Ovation 2014: Favorite Retail Establishment

Honoring the various retail outlets in the Upper Cumberland for customer service, unique product selection, convenience and overall value to the community.


Smith County/Wine and spirits

Sami Arnouk knew he was taking a gamble when he quit his job as an engineer in order to follow his dream. That bet seems to be paying off. The owner of Cheers Wine & Liquor in Gordonsville has seen steady sales since opening his store in 2010, including one of his best months this May.

“In 2010, everybody was screaming for jobs, and I’m resigning,” Arnouk, a 1984 Tennessee Tech graduate, said. “Everybody told me I was crazy. No, I’m not. I just wanted to follow my passion and my hobby, which is wine.”

When he opened his store at the Gordonsville exit off Interstate 40, the area was at best up-and-coming. Preparation for larger commercial development had only begun a couple years prior. But its proximity between Cookeville and Lebanon was the main attraction. Never mind it would also the largest liquor store in seven surrounding counties at 7,800 square feet. Arnouk was sold.

“When I opened, a lot of people stopped by and asked, ‘what are you doing?’ Why such a big store?’ My answer was Smith County deserved better, and of course I’m not only depending on Smith County,” Arnouk said. “I get a lot of lake traffic…It’s a great location.”

Now, four years later, sales are improving – sometimes weekly, he said – and Arnouk takes pride in offering excellent customer service. “My job,” he says, “is not to sell the customer a bottle of wine. It’s to sell the bottle of wine that’s going to bring them back to the store.” Because he buys in greater volume, prices are kept low. He’s more than willing to recommend a selection; wines prices span $4 to $400. And in December 2012, he became his own landlord, purchasing the strip in which his store resides, which also includes a physical therapy office and Mexican restaurant.

“I’m very proud to call myself a Tennessean. I’ve been here 34 years, and this is my home,” he said. “And when I’m at work, it’s a hobby for me. I would not call it a job. I’m very fortunate.”

112 Bradford Boulevard, Suite 800

Gordonsville, TN (615) 683-3333




Putnam County/Home improvement center


If you think Stover’s Liquidation is all about building materials – tile, hardwood and flooring – you’d be wrong. While those have always been the company’s bread and butter, its series of retail centers in Cookeville, Knoxville, Nashville and most recently in Bristol, Va., have grown to stock a much greater variety of goods.

Such a great variety, in fact, that you almost never know what you’re going to get.

“We pride ourselves on being unique in the market,” owner Tim Stover said. “Back in the winter, we bought a trailer load of scooters. When we sell out of those, we might have something totally different. We wholesale materials like Tide and watches, building materials, Amazon returns or appliances. Just little bit of everything. We love dealing with different things everyday.”

Stover’s also recently opened a new distribution center on South Whitney in Cookeville, bringing its total Putnam County footprint to six buildings, with a retail outlet on Broad Street to four other warehouse facilities in town. Stover said they employ 100 across the Southeast.

“We focus on giving our customers one-on-one in all our interactions,” Stover said.

452 W. Broad St.

Cookeville, TN (931) 526-2591



Cannon County/Jewelry store


Jennings Jewelers has served Cannon County for more than 60 years, with a sparkling collection of diamonds, gold, sterling silver, and more.

The store was established in 1952 by Austin and Carmine Jennings – in a small shop down the street from its current location. In early 1975, the store moved to its present day 215 W. Main St. address. That’s about the time current owner Joann Tate started work there.

“(Then) when Mr. Jennings retired in 1996, I purchased the store from Josh and Barbara Tenpenny. Barbara is Austin Jennings daughter,” she said.

“We value our business in a small town,” Tate added. “We have for many years strived to give the best customer service possible.”

Jennings’ customer base is about 50 percent local and 50 percent from out of town, she said. The store offers a unique selection of sterling silver that is purchased at jewelry shows only. Citizens Watches are also top sellers.

15 W. Main St.

Woodbury, TN (615) 563-2421



Putnam County/Boutique

Family owned and operated, The Market on the Square is a treasure trove for those who love to cook and shop. There are unique kitchen gadgets, cookware, gifts, dishes, wine glasses, kitchen utensils, coffee makers and more. There’s also an on-site, flat-screen TV to air cooking shows – a good match for the gourmet food selection in stock: jellies, relishes, sauces dips, cooking sauces, olive oils, dipping sauces, popcorn and more. Downstairs, the Market features a cornucopia of items such as children’s clothing, jewelry, art, home furnishings and decorations, photographs and works by local artisans.

6 N. Jefferson Ave.

Cookeville, TN (931) 372-7688



Putnam County/Electrical, plumbing and lighting

Williams Wholesale Supply is a fixture – no pun intended – on South Jefferson Avenue, and a go-to shop for locals with any electrical, plumbing or lighting need.

The store started as a hardware business that Frank and Robert Williams first opened on the square in 1939, selling items like wagon wheels, brick, paint, tools, even lard buckets. Eventually the business evolved into electrical and plumbing sales and, in 1963, moved to the current location at 250 S. Jefferson. It’s been said that people thought the Williams’ were crazy to move so far out of town, approximately 300 yards away.

The lighting showroom, added in 1976, is one of the largest in Middle Tennessee. In 2005, a Williams Wholesale branch was opened in Nashville, and in 2009, another followed in Columbia.

Today, a fourth generation of Williams’ is currently in the business, and their focus is to continue to provide the best service possible.

250 S. Jefferson Ave.

Cookeville, TN (931) 528-6441

Liz Engel is the editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. She can be reached at liz@ucbjournal.com

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Liz Engel is the editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. She can be reached at liz@ucbjournal.com

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