Butch Young is giving himself a big Christmas present this year. He’s retiring.
The longtime owner of the downtown service center at 203 Sparta Street says he is retiring Dec. 31 and the business is up for sale. Anyone interested can dial 473-2923.
When I stopped by the business on Wednesday, Butch politely refused to reminisce about his 30 years in business. “It’s time to pass the baton to someone else,” he said.
With the property for sale, who knows what will happen to the business in the future. I know the downtown service center has been kind of a throwback, a place where you can pull over and get your gas pumped and your windshield cleaned while you’re sitting in the car.
I remember years ago when gas stations offered full-service and self-serve pumps. Full service would cost about 20 cents more per gallon, but an attendant would pump your gas and you would never have to get out of the car.
With the way we seem to be becoming more sedentary as a society, I think this service would grow in popularity, not lose it. But today, there are very few full-service gas stations.
According to Warren County property tax records, the downtown service center building was constructed in 1969. It is a 2,072 square foot building with three garage bays.
It also has three underground gas tanks, a 24×45 awning over the gas pumps, and a small shed. Mr. Young is the owner.
If you want to own the Downtown Service Center, call Butch. I won’t even charge a commission for spreading the word as my way of saying Merry Christmas.
Eddie Kirby is festive
Carquest employee Eddie Kirby was certainly in the Christmas spirit on Wednesday. He was behind Carquest on Wednesday dressed as Cousin Eddie from “Christmas Vacation” and fried turkeys for Christmas gifts.
Eddie was sure to point out his furry friend Bandit who he says is his boy and not his dog. Bandit accompanies Eddie almost everywhere as a supportive friend.
“It’s something I’ve been doing for years because I really like it,” Eddie said. “I started when I had my nursery, Shady K, and I cooked 15 to 20 to distribute to my employees. I’m doing it here for all of my colleagues at Carquest.
Eddie is all over the county delivering parts four days a week. “We’ve been very busy,” he said. “It wears me out.”
Eddie is a huge Warren County basketball fan and the uncle of Pioneer head coach Chris Sullens. He says he enjoys watching how the team plays with courage and emotion.
Eddie said he wanted to take this time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday weekend.
Strong Christmas sales
What has been the hot point of this Christmas season?
If you ask Kari Burnett, owner of Tiger Lily Boutique, this is the jacket.
A jacket is not a shirt and it is not a jacket. It’s a heavy shirt usually worn over your normal clothes to provide an extra layer of warmth without the bulk of a full fledged jacket. I’ve been using flannel shirts as shakes for years for these reasons.
“The Christmas rush really started for us in October,” Kari said. “The shopping season has been long. November was good and December is also holding up. Overall, it’s been a good season for us.
Shirts aren’t the only hot item. Kari says graphic tees have also been big sellers.
“People really love the shirts with the old school rock bands like Def Leppard, AC/DC and Aerosmith,” Kari said.
Tiger Lily Boutique has a great location on the Strip next to Sherwin-Williams.
Diamond Jewelry Company owner David Stinson echoed Kari’s comments about a strong shopping season.
“Usually the rush is the last three weeks of December, but we started much earlier than that this year,” David said. “Everything has been linked since the beginning of December and perhaps a little before. I can’t complain at all.
David said he was not an economist, but he believes all the government stimulus money pumped into the economy in 2020 was the reason it had its best year on record. He says this year in 2021 is up to the task.
“Last year was a bumper year and this year we’re close to that,” David said. “I don’t know if we’ll match him, but we should be close.”
An interesting aspect of David’s business is that his son Abram started making jewelry. Abram recently completed a one-of-a-kind bracelet and says he sees himself joining the family business. He is the fifth generation of the Stinson family to take over the business.
“None of us took any classes,” David said. “We just passed it down from one generation to the next. It all started with my great-grandfather, who was a blacksmith. Well a watchmaker needed a part and back then you couldn’t go online and just order what you needed so the watchmaker had him make the part for him and he went kinda moved to jewelry from there.
The Novares building arouses interest
I reported earlier this month that Novares will be closing its Mt. View Industrial Park plant. The company got its start in Warren County as miniature precision components before Novares, a French company, bought the business about two years ago.
It is a 100,000 square foot building that should be available at the end of April.
“I’ve already shown the building and the company called back the next day for more information,” said Industrial Development Board executive director Don Alexander. “That they call back the next day shows that they are interested.”
Don said the building is already listed on the TVA website and is attractive because it has a gymnasium and health facility.
Novares makes plastic injection molding for the automotive industry. The most recent employment figures show the company has 58 employees. Don said some of those employees have already started interviewing with other companies.
That’s all people
On this festive holiday weekend, economic news is probably the least of the concerns. If you have business news you’d like to see in this column, email email@example.com.