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New Cookeville Food City To Bring 150+ Jobs

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

The President/CEO of Food City said the company’s new Cookeville supermarket will bring between 150 and 175 new jobs.

Second-generation grocer Steve Smith said the chain has been watching Putnam County’s growth for some time. The store will open next fall at the new 10th Street/Old Kentucky Road Shopping Center approved by the Cookeville Planning Commission.

“We think Cookeville is a great market,” Smith said. “It’s a growing market and we like the property that we’re working on. We think it is an area that is underserved with supermarkets and we’re excited about becoming becoming a part of the community.”

Food City operates 137 stores in Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, and Virginia. The Cookeville store at 54 thousand square foot will be one of the company’s largest stores, Smith said.

“I think the folks there will be very excited about the amenities at the store has from the service and seafood to the wide variety of food service items and our bakery deli to Starbucks that we’ll have in our store to the sit down cafe that they’ll experience,” Smith said. “And again, a lot of variety and selection, big beer, big wine department, a lot of organic offerings. We just think it’ll be perfect for a fairly progressive community like Cookeville.”

This newest model for the chain has already been built in Maryville. Food City began 65 years ago in Grundy, VA as Smith’s father returned from World War II and Korea.

“I’m a second generation grocer,” Smith said. “My dad started it after a career as a naval officer after World War Two and Korea. And, you know, I followed in his footsteps. And I love the groceries.”

Today, the company operates as an ESOP firm, meaning the employees have stock in the company’s future and growth. Smith said that serves as a differentiation point for Food City. He said he’s excited to bring the company’s community outreach and strong employee bonds to Putnam County.

“The owners of the property are able to move forward and we should be able to start our construction next year in the spring,” Smith said. “And if we are able to do that, we can deliver a store to the to the community, hopefully by the fourth quarter of 2021.”


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