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Small Businesses Thrive in Maury County

Entrepreneurs find the support, resources they need to succeed

By Heather Cherry on June 17, 2022

Muletown Coffee in Columbia, TN
Muletown Coffee in Columbia, TN / Nathan Lambrecht

Maury County is known by the companies  it keeps.

Located within the Nashville  metro statistical area, Maury County boasts a thriving and growing economy. Access to  a skilled workforce, a prime location in the heart of the Southeast and ready access to major interstates and Class I rail service have made it a draw for major manufacturers.

General Motors, which has been producing vehicles in Spring Hill since the 1980s, has partnered with LG Energy Solution as Ultium Cells LLC to build a new 2.8-million-square-foot facility that will  produce batteries for electric vehicles. The new Ultium Cells plant is expected to create 1,300 jobs. That announcement follows a wave of new investment and expansion, including Smile Direct Club’s $34 million manufacturing facility in Columbia that will create 600 jobs and Fiberon, a leading U.S. manufacturer of eco-friendly wood-alternative decking, railing and cladding that is building a plant in Columbia that will create 300 jobs. 

Matt Johnson, owner of Muletown Coffee in columbia, TN
Matt Johnson, owner of Muletown Coffee in columbia, TN / Nathan Lambrecht

Small Business Growth

And it is not just large companies that find Maury County appealing. Small businesses are also enjoying success and giving the community zest and unique flavor.

“We didn’t so much pick Maury County, as it picked us. Since we’ve opened, other shops have come  in, which has helped shine a light  on this beautiful town square,”  says Matt Johnson, co-owner of Muletown Coffee Roasters  in Columbia. “Our downtown is  a treasure, and we enjoy being a gathering place for our community. We believe in working hard and making our city proud.”

A small-batch coffee roaster that started in 2013, Muletown is a favorite among the locals. It is growing its wholesale and eCommerce business with a line of fully compostable K-cups.  The company is also developing a canned cold brew beverage. 

“We have some projects in development, but we’re not trying  to be a big urban coffee shop; we’re just trying to be ourselves. We’re  a very happy place,” Johnson says. “We’re a light-hearted coffee company focused on community.”

Muletown Collective, a co-working space located in the Columbia Arts Building, has expanded from being solely a co-working space to offering  a rental space for parties and  special events. “I set out to create a space for  the community to gather, but  it’s evolved into a work and event space. Throughout the week and  the daytime, we cater to working people. After hours and on the weekend, we cater to other events,” says Aaron Rudd, owner and  partner in the business. 

Plenty of Resources

The region offers ample resources for entrepreneurs, from programs, networking opportunities, support and advocacy through organizations such as the Maury County Chamber & Economic Alliance to co-working spaces such as Muletown Collective and Cowork.Inc in Columbia, which provide on-demand, flexible office space and many amenities. 

“Our purpose is to help entrepreneurs succeed,” says John Meese, chief education officer of Cowork.Inc. “We have a viable coworking space for people to get their work done, but we also offer training programs to help entrepreneurs thrive. I believe in everyday entrepreneurs and serving them the best way possible.”

Cowork.Inc partners with the Maury County Chamber to offer training to entrepreneurs through its Thrive School, an education series based on Meese’s odcast  and best-selling book, “Survive and Thrive: How To Build a Profitable Business in Any  Economy (Including This One).”

“Our goal is to help businesses last longer. It is good for the community. The Maury County experience is built on the success of everyday entrepreneurs.”

Bellissima Boutique in Mount Pleasant, TN
Bellissima Boutique in Mount Pleasant, TN / Nathan Lambrecht

Supportive Community

Bellissima, a boutique opened  by three friends in June 2021,  sells clothing, locally made  accessories, Italy-inspired art and skin care products. Like other Maury County businesses, the partners didn’t initially choose the area to start their business but were inspired  by its quaintness. 

“I moved to Mount Pleasant because of a house I fell in love with, but it was a great place to live,” says Kim Coursey, co-owner of Bellissima. “We wanted to create a lady’s boutique, a place where ladies can shop, feel the clothing and try things on again. We wanted to revive the in-person shopping experience with an emphasis on customer service. Mount Pleasant is such a friendly town. We knew it would be a great place to start our business, and it’s been perfect. We’ve done well, and the community has supported us.”

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