⊕ Ovation Awards 2015: Excellence in Professional Services


Honoring professionals who serve us well, from accountants and lawyers to plumbers and HVAC shops.


SALTBOX INN PUTNAM COUNTY | 537 Hutcheson Road, Cookeville  | (931) 510-6787

The Saltbox Inn.
The Saltbox Inn.

The Saltbox Inn isn’t yet two years in business, but already seems to have risen to top of the list when it comes to event venues in the Upper Cumberland region.

Weekends are jam-packed with weddings, proms, corporate events and more. Ed and Suzanne Buck, the proprietors behind the business, never imagined they’d get off to such a fast start.

“We have this elegant and rustic clash, and people seem to like that style,” Ed Buck said. “We built a new barn (on the property) that we call the stables, and it’s got that same rustic feel that runs throughout our venue. But we put chandlers in it, and you can (outfit it with) really upscale furniture and things. It’s a really neat place.”

In all, the Saltbox Inn features four suites – which house a total of six bedrooms, seven baths, and enough room to accommodate 14 guests – a swimming pool, patios and landscaped gardens.

As such, the Saltbox has become a destination for birthday parties, anniversaries, proms, and mostly weddings, which make up roughly 75 percent of the business. Buck said improvements to the property are steadily ongoing

“The snowball has started down the hill, and it’s picking up steam and getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” Buck said. “We’re having a lot of fun.”


ELITE CONSTRUCTION SERVICES PUTNAM COUNTY | PO Box 2997, Cookeville | (931) 260-1535

Eric Cherry.
Eric Cherry.

After a combined 40-plus years in the construction business, co-workers-turned- business-partners Eric Cherry and Tony Johnson decided to start their own joint venture, Elite Construction Services. It’s been full go ever since.

In 2012, Elite’s first year, the company had approximately $1 million in sales. This year, Cherry predicts they’ll top $10 million. While The Gables at Veterans Drive, a multi-family
project currently underway across from the Putnam County Fairgrounds in Cookeville, is arguably the most visible, high-dollar custom homes remain their bread and butter. Elite has 18 homes pending for 2015-2016.

“We like building custom homes for people,” Cherry said. “We enjoy that process, taking a client’s ideas, starting from a blank piece of paper. We do everything from helping them with their drawings, to helping them with the size and layout of their home, all the way through turnkey and helping them move in.

“Everything is pure custom,” Cherry added. “We’ve never built the same house twice.”

Day-to-day, Johnson handles Elite’s field operations, while Cherry focuses more on administration. Whatever the arrangement, it seems to work.

“We’ve had a good friendship for over 10 years, and there was already a mutual respect amongst each other. It was just an easy decision (to do this),” Cherry said. “We hope we continue to grow.”


MCCULLEY SIDING & WINDOWS INC. CUMBERLAND COUNTY | 152 W. First St. Crossville | (931) 484-6601

Harry McCulley, president of McCulley Siding & Windows (MSW), started his business in 1989 in Crossville, holding shop out of the local Waffle House. But it wasn’t long before his success landed him a more permanent locale – MSW’s current storefront on West First Street, and a business that’s still growing today. MSW handles both residential and commercial home improvement projects, from windows, siding, entry doors, decks, awnings, sun room enclosures, sun rooms, patio covers and more. In 2014, MSW expanded into kitchen remodeling and cabinet restyling, and each line of cabinet’s is custom made on the job.

Shane Ridley, general manager, attributes the company’s 30-plus year history to a loyal customer base that seems always eager to refer their business to family and friends. He says they strive to make home improvement easy.

“We appreciate all of our customers, our employees and our vendors who we have partnered with over the years to help our company achieve the success we have today and for our future success,” he said.



Janice Hamby.
Janice Hamby.

Janice Hamby has been an active real estate broker in Cumberland County since 1977 as owner of Third Tennessee Realty and Third Tennessee Auction Company. When it comes to buying or selling, Hamby has likely seen it all, but it’s the clients that keep her driven – and successful.

“I have seen really good markets – and some that were a real challenge – but never lost my passion to do what I am doing,” Hamby said. “I love this business, but my greatest love is the people who place their confidence in me to represent them. I consider this an honor and work extremely hard to continue to earn their trust.”

Her own hard work has earned her several designations. She’s an accredited
buyer representative (ABR); a graduate of the Realtor Institute; a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), which comes in handy given Cumberland County’s retiree market; and has served in various levels of leadership with Realtor’s associations on both the local and state level.


WILSON BANK & TRUST SMITH, DEKALB, PUTNAM COUNTIES | 623 W. Main St., Lebanon | (615) 444-2265

The walls have been raised on Wilson Bank and Trust’s fifth Upper Cumberland branch in Cookeville, but the Lebanon-based financial institution – founded in 1987 – has had a presence in the region for nearly 20 years.

“Our original goal was to be in every county that touched Wilson County,” said Randall Clemons, CEO. “Smith was our first in 1996.”

Wilson Bank & Trust has made good on that long-term plan. It expanded to DeKalb that next year, and has grown to 26 branches since. Besides Cookeville, another branch is pending in Rutherford County. Clemons said they’re now considered the sixth largest bank in Tennessee. But, Clemons added, despite their size, Wilson Bank & Trust is still very much community minded and customer focused.

“We’re an unusually large, locally owned bank that still provides personal banking and is heavily involved in each community we serve,” Clemons said. “That sets us apart from most banks, we’re large enough offer every possible financial service, but small enough to still know our customers on a personal basis.”

The Cookeville office, which will be located at 320 S. Jefferson Ave., should be complete by the end of 2015/early 2016.



About the awards

The Upper Cumberland’s annual Ovation Awards honor the top businesses and individuals in the region. Among the 29 total awardees in 2015, 20 are first timers. Ovations were awarded in seven categories overall, including:


Ovation Award winners are nominated by Upper Cumberland Business Journal readers and selected by the UCBJ staff. The awards were first founded in 2008.

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