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Dixie Lee Wines and Liquors changes with times


Sam and Linda Taylor, owners of Dixie Lee Wines and Liquors, have seen many changes in the town of Farragut since opening their store on Kingston Pike and Watt Road.

Namely, the population has continued to move ever westward, the roads are much more congested with traffic and their customers’ tastes in liquor have changed as well.

“I can remember when we first bought this place,” Linda said. “The best selling wine was Mad Dog 20/20. Now our customers are much more knowledgeable and selective about their wine.”

The Taylors purchased the store along with their friends and business partners, Carl and Barb Montgomery, in 1989.


Having just retired from his career in the health care and medical supply distribution after 30 years, Sam said he was looking for “a little something to keep him busy.” Linda decided to leave her career and join her husband.

Dixie Lee Wines and Liquors originated as a market/liquor store. Linda said the wooden structure was a former service station and the location was considered “the middle of nowhere.”

“There were two sides of the store back then,” Sam said. “The liquor store was on one side and the market was on the other.”

After owning the original store a little more than a year, the partners decided to expand the business. The current 7,000-square-foot structure was built alongside the original store.

“We moved into the new building on Labor Day weekend,” Sam said. “That way we had Sunday and Monday to get settled in before opening back up.”

The Montgomerys have since moved to Florida and the Taylors purchased their share of the business five years ago.

Dixie Lee is a family business. In addition to Sam and Linda, they employ eight associates —five of them are family members.

“We have some very loyal employees who aren’t related to us as well,” Sam said. “One of our longtime employees just retired and another took a job with one of our distributors and that’s hard, but we don’t have any turnover to speak of.”

Linda said their store is very customer service oriented. She said they not only assist in the selection of wine or liquor but they offer discounts on a case of wine, for example, and will carry the purchase to the customer’s car.

The Taylors have devoted more than half of the store to their wine selection.

“We don’t carry a lot of high priced wines because our clientele doesn’t command that,” Sam said. “We do have a very nice selection of reasonably priced wine though.”

The wines are categorized by type as well as by country. They have wine selections from Germany, Australia and Chile as well as Napa Valley and New York wines, among others.

“If the wine is in the market, we probably have it here,” Sam said. “And if we don’t have it, we can special order it for our customers.”

Noting that the sale of alcoholic beverages carries a burden of responsibility, Sam said he, Linda and the other sales associates are very conscious to whom they will sell liquor.

“We have a moral obligation to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors, and anyone who has obviously been drinking,” Sam said. “We are committed to doing just that.”

The Taylors said they are proud of their store’s tidy appearance and they work hard to keep it looking that way. They have a large collection of neon and mirrored signs along the wall as well as a hand-painted mural of a vineyard above the wine area.

“We will be getting our carpet cleaned and the floors stripped and waxed now that the holidays are over,” Sam said.

Noting that November and December are the busiest months for Dixie Lee, Linda said they had lines midway through the store and three registers open for most of the day New Year’s Eve.

Sam said the Alcohol Beverage Commission has strict rules that they must adhere to: for example, their hours of operation and open liquor on the premises.

“We can have a wine tasting seminar but we can’t hold it here at the store,” Linda said.

“We have had them at Fox Den Country Club and at an area church as a fundraiser for the church.”

The Taylors have a Web site and customers who sign up will be notified of upcoming sales. They said they have enjoyed owning the store, and being involved in the Farragut community.

“The town of Farragut has been very supportive of us and our business,” Sam said.

Dixie Lee Wines and Liquors is open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday. They are closed Sundays and national holidays.

For more information about Dixie Lee Wines and Liquors visit the Web site at www.dixieleeliquors.com.

 

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