Business owners bringing new life to old school building in Johnson County


JOHNSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- An old school building in Johnson County has been sitting empty for years but now the owners of the historic building are bringing new life to the building with hopes of helping the economy.

An old elementary school on Roan Creek Rd in Mountain City is now a multipurpose building with many business in it including a gym and a coffee shop.

Tim Cox Jr. is the co-owner of the old schoolhouse that’s now called School House Commons.

“From our knowledge the building was built in the 50’s and closed in the late 90’s. My family and I, we moved down here around four years ago and it was always our dream ever since we saw the building to buy the building. This was a building that we felt was just way too nice and had way too much history to just watch it sit,” said Cox.

His family brought their business skills from upstate New York to the hills of Tennessee and turned this once vacant elementary school into a multipurpose business building.

“It’s really turned out to be more than what we expected it to be. You know, it’s more than just redoing the building and having a business in it. It’s really become a hub for the community,” said Cox.

At the core of the building is their family’s business, Advantage Plastics Inc..

His 15-year-old daughter following in his footsteps by helping to create Firsty Athletic Co. and co-creating a product called the Align Eight™ that goes on softball and baseball bats.

Also in the building is J.H. Howard Co. Barbershop, a coffee shop called Know Better Coffee, and CrossFit Firsty.

“I want to create community for people, people who are interested in becoming physically fit, who want to be active, or who just want to prioritize their health. I realized there’s a demand for this. People really want it so I made it happen,” said gym owner Jackson Yates.

All of these businesses come together in one building to build the economy in Johnson County.

“So we have our coffee roster, our barber shop, and so like they bring in business for me, I bring in business for them,” said Yates.

Cox said they even have plans to renovate the upstairs area into more office space and flats.

The School House Commons brings modern touches to this landmark and historic building in Johnson County.

“We had a lot of ideas and obviously this is such a cool building there was all sorts of possibilities, and so we just tried to work really hard and make it look nice,” said Yates.

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