It all started back in 1965...
When Brooks Shaw & Son’s Old Country Store opened in 1965, it was an antique museum. There was no restaurant, no village, and no train. But now, over 50 years later, this mom-and-pop operation that began with a love for home cookin’ and Southern antiques has welcomed millions of guests and grown into one of Tennessee's Top Travel Attractions.
The story begins with a wonderful man named Brooks Shaw. He was a Tennessee boy from Providence (about 20 miles west of Jackson). As a boy, he worked for the Wellwood Country Store in the Wellwood community for fifty cents a day and all the hoop cheese he could eat. Time passed, and Mr. Brooks Shaw together with his three brothers served his country during and after World War II. Brooks was stationed in Germany as a staff sergeant in the United States Army. After his service, he returned to Tennessee and worked in sales and management.
Working for Kelly Foods in Jackson, he became the president of the canned meat company at the young age. However, at the age of 32, a sudden heart attack almost took his life. A wise doctor suggested he find a way to escape the demands of running a company. He needed a relaxing hobby. His friend, Paul Jobe, gave him three antiques that started a collection of Southern general store antiques and kicked-off years of antiquing across the countryside with his wife, Anne, and their two young children, Clark and Deborah Anne.
When the collection began to overflow their home, Brooks and Anne Shaw decided to start an antique museum: Brooks Shaw and Son’s Old Country Store. Located right across the street from Kelly foods on Airways Boulevard in Jackson, the original location is about two miles from Downtown Jackson (currently Old Country Auto). Norwood and Joyce Jones were the original storekeepers who ran the operation day to day.
The Store originally offered cold cuts, cheese and cracker plates, pickles and such but quickly evolved into a popular eatery for locals and travelers alike. As business grew, a former student union building from Lambuth College was added to make a full fledged restaurant.
Sadly, Mr. Shaw passed away of a heart attack in March of 1971, but Miss Anne kept the family business and was thrust into being a businesswoman and single parent in one tragic day. She often credits Norwood and Joyce Jones for much of the success of the Old Country Store due to their hard work for the 37 years they worked at the Store. Anne Shaw, today in her 80's, is currently the chairman of the board emeritus and is often referred to as the "heart of our company."
Miss Anne has always been active in her church and community and has faithfully served her church, Forest Heights United Methodist Church, in many many capacities with grace and devotion all her life. She is noted for her warm and caring spirit and always has a hug ready to greet her many adoring family and friends. You will never meet a kinder, sweeter lady. Aptly, in 2011, Reggie Smith nominated Miss Anne for "The Angel Award"--an award given on Grace Broadcasting’s “Morning Praise" radio show by veteran announcer Tom Mapes. In our opinion, no one this side of Heaven is more deserving.
In 1978, the Old Country Store created a new travel experience with a move to the current location within the Casey Jones Village, right off Interstate 40. Named for our local railroad hero Casey Jones, it combined the landmark Old Country Store and the legendary Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum. The Shaws, Anne and her children, Clark and Deborah, were pleased to add Norwood Jones and Lawrence Taylor to the Store family as partners and stockholders. As business continued to grow, in 2002 they added Marty Jacobus, Bruce Haltom, and Dr. Keith Williams to the Old Country Store ownership family.
Today the Old Country Store is under the leadership of Clark Shaw, CEO. Clark's Old Country Store story began when he was ten years old and his parents opened the Old Country Store as an antique museum. Even before that, he and his family made wonderful memories collecting antiques in the early 1960's. Clark started out moving antiques for the museum, and then, as a teen-ager, worked in the dish room as the fastest dishwasher around. From cashier to manager and everything in between, Clark grew up working at the Old Country Store and is now CEO and co-owner. Clark’s visionary leadership and passion for his work are contagious, and he has been an integral leader in the tourism industry at the local, state, and national level for over thirty years. He was the co-developer of Casey Jones Village and project coordinator for the "Train Station" addition to the historic Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum.
With a love for family, history, and antiques, Clark was able to rescue, relocate, and restore the Wellwood Country Store where his father had worked as a young boy. It had been closed for a number of years in Wellwood and would have fallen in from disrepair, but today the Wellwood Country Store proudly stands next to the Old Country Store it inspired. In 2010, Clark and Juanita brought the beautiful Neil House to the Village and restored it to its former glory. Now called Providence House, the 1837 home was originally located in Trenton, Tennessee. Also in 2010, the Shaws relocated and restored a 105 year old church from nearby Haywood County. These lovely historic structures epitomize the Shaw’s desire to preserve special items from the past. Clark's professional and civic involvement has included the Board of Directors of the National Restaurant Association where he holds the position of Board of Directors Emeritus. He served on the Board of Directors and for over twenty years was State President of the Tennessee Restaurant Association. He has also been on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable. Not only involved in professional groups, Clark has been recognized by industry colleagues. He’s been named Tennessee Restaurateur of the Year, Outstanding Man of the Year in Jackson, Tennessee, Outstanding Young Tennessean and named to the Tennessee Restaurant "Hall of Fame" by the Tennessee Restaurant Association. He was also honored to receive the "Knight of the Roundtable" award by the Tennessee Tourism Roundtable.
Despite these professional awards, Clark’s strongest ties are with his local community right here in Jackson, Tennessee. Clark has done community work with such organizations as the Ministry to Men Foundation, the March of Dimes, Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, Youth Town of Tennessee, Jackson Rotary Club, the Tourism Association of Southwest Tennessee, Boy Scouts of Tennessee, the Jackson Area Red Cross, and numerous others. In 2011, he was the “Leadership” category recipient of the prestigious Jackson Awards given by the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation--a meaningful recognition by the community he serves.
Clark's wife, Juanita, is often the face of the Old Country Store. With a true gift for cooking and a passion for all things Southern, she represents us well. Whether hosting cooking segments on local and regional TV, buying Store gifts, or decorating the Gift Shoppe, Juanita is actively involved in many aspects of the business. Married to CEO Clark Shaw since 1985, they have two wonderful children, Elizabeth and Brooks. Elizabeth, a graduate of Union University, works in the accounting department while their son, Brooks, a graduate of the University of Mississippi, is the Restaurant General Manager.
It's all in the family with the Shaws who dearly love their work and work tirelessly to keep the Old Country Store as excellent as can be.
It is our goal to preserve the many items of the past that were used or sold in an 1890's general store and operate the Store in the old time tradition of giving good measure for a fair price with the understanding that the extent of our success depends on how well we serve others and our community. We hope you enjoy your visit and that our Store is a genuinely happy part of the lives of all who enter its doors.
To serve the Lord God through our business and to apply His biblical principles in the workplace. We will offer the highest quality service, food and gifts to everyone who enters our doors. We want our service to be such that every customer feels as welcomed guests in our home. We will accomplish this by providing personal attention and giving good measure at a fair price. We are committed to preserving a special place in time surrounding the turn of the center general store and providing genuine souther hospitality. We also have a special responsibility to each team member, as a key part of our business, we will work to develop the full potential of each person. We are committed to excellence. The extent of our success depends on the service we give to our guests and our community.
The Old Country Store is a non-denominational, Christian-owned business whose owners seek to operate on Biblical principles.Everything we do as owners is for God’s Glory! We believe that food, music, the arts and our Farm, presented in an authentic setting utilizing truly historical buildings, can bring people together, create community, break down cultural barriers, and offer opportunities to reach out, minister to, and share the love of Christ with. By living out these Core Values in our everyday work life, we believe we will experience continued success as one of the South’s most unique Restaurant's, Gift Shop, Ice Cream Parlor, museum, and family Attractions for travelers and local guests alike. The following statements reflect our beliefs and are fully understood by all of our Team Members.
ATTITUDE - To preserve our great work environment, we hire only people with positive attitudes and smiling faces from a variety of backgrounds. A positive attitude is an approach to a way of life. It is conscious choice and is the driving force behind exceptional service. Everyone is responsible for fostering an atmosphere that encourages positive attitudes. We are an exciting place to work that is filled with laughter and smiles. In addition to smiling faces and positive attitudes, our team has a respect for others, as well as a love for every guest. Together, these factors create a fun and exciting work environment. Our desire is to be the very best at what we do, believing there is no room for mediocrity.
COMMUNICATION - We foster open and honest communication. Good communication breaks down the barriers to success and fosters better understanding, learning, and growth, both individually and as a company. The only bad idea is the one not communicated. We have an open door policy. We communicate with respect our polices and encourage feedback at all levels of our company.
CREATIVITY - Some of the most memorable moments of service are the creative ones when we connect with our guests in special ways. Pride should be taken in even the simplest tasks, always using our creativity and imaginations to make each guest feel truly appreciated. Investing time and energy into the lives of our guests will create memories that can last a lifetime.
QUALITY - Our food, gifts, and service will always be something we take great pride in, reflecting the best traditions of the South.
SERVICE - We are in business to serve and see this as a great honor. Our service will always be friendly and courteous. The phrases “How can we help you?”, Thank you for coming.” and “We appreciate your business.” will be a part of every Team Member’s vocabulary. One of our trademarks is our "smile ". A genuine smile and positive attitude are what we wear everyday with every guest.
HOSPITALITY - Our team will offer genuine Southern Hospitality to guests with every visit as part of our desire to create raving fans.
CLEANLINESS - We focus on cleanliness in all areas of our restaurant and Gift Shop, as well as everywhere throughout Casey Jones Village. From our personal work space to our departments and throughout our grounds, each one of us is personally responsible for maintaining a clean work environment.
INTEGRITY - We will be consistent in our dealing with the public and always use good values as we serve others. We will be honest with our Team Members and suppliers, active in our community, and always recognize the Biblical mandate, “To whomever much is given, much is required.”
OUR TEAM - Our people are the foundation of this organization. When the company puts it people first, the results are outstanding. Superior service comes from the heart. We realize that our guests will have a wonderful experience only when our family of Team Members are provided with a nurturing work environment that believes in the worth and value of every person in our company.
TEAMWORK - The value of an individual is never held higher than the value of the team. For the team to function as its greatest potential, all individuals that comprise the team must work in harmony. It is important that no individual disrupts the positive chemistry of the team. Remember, there is no letter " I " in the word TEAM.
STEWEARDSHIP - We will be fiscally responsible to our Owners, Team Members, Suppliers, and guests, and we will strive to be all that God desires for us to be as stewards of His business.
FINANCIAL - We recognize our responsibility to be good and excellent stewards of what God has clearly given to us. We will seek God's will in our planning and goal setting, and strive to spend our resources wisely, carefully, frugally, and strategically. We will operate the business profitably providing a firm fiscal foundation to maintain strong growth, which in turn will allow our owners to better provide for our team members, care for our guests, and serve our community.
FAITH - God’s grace is sufficient, and He will direct our paths if we humble ourselves before Him and totally submit to His will for our lives. Apart from Him, we can do nothing, but we can do everything through Him who gives us strength.
Jackson Sun Newspaper Readers Choice Award Winner
Jackson Best Overall Restaurant & Best Southern Cooking! www.jacksonsun.com
2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005
Best Local Attraction
Jackson Sun Readers Choice Awards - 11 Years in a Row
Our Ice Cream Parlor was chosen by USA Today newspaper as one of the Top 50 in America!
Printed in the Friday, August 27th, 2010 issue of USA Today , the publication included the Old Country Store in a listing of the top 50 ice cream parlors in the country with one representing each state and the District of Columbia.
Taste of Jackson
Presidents Award (for our booth) - 2012 Taste of Jackson
Best Booth Design - 2011 Taste of Jackson
Best of Show - 2010 Taste of Jackson event for the March of Dimes
Voted "Best Country Cooking" in West Tennessee by the readers of the Tennessee Magazine 2010;
Voted in Top 3 "Best Home/Country Cooking" by the readers of the Tennessee Magazine 2007, 2006
Top 20 Event
Old Country Christmas Eve Breakfast - Chosen by the prestigious Southeast Tourism Society for Fall 2008. STS is a highly regarded travel organization dedicated to travel to and within the Southeastern United States.
Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum has been chosen as one of Tennessee's Fifty Favorite Places to visit by the Tennessee membership as part of AARP's 50th anniversary celebration
Our Cracklin' Cornbread was chosen by John T. Edge ~ www.johntedge.com ~ Director of the Southern Foodways Alliance as one of the "Top 100 Southern Foods You Absolutely, Positively Must Try Before you Die" in an article in the award winning Southern lifestyle & hunting magazine "Garden & Gun". www.gardenandgun.com
Our hours are:
Monday - Wednesday 6:30 am - 8:00 pm
Thursday - Saturday 6:30 am - 9:00 pm Central Time.
Sundays 8 am - 8 pm Central Time.
We are a smoke free and non-alcoholic environment.