By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Mayor Jim Staff confirmed this week that most of the rumors circulating around the community regarding the possible location of new businesses here have a basis in fact, while others remain stuck on the rumor mill.
The mayor confirmed that city officials have heard recently from officials of the Papa John’s Pizza franchise that announced last summer the company’s intentions of opening a pizzeria in the old Church’s Chicken building at the corner of Main and Howard streets.
Codes Enforcement Officer Chris Black said recently the city was surprised to hear from the owners of the potential food establishment after several months of silence.
“We thought he had disappeared, rode off into the sunset,” Black said. “But he contacted us recently and said he still planned to open here.”
Black and fellow Codes Enforcement Officer Greg Vaughn said recently the company had not filed any plans or furnished any drawings. The franchisee wouldn’t need a license to raze or renovate the building but would need to purchase a business license before it commenced operations within the city.
To date, Staff said, that hasn’t happened.
“Apparently, the man who was over it to start with isn’t over it anymore,” the mayor said Monday, May 29. “They are still talking about coming, but they have not bought a license or permit yet.”
Another chain restaurant, Zaxby’s, had expressed interest in setting up shop at Rivercane, on the property just south of Taco Bell, but negotiations have stalled. The company has 900 locations, most of them in the southern United States.
“I don’t know what happened there,” Staff said. “We were talking with them, then it just died.”
Other rumors are that Dollar General plans to build a new store along Highway 31, on the former Happy Palace Chinese buffet property, that Sneaky Creek BBQ, which has until now operated out of a food truck, plans to open a sit-down, drive-through eatery, also on West Nashville, and that a Krispy Kreme shop was in the works at an undisclosed downtown location.
“I’ve been hearing rumors about Dollar General, but I haven’t heard a word about the barbecue place,” Staff said. “As far as the doughnut place, I believe there’s a doughnut place that kind of follows Starbuck’s (Dunkin’ Donuts), so there might be one coming out near the casino.”
The other rumored business opening is for a new auto parts store.
“I’m hearing the same thing, that they will open up out there near (Oak Hill Cemetery),” Staff said. “But again, no license and no permit.”
The mayor said rumors will remain rumors until one or more of the anticipated business entities initiates some action to indicate it will locate here.
“I wish there was something positive to tell you, but there’s just not anything going on right now,” he said.