By TOMI L. WILEYSpecial to The Wilson Post
MT. JULIET -- National experts have said recently that the recession may be “over,” and the tides of the nation’s economic troubles may be turning, but times are still pretty tough around the country and many areas are seeing stagnant growth and a rash of businesses closing, huge companies folding and dust settling on construction that has ground to a halt.
That’s not the case in Mt. Juliet, however, according to officials in this western-most city.
Many businesses have opened in the area recently, including Lowe’s, Sally’s Beauty and Dollar Tree at Paddocks, Rue 21 and Cori’s Doghouse (opened officially on Tuesday, Sept. 22) at Providence, a new Mapco South, Bicyclette restaurant in Coolview Commons and O’Reilly Auto Parts on Lebanon Road. And Walmart is set to open at Paddocks on Oct. 28, as well as another Subway in that development.
But some of the most exciting businesses are either actively looking to locate in Mt. Juliet or have signed letters of intent and are gearing up to build here, said Mt. Juliet Director of Economic Development Kenny Martin.
Martin said that while “rubbing elbows” with some major developers and economic leaders at functions in Nashville and at regional events that the buzz is that “one of the few places anything is happening is in Mt. Juliet.”
“Each new business that opens here opens an opportunity for another business, and people want to be in Mt. Juliet,” Martin said. “We’re no longer a sleepy little suburb of Nashville, but we still have that feel – we still have that small town feel, and that’s because of the people here, not necessarily the businesses. It’s about the big and small businesses – especially the entrepreneurs, the Mom and Pop businesses that spur opportunities on.”
Martin said that some businesses who are “actively looking” to locate in Mt. Juliet include: a second Sonic, International House of Pancakes, Shoney’s (looking at Paddocks and Providence Commons), Hallmark Cards (looking at Providence Commons), Game Stop (Paddocks), Bar-B Cutie (Paddocks and other areas, in search of an available lot), Jim and Nicks’s BBQ (Providence area), and Ascend Credit Union (Paddocks).
Businesses that have signed a letter of intent include: a third McDonald’s in the Providence area, Firehouse Subs (Providence, in lease negotiations), Eyemasters (Paddocks outparcel) and Valvoline Oil (Paddocks).
Martin noted that the following businesses should all be open within the next six months, some sooner depending on construction and weather conditions: UPS Store (Providnce, opening any time, lease has been signed), El Camal Mexican Restaurant (Mt. Juliet Village – new Publix shopping center at intersection of Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Road – in four to six weeks), Famous Jose’s (Coolview Commons, opening in next few weeks), Fat Moe’s (Coolview Commons, should open in four to six weeks, or sooner), US Bank (Paddocks, lease signed, four months), Cheddar’s (Paddocks, speculative opening date of March 1), Buffalo Wild Wings (Adams Lane, under construction, could open in three months), a second Publix (Providence Commons, four months), Mt. Juliet Dentistry (Providence Commons, four months). Martin said a new veterinary clinic is also set to open on Providence Parkway soon, just east of Two Rivers Ford at Providence.
Many people and families are clamoring for a wholesale club store along the lines of Costco or Sam’s Club, but Martin said that at this time Mt. Juliet “isn’t big enough yet” statistically, but that Sam’s Club could be located in the Bel Air at Beckwith area once that development is closer to coming online. He added that other businesses that have expressed an interest in locating in Mt. Juliet include an indoor firing range, a bowling alley, and a 24-hour fitness center.
“The phone is ringing off the hook here – the buzz in Nashville is that we’re next in line for a business boom,” Martin said Monday. “And we’re trying to keep as much of it local as we can – we’re trying harder and harder to get local contractors to do these build outs, we’re leading the developers to our own local base of workers. We want all the work and business to stay here, for our people and the people of Wilson County.”
Editor’s Note: Tomi L. Wiley is the editor of The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.