• A palette of powder: Willett creates glossy finish in his rural garage

    Willett Powder Coating may look like a typical garage-based business, but inside, owner Richy Willett makes magic.

    Willett, who has been in business for 18 years, uses an unusual process that creates a durable, high-gloss and scratch-resistant finish on personal and industrial parts, including automotive frames, motorcycles, outdoor metal furniture, car wheels and rims, fenders and engine blocks, iron beds and fences.

    Powder paint is available in a variety of colors, and is comprised of paint pigments ground into a fine powder instead of a liquid.

  • Business briefs: Feb. 29, 2016

    AgCentral Farmers Cooperative, Harriman, is now a public drop-off location for collection of Earthborn Holistic pet food bags. The bags will be recycled, and AgCentral will earn points for every bag collected and sent to TerraCycle. Points can later be redeemed as a charity gift or cash donation to the pet charity of the store’s choice.

  • Free workshops to assist small business owners

    The Roane Alliance, in partnership with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, will host free workshops for potential and existing small business owners and entrepreneurs.

    The TSBDC advises and assists entrepreneurs and small business owners in the area at no cost to them.

    The first is the small business start-up seminar from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 15 in The Roane Alliance at 1209 N. Kentucky St., Kingston.

  • Fiber-ready sites draw industry

    Wade Creswell, president and CEO of The Roane Alliance, has something else to tout when he’s trying to entice industry to locate here.

    Roane Regional Business and Technology Park has been designated as AT&T Fiber Ready.

    “This is a recruitment tool for us,” Creswell said.

    Heritage Center and Horizon Center have also received the AT&T Fiber Ready designation. The announcement was made at the Heritage Center Friday morning.

  • Out to Lunch: Jake’s dog forgotten with memories of delicious Reuben

    Readers may reminder that I am the executive director of a furniture-buying group, with members in 38 states.

    A few members of our group met recently at Fowlers Furniture in Rockwood to preview a couple of new furniture lines.

    I arranged for our group to have lunch nearby at Jake’s Steakhouse and Tavern in Shoppes at Walden Ridge.

    Since my previous “Out to Lunch” column on Jake’s in June 2013, I knew they had added a private banquet-dining area, Jake’s Back Door.

  • Mama Mia! Kingston pizzeria marks 45th anniversary

    Mama Mia’s Restaurant and Pizzeria owner Lottie O’Brien does not think a 45th anniversary is as big a deal as a 25th or 50th, but she did indeed hit that significant milestone Feb. 4.

    It was marked with congratulatory balloons and flowers, and a special mention on the Roane County Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page.

    But for O‘Brien, it was “business as usual” – preparing homemade pizzas and sandwiches for hungry customers.

  • Out to Lunch: Get a big taste of Cuba at La Cabana

    Today’s “Out to Lunch” adventure takes place 890 miles from Cuba — or so the sign says on the wall at La Cabana-Cuban Flavor restaurant on Campbell Station Road, Knoxville.

    My wife, Carol, and I invited Nathan and Ellis Stonecipher to meet us at La Cabana for lunch. They live just across the interstate off Lovell Road.

    Readers may remember in previous article that I mentioned Ellis, formerly Ellis Mae Darby, as my grade school “sweetheart,” and we were in the same graduating class at Oak Ridge High School.

  • Party Zone Fun: Kids ‘having a blast’ in new family-friendly venture

    The vision Kimberly Howe had painted in her head about Rockwood’s Party Zone quickly went away once she got inside.

    “I’m so surprised,” she said. “I expected one little jumper and a couple of pinball machines. I wasn’t expecting this.”

    What she saw was a colorful, kid-friendly space with plenty of inflatables and arcade games.

    Her three grandchildren – Braydon and Brailyn Colyer and Millie Miller – were all smiles as they plunged down one of the slides.

  • Williams new to UCOR

    Fran Williams has been selected as chief operating officer for URS|CH2M Oak Ridge LLC (UCOR).

    She will fill the position vacated last month by Matt Marston, who left to accept a senior management position within AECOM, one of UCOR’s parent companies.

    Williams previously served as UCOR’s manager of environment, safety, health and quality assurance.

    She retired in 2015 after overseeing UCOR’s successful designation as a Star site in the Department of Energy’s Voluntary Protection Program.

  • Sweetheart of a treat to help Drug Task Force

    All the proceeds of a sweetheart of a strawberry Valentine’s Day treat will go to the Drug Task Force for the war on drugs in Roane County.

    The Well House Primary Care, Kingston, is taking orders for chocolate-dipped strawberries.

    The orders will be delivered on Friday or Saturday within a 15-mile radius of The Well House on North Kentucky Street.

    Orders are available through today, Monday.

    Cost is $20 for half a dozen or $35 for a dozen.

    The strawberries will be packaged and decorated with a single rose.