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Business boom ‘intense’ in Farragut
Twenty years of business in Farragut bring changes for residents, development, more growth to Town

In 1988, the inaugural year of farragutpress, the Town was a mere eight years old. The newly fledged Farragut was not quite the business hub it is now.

“By that time, the Town was beginning to evolve from a rural, agricultural type community with some businesses,” said Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III.

Ford said a few businesses were present when the Town was incorporated in 1980. The Village Green and West End developments were already built, but “Turkey Creek was not even thought of.”

“Of course, as the Town has evolved, the great growth we are seeing today has only materialized in the last four to five years,” Ford said.

“It’s been intense, actually … I think the growth is very good,” said Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce President Bettye Sisco.

“We’re growing all the way around,” she added.

Over the years, businesses have come and gone, some following nationwide trends, others moving to different locations or simply closing, and some finding a niche and staying.

Ford gives credit to Doug Horne, owner of Republic Newspapers Inc., parent company to farragutpress, and prominent real estate developer, who “was involved in the Town infrastructure at Town Hall, the post office and Aubrey’s.” Horne was also responsible, Ford said, for bringing Kohl’s into Town.

Major national chains such as Kmart, Wal-Mart, the Dollar Store and Sally Beauty Supply have closed their Farragut stores. Wal-Mart, Sally Beauty Supply and Merle Norman moved to Turkey Creek.

Earth to Old City, next to Mellow Mushroom, closed after owners Scott and Bernadette West were convicted of money laundering in 2006. The store was downsized to the Market Square location.

Other properties within the Town seem to have changed hands frequently. The current Papalinas location was once a Kalamata Kitchen and a Gondolier’s.

The same building also housed a Food Lion and PetSmart.

Across the street, the Estelita’s building was once a Mr. Gatti’s and a Tijuana Taco.

The current location of The Shrimp Dock was once a Blue Coast Burrito.

The now vacant Edison Park building was once called Little City; Aubrey’s entrepreneur Randy Burleson owned the restaurant.

Expanding Farragut businesses include the Ingles and Kroger supercenters, with more up-and-coming retailers in Turkey Creek and the continually-evolving Myers brothers’ Renaissance development.

Farragut may have seen businesses come and go, but the Town also boasts businesses that mark and define it; restaurants such as Burleson’s original Aubrey’s, Sam and Andy’s and Ott’s.

Ott’s Barbecue reopened earlier this year after closing in 2004. The restaurant was originally opened in 1963 by Ott(o) and Thelma Melott.

“I think it’s great Ott’s is back because it’s a tradition that has resurfaced and we’re happy about that,” Sisco said.

Businesses such as Applecake Tea Room, Angela Floyd School for the Dancer, Dixie Lee Fireworks and West Knox Chiropractic have been Farragut staples for years.

Unique stores and restaurants such as Turtlehead’s Tea and Coffee “offer things and I don’t know of any other store that offers that much selection,” Sisco said.

“We are now becoming a destination,” Ford said.

Ford and Sisco hope to see more growth in the future.

“I hope to see more growth: more restaurants, more businesses for the community so the community can continue to grow,” Sisco said.

“It’s an exciting time … we’re seeing our transition from first, a rural community, and a community with some business, to now a community with major commercial opportunities,” Ford said, although he added commercial zoned properties are becoming “somewhat limited.”

He added more commercial developments are being looked at now.

“We see them coming,” he said.

More change and growth in the works for the Town begs the question: what will Farragut look like in the next 20 years?


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