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‘Facebook meets Jesus’ at mybluenoodle

If Brian Watkins had hoped to create some chatter concerning his newest business endeavor, he has been very successful.
A newcomer to the downtown retail scene, Watkins has rented the space formerly occupied by Boxcar Betty’s EcoDepot at 103 E. Main St.
He plans to open a store there called mybluenoodle.
Watkins has placed posters with eclectic artwork in the windows of the building, which is owned by Jo Storie and Nancy Colburn. Those signs encourage people to visit mybluenoodle on Facebook.
But so far, there has been no sign of activity inside the building or any hint of what exactly the store will be like.
“We’re not in a hurry to open because we don’t want to have to sweep up the ashes of bad decisions,” Watkins said.
The 37-year-old former real estate investor says he has had enough of making the wrong choices. Because of that, when he does get ready to open his store, it won’t be business as usual.
Watkins says he plans to take his professional career in a new direction – toward God.
A native of Los Angeles, Watkins received his undergraduate degree from Concordia University Irvine in California.
He then moved to Tennessee where he attended Nashville’s Trevecca Nazarene University in pursuit of a graduate degree in the medical field.
That path wasn’t the right one for him, Watkins said, so he moved to Colorado, where he set about building a career in real estate investments.
“I was successful for several years,” he said, “but then everything fell apart and I got taken out in a bad business deal.”
There was also a divorce and Watkins’ world crashed. But before long, things came back into focus.
“I watched miracle after miracle happen in my life and I realized my failure was the biggest gift God ever gave me,” he said. “It made me realize what is really important. That was a bad season, but I’m grateful for it.”
Watkins’ life started taking a turn for the better when a good friend offered him a sales job that brought him back to the Tri-Cities area. He remarried and now has a 7-year-old daughter.
In the midst of all that, he found his way to Jonesborough. He is now following God’s lead, he says, to create a company “around the encouragement and engagement of His kids.”
“We want to create a business and ministry that’s out of the box,” Watkins said, “something that’s cool and engaging.”
The name — mybluenoodle— is quite literally Watkins’ brainchild.
“I just had all these ideas trapped in my head, so that’s where the ‘noodle’ part came in – the concept of my head,” he said. “I felt like my brain would explode if I didn’t express them.”
Watkins added the color blue in the store name, “just to add some pop.”
“It will be a brand which will include online stores dedicated to building a youthful online Christian community,” Watkins said. “Kind of like Facebook meets Jesus.”
As far as the physical storefront, Watkins says he doesn’t have any immediate plans to open, although he has a goal of opening several retail outlets in the future.
“We originally just started working to develop the (online) site,” Watkins said. “We hadn’t planned on a physical storefront just yet, but this opportunity just presented itself, so we decided to go ahead. However, we have backed off for a while as we continue development of our online segment.”
When the store does open, Watkins said, it will be very modern-looking, much like an Apple store.
“It will be a creative, modern, engaging, God-honoring worship song…with a cash register in the back,” he added. “The products we create under the mybluenoodle brand seek to do one thing: Encourage people that our God is awesome in a modern, relatable, Jesus-honoring way.”
According to Watkins, the stores will carry an original brand of modern Christian apparel for men, women, children, dogs, and some small farm animals.
“We will also create a fresh, modern, customizable flavor of custom inspired, gallery-quality art for the home, office, home office, school, elevator, homeschool, woodshed or barn,” he said. “Jesus gave us personalities, and we’re not afraid to use them. We are all about encouraging people that God is good while keeping it real…and current.”