only the occasional visit there so I could use a “guest” pass, but, then they started taking driver’s license numbers and my days as the perpetual guest were done. I took the leap and got my own card after that, and, have never looked back.

Things in the world of oversized groceries just seemed “better” at Costco, but, I think part of that is due to the fact. that it was in an exotic, far away neighbrhood, rather than just being down the street. Now that they’re moving closer to my neighborhood, I hope that the new store lives up to my fantasies about the one far, far away.

Let’s go Krogering

kroger.jpgDon’t tell anyone, but, sometimes I think I can control things with my mind.

The other day? I was passing by Kroger in Belle Meade and I thought to myself, “You know, the square Kroger box signs are really retro-ish, I really like them, but, I ‘m surprised they’re still around. It’ll be no time at all before we can say, ‘remember when the Kroger signs looked like that?'”

Today, I passed by the Belle Meade Kroger again, just in time to see them taking down said cubicular (shut up, it is too a word) sign and replacing it with something more modern and saying something about “Fresh Fare”, which I think means it has more cheese and bread and stuff. I tried to take an actual photo of it for you from the car, but, it was pouring the rains, I was driving, and, all I ended up with was a shot of some surprised sign workers and part of the old sign. Just work with me and use your imgaination, then. Anyway, looks like they’re gearing up for the competition from Harris Teeter that will be squatting in the Belle Meade Theater in the new Belle Meade Town Center.

It has also been renamed “The Kroger at Belle Meade”, because, anyone knows when you add a “The” and an “at”, everything is fancier. Let’s try it: “The Metroblogging Blog at Nashville”. Sounds like a step above the other cities, no?

The end of an era

Reading about the Vandyland closing in June makes me sad. Actually, I’m still a little bummed from when they changed the name from “Candyland”, but, whatever. I’m totally aware it’s just a diner, and, for some, a symbol of how “backward” Nashville is (or whatever the trend in Nashville bashing is these days). But, just like in any city, there are small things that are traditions, things you can count on seeing, and, it marks the end of an era when they are gone. Property values, new construction, tax revenue…yes, yes, I know, tradition doesn’t change the need for all that, but, we’ll still be missing a damn good milkshake.

I enjoy telling my children about things that were around when I was growing up, things that I want them to remember that are very “Nashville”. Perhaps I am subconsciously distressed that I am old enough to see these traditions die, but, please don’t point that out to me, or, I’ll have to throw my dentures at you, or, beat you with my cane or something.

On a kind of related note, I found this gallery of signs from around Nashville that’s pretty cool.

We’re all new in town once, right?

This past weekend, my partner Karsten and I celebrated our three-year anniversary of having moved to Nashville with brunch at Cheekwood’s Pineapple Room. One of the things we’ve learned since coming to town is that everyone has advice, everywhere we go, whether we ask for it or not (and really, we never do).

One night, for example, about a year into our tenure here, I had just finished playing at a writers’ night and was getting ready to leave the bar. In walked a brash young would-be cowboy, and he strolled right up to me and asked if I was getting ready to play. No, I told him, I just got done. I don’t know what about that answer signified “please give me advice,” but it must have, because this guy launched into ten minutes of suggestions — not having heard me play, mind you — for how to succeed. The clincher was, he’d only been here two days.

Anyway, last night, we went to the “meet and greet” reception for the Harry Fox Agency. HFA is “increasing their presence” in Nashville, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually setting up an office here. Still, they reassured us all that their relationships in Nashville are very important to them. And hey, they threw a pretty good party, so I’d like to extend a hearty welcome.

But what Nashville greeting would be complete without some unsolicited advice? So HFA, my advice is this: DO set up an office here. Convince us you’re taking us seriously.

And keep throwing parties every so often, ’cause ya know. We songwriters can really swill the booze.

Donut dreams

donut.jpg Maybe I’m poor, hungry, simply prone to daydreaming, or, all three, so, I like to read news about local business franchises, and, plan what I’m going to do when my idea becomes the next big thing to catch on. Just between you and me, Internet, I’m going to retire on the colossal income I’m going to make when I open a chain of nail salons in airports. Think about it, after you’re done in the bar (humor me, pretend that you can be done in the bar), there’d be some time left over to get that manicure you don’t seem to have time to schedule.

My other fantasies are more local. For example, someone needs to open a donut place in Bellevue. Young families and churches galore, what better target customers? Donut shops have come and gone, but, none have stayed. Sure, you can get donuts at the grocery or the mini-mart, but, there’s no donut shop ambiance, no donut shop coffee. It could be big, I’m telling you! My other idea is opening a McDonald’s in Belle Meade. There’s not one nearby, there’s lots of traffic, it could be landscaped nicely to meet the area’s standards. Costs? Capital? Labor? Shut up, it’s my fantasy and all that’s taken care of already. What would your imaginary venture be?

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