Hello, all of my friends that reached out last week to check in on me and the Turnip Truck I’m sending a big Thank You with lot’s of Love and Hugs from me and the same from our Turnip Truck Team members. Like many others in Nashville and surrounding counties there was not much sleep and not much peace. Thank you to my wonderful staff that showed up Tuesday morning to get The Turnip Truck fully running within a few hours on a generator. Our team members are focused and driven to make sure that we could get our Local Community space opened for the neighborhood to have a somewhat place of normalcy and to refuel. We are fortunate compared to many that are less than a 100 ft away from us. Tuesday morning I was at the building at 1:00 am trying to figure out how to get a generator on the building. It took us another 13 hours before we could have power and fully pull this together. Currently, we have an additional 70 plus staff members that are hired for our new Local 5001 Charlotte location that was suppose to be opening today. Our goal at that moment was to honor all of the staff with a job. If you are a business owner you know how staff becomes your family the day you hire them. We honor our staff the day we have a tandem mutual agreement that we want to have a relationship to provide a local community market that buys from 90 plus local vendors.
After, we got the 701 Woodland store up on a generator around 2:00 pm we had a call that our 5001 Charlotte location had not taking a direct hit but we took an indirect hit to our warehouse that was located next to John C Tune airport. Adam Williams our CFO and I decided to drive by the warehouse to check in. We had been told earlier in the day the warehouse was flattened and that the majority of our equipment probably was in total loss. For some reason I had to believe that just maybe we could find some pieces to get the store up and running if we can find pieces to just get open. As we arrived I thought there was no way with a building collapsed and most of the steel mangled beyond what you could imagine. As we started to look around we did find pieces that were still crated but buried so deep or tossed over the side of a hill. My senses went into complete overdrive to start digging and dig more. I rallied my partner Gabe LaDuke and Whitney Hulette and we gloved up and started digging. Piece by piece we found this piece and another piece. Mostly damaged but not beyond operational. I knew at that time we could now work hard over the several days of digging a gently pulling items out that we could possibly get this store open in a few weeks. We are missing still several critical items but as usual our team always figures it out how to make things work. Our COO Kim Totzke and our store director Robin Fugett are in full force getting the team together operationally. With some setbacks we will be cleaning our store this weekend and eagerly waiting Monday morning for our first order of dry grocery that will be placed on the shelves next week. Our team over the next couple of weeks will be working long days to build a new Local market for the West side of Nashville. It feels good that we are close to be able to bring in cash to pay the new additional 70 plus members. The Turnip Truck staff are dreamers and builders of communities.
We will with determination and drive hopefully have this store opened in the next couple of weeks. We will not opened with a fully polished building that we have worked almost two years in dreaming but we will open a beautiful store with some scratches and bruises. We will have check out lanes that will have a ding or a piece missing. But what you will see is a building that is inspired by the Spirit of Nashville. Yes, it will have some bruises here and there. But what it will have is the spirit, determination and local food that we all love. It will be the community’s store that will listen to how they want to see their store. We just happen to own the store but we want the community to speak of what they want to see in our version of a local community store.
Let’s all take time as we go into the future what has made and makes Nashville great. My version and I know for many is the spirit of local businesses, restaurants, coffee shops, small stores etc… Let’s all keep this spirit alive. When we think of local owned remember we keep up to 67% of all money in Nashville instead of allowing that money to float outside of Nashville. I just say that is “Local Nashville Strong.”
I ,also, want to thank Crain Construction for sending in large equipment and workers to help on Friday. Z our marketing director and Amy Hall Jones for helping keep my sanity in line over the last week.
Lastly, I appreciate my partner Gabe LaDuke and our friends Jean Fortin, Michael Mikail, Bruce Stuart and Lemon giving me great evening just being with friends for an amazing Dinner and Concert. Overall my 55th birthday turned out great.