By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
COOKEVILLE – A crowd of close to 200 gathered Tuesday evening with local officials and Food City leadership to celebrate the opening of the Cookeville Food City located on East 10th Street with an open house, ribbon cutting and fireworks.
Food City CEO Steve Smith said, “We are so glad to be part of Cookeville, part of Putnam County, and we are going to be a good corporate citizen here.”
Smith talked about how his father had retired from his naval career and saw a need that he met by opening a grocery store. That one store grew into a company that now boasts 138 stores.
Food City is an “employee-owned” company with about 13% of the company owned by more than 10,000 of its employees through no cost to them through a profit-sharing plan.
The Cookeville Food City has 220 employees with over 200 new employees from Putnam and surrounding counties.
“It’s really the people inside the store that make the store successful,” Smith said. “You can build a beautiful store, but if you don’t have beautiful people then the store is just going to be that, just another store.”
Smith thanked Wayne Cravens, David Baker and Justin Crumley for their work on the development.
“I can’t tell you anyplace I can ever remember building a store that we’ve had more cooperation from the community than we have in Cookeville and Putnam County,” Smith added.
“Our friends at Tennessee Tech have been great to work with too,” said Food City VP of Marketing Kevin Stafford. “We started working with them a few weeks ago, and we may have some exciting announcements soon as it relates to them.”