Cracker Barrel one step closer to Dyersburg
Cracker Barrel, the Old Country Store, whose mission statement is "Pleasing People" will hopefully be adding the city of Dyersburg to its long list of locations. Representatives from the restaurant's corporate offices presented their site plan for a restaurant located off Highway 78 and Radio Road at the city's regional planning commission meeting on Thursday morning, July 12.
"It is such a pleasure to be here," Kathy Bengochea, an associate with LD Reeves and Associates (Cracker Barrel's development company) told the board. "The city staff has been a pleasure to work with and accommodating in this process."
The Tennessee-based company with headquarters in Lebanon has 616 restaurants in 42 states and employs approximately 67,000 people. The first Cracker Barrel was founded in 1969 by Dan W. Evins and featured a gas station.
The company first contacted the city earlier this year and conducted a preliminary evaluation in March. After visiting and evaluating sites, the company settled on a lot at the corner of Highway 78 and Radio Road. City Planner Kim Morgan reported to the board that the site plans met all guidelines and she recommended that the board approve it. Justin Avent with the city's engineering department, commented that there were a few minor changes to be made to the site plans but that he also recommend approval pending those changes.
Commissioner Sherry Guthrie moved that the city approve the site plan pending the engineering changes with Commissioner Brian Ramm seconding the motion. All members present, which included Tony Dement, Mayor John Holden, John Pressler, Bart Williams, Guthrie and Ramm, unanimously approved the motion. Chairman Eddie Burks, Vice Chairman Paul Newbill and Vince Haymon were not present at the meeting. Holden presided over the meeting in Burks' absence.
"We are excited about the opportunity for Cracker Barrel to locate a restaurant in Dyersburg," Holden told the State Gazette after the meeting. "(This is the) first development on the other side of the interstate and we hope it will spur future development in that area. We are (also) excited about new employment opportunities and revenue growth as a result of a new business coming to town."
The State Gazette spoke with Jeanne Ludington, corporate communications manager for Cracker Barrel's public relations department after Thursday's meeting. She said while the restaurant is delighted that they are wanted in the area, the site plan approval is one step in a long process and the restaurant does not provide detailed information until "the shovel is in the ground".
In other business, City Codes Official Tom Mullins brought to the attention of the board that concession stands have been popping up throughout the city and there are no official ordinances to govern their operation. Mullins says that he is not referring to agriculture vendors, but rather to vendors that are selling concession items such as flavored ice water on major streets (Highway 51 and Highway 104).
"I am not saying that we should have them, I'm not saying we should not have them but if we are going to allow them, we should have rules and regulations in place to govern them," said Mullins.