Retail and business development continues to thrive in Mt. Juliet.
While in the shadow of big boxes, “mom-and-pop” shops take center stage with several new ones already or nearly ready to open, according to City Manager Kenneth Martin.
"Mom-and-pop retail shops and businesses have always been and will always be the backbone of our business community," Martin said. "They are truly the economic engines of our community's economic vitality, and we want to do everything we can to help them survive and prosper."
Seven new small businesses are set to open, most on the north side of the city. Paint Along is a new business at 3586 N. Mt. Juliet Road. It's a studio-like setting where people learn to paint and draw.
Three new businesses are on Lebanon Road. Janou's Jewels sells retail costume jewelry and Tortuga Designs sells gifts and novelty items. Roll, Wrap and Stix is at 14805 Lebanon Road near Dunkin’ Donuts and Cinco de Mayo. The new restaurant, which opened this week, serves fresh sushi and Asian cuisine.
A new hair salon, Locks & Lashes, is open at 4110 North Mt. Juliet Rd.
Grand Ole Pawn has its new sign out to welcome customers at 3548 N. Mt. Juliet Rd., next to Joann's Alterations and Pizza Hut. Big Frog Custom T-Shirts can be found at 650 South Mt. Juliet Rd.
"When a mom-and-pop business owner has a dream to open their own business and makes that dream become a reality, it's one of the biggest decisions they will make in their lifetime from a financial perspective," said Martin. "Many mom-and-pop business owners spend their life savings on their business dreams, and many also leave longtime secure jobs to pursue their dream."
Martin said that is why the city promotes the “Buy Mt. Juliet/Shop Mt. Juliet First” programs so heavily.
"Without the support and patronage of the local residents, our mom and pop business owners can't survive," said Martin. "Unlike national chains, mom and pops need steady and consistent business flow for survivability."
In the past 60 days, 68 business licenses were issued, according to city spokesperson Rachel Broadbent.
Along with these smaller businesses, major construction continues at the new Pier 1 Imports, which will open in south Mt. Juliet mid-summer.