Ovation 2014: Spirit of Entrepreneurship

Honoring individuals who have made something from nothing, who have withstood the test of time and/or carved out a unique business model where none previously existed.



Putnam County/Owner, Creative Push


Daniel Sutton, owner of local agency Creative Push, sat idle on the domain name CookeVegas.com for years before he decided its ultimate purpose – a landing page to promote his new cell phone application by the same name. After several months of development, CookeVegas officially launched in December, and its audience only continues to grow.

The app’s mobile and social nature – to serve as a way for users to find all kinds of events in Cookeville and the Upper Cumberland – is something that’s never been offered locally before. Both Apple and Android users can browse for shopping, restaurants, sports activities, community events, music and more.

“The response is very good so far, (mostly,) ‘it’s so cool that our small town has something like this,’” Sutton said. “We wanted people to be able to go to the app and see what’s happening this weekend, or a month from now. There’s so many things going on, and you always say, ‘I didn’t even know about that.’”

To support the app, premium spots are available to businesses and event holders for a fee. There’s also limited ad space. While listings are posted mostly by Sutton, there is the ability for others to submit. He hopes the community buy-in grows as word of the app spreads.

“We are getting people submitting events to us via email, and we like that. We want people to feed us that information,” Sutton said. “We also want to go out and look for it. That’s where we want to be.”

39 W. Broad St.

Cookeville, TN (931) 854-9554




Cumberland County/Winery


For 23 years, Stonehaus Winery has had a visible presence in Cumberland County – and the Upper Cumberland. Not only are its tasting room and gift shop visible from I-40, the business has left its mark on the region in a number of different ways.

There are the recent concert events – and even an upcoming planned movie screening – that bring extra visitors through the doors and typically  benefit a worthy non-profit. Stonehaus also helps sponsor Overton County’s Jammin’ at Hippie Jack’s music festival. And owner Rob Ramsey serves on several boards, including another outside Crossville’s borders, the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree. And, if you so happen to tee-off at a state golf course later this year, you could be sipping on a Stonehaus specialty afterward. Ramsey hopes their newest blend, TGA Blanc, a dry white with great citrus overtones and produced specially for the Tennessee Golf Association to mark their centennial anniversary, will become the house wine at select courses across the state.

Of course there’s always free samplings at the store. There are almost 20 to choose from.

“Wine can be very intimidating and overwhelming,” Ramsey said. “We make the tasting experience all about ‘them’ (and) help them find what they really like. To be able to taste in a relaxed environment and to try before you buy makes for a more enjoyable time more satisfied customer.”

2444 Genesis Road #103

Crossville, TN (931) 484-9463


Putnam County/Owner, Char, 19th Hole Clubhouse, Cooke House and Wooly Bully’s

To say Chad Huddleston is fully vested in the Cookeville restaurant scene might be a gross understatement. Certainly opening and/or taking over four restaurants in five years leaves little left to debate.

It all started in 2009 with Char, a steakhouse on the Putnam County Courthouse square; grew in 2012 to include the 19th Hole Clubhouse, a so-called “dive bar” on 10th Street known in particular for its wings; later expanded in 2013 to the Cooke House, located in the former Maddux Station space; and now also encompasses Wooly Bully’s, a scene for live music and more.

All are completely different concepts – and very much on purpose.

“I think the key for me was every time we were looking at doing something else, I was never going to have a direct draw against something I already had going on,” Huddleston said. “And I think we’ve been successful in that. I mean, Char and the Cooke House are literally 100 feet from door to door.”

Huddleston credits his staff, among them sister Tiffany Huddleston, Chris Batty and Chad Combs, as keys to juggling four restaurant roles. He says he’s considered further expansion, but for now, Cookeville is home.

“I’ve considered expanding outside… Crossville, Gainesboro, Sparta, even Nashville…but I’m not sure I’m ready to attack something else yet,” he said. “I’m invested in Cookeville and the Upper Cumberland region and that’s where we’ll be going forward.”

14 S. Washington Ave.

Cookeville, TN (931) 520-2427




Upper Cumberland/Business accelerator

Taking a business idea from its earliest steps to an actual prototype or product can be an overwhelming thought. That’s where the Biz Foundry can help. If you’re looking for a way to define the Foundry, one of nine Launch Tennessee business accelerators statewide, simply think of it as an entity that’s enabling entrepreneurs, at their own pace and without restraints.

“We want to help,” said Jeff Brown, executive director/president. “We don’t have all the answers, but our job is to help you find them. And we don’t necessarily have a set way of doing that, either. I mean, we’re entrepreneurs, too.”

In the year since the Foundry’s Cookeville opening, its staff has held code camps, which are geared to build up a bigger pool of coders and programmers; roundtables to facilitate business-related discussions; and has helped match entrepreneurial hopefuls with mentors – and later, potential investors.

“What we found by asking a lot of questions and meeting a lot of people, is that there’s almost always local help,” Brown said. “That has turned out to be what we’re really good at.”

140 W. Seventh St.

Cookeville, TN (931) 372-1039




Warren County/Juice bar and cafe

Happen to be in downtown McMinnville and looking for a healthy pick-me-up? Juicy’s, a smoothie and juice bar/cafe, seems to be all the rage since opening on Main Street in 2013.

The focus is on fresh – so fresh, in fact, that the menu changes daily based on the best ingredients. One-on-one or group counseling is offered for weight loss and lifestyle changes. And don’t forget free distressing chair massages for a more relaxed lunchtime hour.

110 E. Main St.

McMinnville, TN (931) 474-5463

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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