Pictured above – Sandy McDonald cuts a ribbon to celebrate 60 years in the community.

Donut shop has been local favorite for decades

Cookeville – From time to time you meet people from out of state that know nothing about Cookeville, but they know Ralph’s Donuts. Over the past 60 years, Ralph’s has become a calling card for Cookeville. People come from all over to grab a dozen and head back from which they came.

On Tuesday morning, Ralph’s celebrated that longevity. Ralph’s staff, city and county officials, media and customers crammed into the small space to cut a ribbon to the past and the future of the donut shop.

Longevity – Ralph’s has been in the Cookeville community for 60 years.

On January 1, 2020, John McDonald became Ralph’s new owner. He told the Upper Cumberland Business Journal (UCBJ) he is very proud to be a part of the shop’s long and storied history.

“It feels really good to be a part of something like this,” said McDonald to the UCBJ. “Business has been great, and we have been very blessed.”

It is the people that line the drive-thru every morning and fill the counters every day that make Ralph’s what it is.

“Thank you, we really appreciate Cookeville and all the customers,” said McDonald. “Just, thank you.”

Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter said Ralph’s is an icon to the community.

“We have people coming here from all over the state,” said Porter. “Every time they come from Cookeville, they are going to stop at Ralph’s. It’s great to see a company in business for 60 years.”

Porter said the ribbon cutting was one of the biggest he has ever seen.

“Everyone came for a donut,” he said with a smile.

Enjoying the festivities – Cookeville Mayor Laurin Wheaton, Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter and Cookeville City Manager James Mills congregate outside of Ralphs.

Cookeville Mayor Laurin Wheaton was on hand. She said she wouldn’t have missed it.

“60 years is a pretty big accomplishment,” said Wheaton. “Just to have the involvement they have in our community, and the recognition Cookeville gets for having Ralph’s in our city is absolutely amazing.”

Needless to say, the Wheaton clan is a fan.

“I know my family, we are here pretty much every Saturday morning getting donuts,” she admitted. “What they put into this community we are happy to support them. I don’t know how many times they were recognized as having some of the best donuts in the United States,” she said. “We are lucky to have them here and get donuts on Saturday morning from them.”

Ralph’s is a strong driver of the local economy.

“It’s really good for the economy,” she said. “They are Chamber members, so the Chamber is able to promote them. We want to support local businesses, and they, in turn, support us, and it just helps the city out.“

The next time someone asks where you are from say, “do you know where Ralph’s is”. They will understand.

Photos by Ron Moses.

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