Page 1

DISCOVER FACES & PLACES

INSIDE

Taste of the Town: Marlo’s brings the whole package Destination: Antiques bring visitors to town

FALL/WINTER 2013

A SUPPLEMENT TO THE LEADER

SECOND GENERATION Why Jayson Cannon and John Edwards are following in their fathers'’ footsteps

Lessons in legacy from a new principal The Rose Man retires The Name Game

the

Family Legacy issue


2 DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013


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FALL/WINTER 2013

FEATURES 8 The Whole Package Brothers Todd and Nick Scott, owners of Marlo’s Down Under, share their secrets for a sibling-run restaurant.

16 Keeping it Local Patina owner Marty Simmons sells locally-made art and jewelry in her Court Square shop

23 Past & Present Shopkeepers didn't plan for Covington to become an antiques destination, but the square is thriving

27 Lessons in Legacy The first African-American principal at Covington High School, Marlon Heaston encourages his students to consider their own legacy

33 Coming up Roses Brighton resident Whit Wells is known for his hybridization of roses

43 Family Tradition After more than a century, Naifeh's stores are still going strong under Judson Naifeh's ownership

20

MAKING ADJUSTMENTS A second-generation doctor, chiropractor Jayson Cannon celebrates a decade in practice in South Tipton County

DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013 5


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

LEGACY 27 FAMILY The Heaston family

is leaving its mark on the world. Oldest son Marcus is the first African-American principal at CHS. ON THE COVER Chiropractor Dr. Jayson Cannon is celebrating his 10th anniversary in practice in 2013. His father, Jesse, was also a doctor. Read his story on page 20. PUBLISHER Brian Blackley, General Manager bblackley@covingtonleader.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Echo Day, eday@covingtonleader.com Jeff Ireland, jireland@covingtonleader.com France Gasquet,fgasquet@covingtonleader.com Jessica Mitchell GRAPHIC DESIGN Renee Baxter, rbaxter@covingtonleader.com Echo Day, eday@covingtonleader.com ADVERTISING Andy Posey, aposey@covingtonleader.com Teri Jennings, tjennings@covingtonleader.com COMMERCIAL PRINTING Richard White, Print Assistant LEGALS, BOOKKEEPING Kathy Griffin, kgriffin@covingtonleader.com Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided. The Leader reserves the right to determine the content provided within this publication. All advertising information is the responsibility of the individual advertiser. Appearance in Discover does not necessarily reflect the endorsement of the product and service by The Leader. Discover is copyright 2013 Tipton County Newspapers LLC. Reproduction without written permission is prohibited. If you have any questions or comments about this publication please call The Leader office at 901-476-7116 or send an email to news@covingtonleader.com.

ABOUT DISCOVER FACES & PLACES

This special annual publication of The Leader is made possible by many advertisers and contributors who want you to experience and discover one of Tennessee’s finest counties. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided. The Leader reserves the right to determine the content included within this publication. All advertising information is the responsibility of the individual advertiser. Appearance in Disscover does not reflect the endorsement of the product and service by The Leader. This publication is copyright 2013 Tipton County Newspapers LLC. Reproduction without written permission is prohibited. The Leader is published 52 times a year; annual in-county subscriptions are $38. Visit us at 2001 Hwy. 51 South, Covington, TN 38019 or online at www.covingtonleader.com. THE LEADER

2001 Highway 51 South Covington, Tennessee 38019 w w w. c o v i n g t o n l e a d e r. c o m

6 DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013

The tie that binds

A

Families and their legacies link our stories together

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED THE DAY WE BEGAN putting this magazine together. I wish I could say it was planned, because it certainly wasn’t, but I realized something the great variety of stories written had in common: family ties. There’s the story of about the brothers who’ve taken over the family restaurant after their father retired and family-owned antiques stores. There’s the story of a group of orphans who showed that family doesn’t have to mean a blood relation and the story of a man who says he doesn’t try to fill his father’s shoes. A must-read is the story of Marcus Heaston, the new Covington High School principal who’s come full circle and is following in the footsteps of his grandmother, Rubye Heaston, a Tipton County educator for 54 years. Alone, each of these stories is a feature on a person or place our editorial staff deemed interesting for one reason or another, but taking a step back, it was clear to see the bigger picture and the one thing that made these stories a cohesive unit: family. It probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: this is very symbolic of real life as well. Family is usually one of the most important things to many people in Tipton County – second only to God – and we’re proud to celebrate the ties that bind us all together, even if our realization wasn’t on purpose.

ECHO DAY News editor, The Leader eday@covingtonleader.com


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southern style Shrimp and grits, above, is one of the many Southern dishes executive chef Nick Scott makes his own. 8 Discover Faces&Places 2013


PLACES ★ THE FAMILY BUSINESS

Taste Town of the

The whole package Brothers Nick and Todd Scott share the secrets of their sibling-run restaurant by ECHO DAY

★ THE BROTHERS DISH ON HOW THEY’RE FARING SINCE THE RETIREMENT OF THEIR FATHER & WHAT THEY HAVE PLANNED FOR MARLO’S DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013 9


Y

PLACES ★ MARLO’S

“YOU LIKE SHRIMP AND GRITS, don’t you?” Nick Scott asks as he plates the dish, the seasoned seafood atop a pile of the Southern side dish usually reserved for breakfast. The dish also features spicy, peppery smoked pork and tomatoes in a Creole cream sauce. He finishes it with grated cheese and parsley. “If you don’t, you haven’t had mine.” Putting his own spin on classic dishes is one of the things for which the 35-year-old executive chef is known. It’s a bold business move that has proven successful for Marlo’s Down Under. A fine dining restaurant is out of place in Covington, Tennessee, the seat of a county once dominated by its agricultural and industrial endeavors, farmers and blue collar workers. Here it is the small town, homestyle restaurants that are popular, but the Scott family – Nick's father Ron, who recently retired as general manager, and his older brother Todd – has made a name for itself and its basement level restaurant. "We brought something this town has never seen before," says Todd. "Everything is up a notch." For starters, there are nachos on the menu, but they're not your average nacho. There are actually no corn chips involved and, instead, the dish features peppercorncrusted Ahi tuna with handmade, crispy wontons served with wasabi aioli and Sriracha chili sauce. Pizzas are also very popular at the restaurant. The Black-n-Bleu, for example, has mustard-crusted beef tenderloin, red onions, tomato, bleu cheese sauce and baby greens on a handmade crust. Then there's the Applewood baconwrapped duck, the parmesan-crusted seabass, the fennel-crusted free range chicken. "My brother's a great chef," Todd says. "The difference in a chef and a cook is that a chef will go out on a limb and really do things that are out of the norm, so when they do the things that aren't out of the norm, they're of better quality." And speaking of quality, Nick only uses the best ingredients in his kitchen and he prefers the most local things he can find. "Here in West Tennessee, you have a lot 10 DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013

of local farmers that will produce a lot of fruits and vegetables. We have a farmer's market here where we get great squash and zucchini and people drop tomatoes at the back door," he says. "Our patrons insist on the highest-quality ingredients and sometimes they'll even bring it themselves." "We get that a lot and we use it," Todd adds. "Why wouldn't we? It's local, very local." Over the years they've won many awards – The Leader's "Best of the Best" and Commercial Appeal's "Memphis Most," for example – for various reasons. In this year's

readers' choice poll, Leader readers placed Marlo's in the best bar and best steaks categories. "We've been known for our steaks since we opened, but we never aimed for that direction," Todd says. The restaurant opened in December 2005 in a space that was the basement to the former Naifeh's grocery store. It is an unlikely, and perhaps even odd, place to put a dining room, but it's worked. In the early days, Marlo's – which is named for a nickname given to Nick's son, James Marley, by another family member –


was an all hands on deck family affair. "Our sister and mom worked with us then," Todd says. "(Our sister) now works for the state, but she helped us build it and she was an integral part of the kitchen for the first couple of years." Nick, who has worked for the University Club and other Memphis restaurants, was the only member of the family with restaurant experience, but the others soon learned it was more than they bargained for. "We were just looking for jobs," Todd jokes. "I pretty much did the underling stuff until (Dad) moved on and then we came to

this." With Ron handling the business matters and Nick handling the kitchen, the restaurant has been flourishing for the last eight years. Now that he's retired, the patriarch of the family has been doing what other retired folks do. "He played a major role and still does," Nick says. "He's definitely here when you need him, but he can play golf when he wants to and is able to take time for the grandkids." Since Todd has stepped into the general manager role at Marlo's, not much has Continued on page 12 â–¸

We're not in the food industry, we're in the entertainment industry," Todd says. "I always says that because you can get food anywhere, but we want you to have the whole package. That's what we've aimed at for years. DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013 11


â–¸ Continued from page 11

changed, but the brothers do have some new things up their sleeves. "We've got some ideas we want to try and we're going to add some things in, maybe a newer style than what Dad was for," says Todd. "We'd love to fill this place every night before we would really make some sort of giant move, and we're headed in that direction with the help of some close friends and confidants who are really helping us bear down in this changeover." The brothers say they believe the restaurant will continue to grow in the future because of their dedication to making it the best atmosphere possible. They want Marlo's to be more than just a place people visit for a meal. "We're not in the food industry, we're in the entertainment industry," Todd says. "I always say that because you can get food anywhere, but we want you to have the whole package. That's what we've aimed at for years." On the day of the interview, most of the restaurant’s guests have chosen to dine on 12 Discover Faces&Places 2013

the brick-enclosed patio while the early autumn evening is still warm. Some patrons choose to dine inside near the bar area, which is dimly-lit and quaint, with local art hanging on the exposed brick walls. The tiny footprints of an infant Jimmy Naifeh, the Speaker Emeritus of the Tennessee House of Representatives whose father owned the grocery store above, are set in concrete, a nod to the building's history. Guests love the atmosphere. "We have a tendency to have clientele that will sit and stay for hours and hours and hours," Nick says. "When you have something like that, you know they're here for the whole experience. The food and the drinks have been removed from the table and they're still hanging out because they just love being here. It's a very comfortable atmosphere. Family-owned and -operated businesses can often be tricky, but it's working for the Scotts. "We've always worked together as a family. It's a 50-50 business when you work with

your family: it's either good or bad. This has been good." ★


PLACES ★ THE LANDMARK

Glory Days Residents remember the Baxter Motel in its heyday

B by JEFF IRELAND

Back in 2008, working from a tip, agents with the 25th Judicial District Drug Task Force uncovered a methamphetamine lab in the Baxter Motel in Covington. That same year, a woman was arrested at the Baxter on a warrant for writing bad checks. A couple of years before that, a guest there tried to burn the building down by

setting a fire on the balcony. He was almost successful, but the Covington Fire Department showed up to prevent too much damage. Over the past decade or so, similar things have unfolded at the motel on Highway 51, leaving Tipton County’s newcomers confused as to why natives are so fond of the place. It wasn’t always like that at the motel, which recently changed its name to Budget Inn and is in the process of changing ownership. “Back in the 1940s, I had some relatives who used to come from Georgia and they would stay there,” says Frank McBride, 83, a longtime resident of Covington. “They always said it was very nice.” David Gwinn, one of Tipton County’s historians, knows all about the place, though he’s not sure exactly what year it was built.

McBride says he remembers it being built around 1939. The name has changed from the Baxter Tourist Court – “That’s what they called motels back then,” Gwinn says – to the Baxter Motel in 1945 and it had 11 rooms at the time. In 1950, 19 rooms were added. Shortly thereafter, the Baxter building was constructed on Liberty Avenue, adjacent to the motel, with a residence upstairs and office space for rent on the ground floor. The L-shaped additions and the Baxter building were and designed by Anker Hansen, a famed Memphis architect who also designed schools in Tipton County decades later. It was a landmark during the height of highway travel, prior to the days of interstates when traffic was re-routed along I-40 Continued on page 14 ▸

DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013 13


PLACES ★ THE LANDMARK ▸ Continued from page 13

instead of Highway 51. “The Baxter was top-notch for its day,” Gwinn says. “It had good ratings with the public and travel agencies.” Richard Aubrey Baxter Sr. and Richard Aubrey Baxter Jr. owned the motel, the adjacent building and most of the buildings on the block, Gwinn says. Baxter Jr., was the mayor of Covington for much of the 1980s and died in 1998. The Best Western was built in Covington in 1979, which was the beginning of the end for the glory days of the old Baxter. “The motel/hotel business was driven away from the Baxter,” says Gwinn, “and it began to see a decline during this decade.” Jay Patel, who also owns other hotels in Covington, is the current owner of the former Baxter Motel. The motel’s run as a destination for travelers is now long gone.

Longtime residents like McBride still remember what it once was, though. “It does bother me,” McBride said. “It was right on the highway, a nice place and

very convenient for everybody. I remember when it was built … It was the best place in town.” ★

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FACES ★ THE TOWN ADMINISTRATOR

In the Thick of Things B R I A N K O R A L : T O W N A D M I N I S T R AT O R , AT O K A

I

S T O R Y B Y J E F F I R E L A N D / / P H O T O S B Y E C H O D AY

In the last two decades, Atoka has experienced unprecedented growth. The population boom is leveling off in Atoka, but there’s still a lot going on, and town administrator Brian Koral is in the middle of it all. “I love the ability to see results of the work I am doing and how it impacts people where I live and work,” Koral said. “So much of government seems distant and detached from people, but on the local level, you really can make and see a difference. Every day is different and every day has its own set of challenges and opportunities, but that keeps it incredibly exciting.” Two of Koral's points of emphasis since he came on board in 2011 have been improving the town’s infrastructure and parks and getting the people in place to make that happen. “My greatest source of pride is the incredible staff team that comes to work every day to serve Atoka,” Koral said. “Our town is so fortunate to have such great people in their service and we continue to develop and build a strong set of staff members to meet the needs

of our citizens.” After the population increased so dramatically so quickly, infrastructure improvement was something that needed to be done. More than $1 million has been spent improving the roads in Atoka, including upcoming safety enhancements to Meade Lake Road. Upgrades to the water and sewer systems are ongoing. The brand new Walker Park splash pad and beach volleyball courts, improvements to Nancy Lane Park and the Atoka Greenway Trail are all projects that have come to fruition under Koral’s watch. “The final major source of pride I have is in the type of municipal government our elected leaders have focused on building,” Koral said. “We are constantly looking for ways that we can better serve our citizens while being open, accessible

DAY-TO-DAY Each of Brian Koral’s days is different, from overseeing projects out in the field to meeting wtih Mayor Daryl Walker.

Continued on page 26 ▸ DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013 15


PLACES ★ THE UNIQUE BOUTIQUE

Keeping it Local by FRANCE GASQUET

16 DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013

MARTY SIMMONS STANDS behind the counter, her dark honey golden curls frame her clear blue eyes and peaches and cream complexion. When she speaks, one takes note that this is a Southern woman, with the twists and turns of an accent that could only come from Tipton County. Raised on a farm, daughter of a sod farmer father and an artist mother, Simmons’ upbringing has translated into the shop that is Patina: country, cool, laid back and yet the epitome of easy-chic. Opened in June 2007, as a way to express her love for Tipton County and celebrate the arts, Simmons’ Patina is the perfect spot for gifts, whether for wedding, birthday, holiday or house-warming through it’s eclectic selection of artwork, pottery, jewelry, and gifts. “I try to stay around here, mainly

in Tipton County,” said Simmons. “I’m more interested in local art than something that is made in China,” she said. “The talent is so extraordinary that it’s important to promote it.” However, she notes her jewelry is regional, although still close by, in Brownsville or Haywood County because there are not many local jewelers, and she wants to stay true to showcasing artists instead of bulk items. Simmons grew up in Tipton County, graduating from Covington High School and Ole Miss. Her mother, Eleanor "Chubby" Whitesides, owned a frame shop for more than 30 years. “Because my mother is an artist, I’ve been around art forever. It’s a part of my life, of who I am,” said Simmons. The store expanded last year to include the custom framing shop when her mother decided to retire. “Having this business has been much more complicated than I thought. It takes a great deal of time and energy, but I love it and I get so much happiness in return,” said Simmons. Patina is located at 109 West Pleasant Avenue, Covington. ★


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FACES ★ THE COMMUNITY CORRESPONDENT

Telling Tales A look into the not-soprivate life of Marshall and Tula Starr

M by FRANCE GASQUET

MARSHALL STARR GRACIOUSLY offers coffee as his wife, Tula, joins us. Standing in the kitchen of their Elm Grove home, they are gazing out at the back yard’s pastoral setting while discussing the eventual outcome of what must be more than 10 dozen apples, picked from the three trees out back. “You need apples, don’t you?” Mar-

shall asks. “I’ll give you enough to make a pie, but you must promise to bring me a slice.” His eyes twinkle in the corners as he smiles, negotiating a win on his behalf. Tula has been a correspondent for The Leader for the last eight years. Although she can’t quite place how she came to have a weekly correspondence column, she said she always wanted to be a writer. At one point, she took creative writing classes and entered writing contests here and there. She believes, maybe, she wrote about a church event or a barbeque and she was contacted to write the column. Her columns often include anecdotes and tales from her everyday life with Marshall. A recent column shared a hilarious mishap involving an RV.

“Our son left for the Keys in Florida on Saturday. He left his motor home here in our yard. If anyone needs a motor home, we have one that we will sell cheap… Speaking of the motor home, we went out to clean it up on Monday. Well, I was back in the bedroom, making up the bed. When I got ready to go back in our house, my husband had locked me in…He was in

the house, with all the doors closed, watching television. I finally climbed over in the drivers seat and hit the unlock button, got out and locked the door back. I went in the house, mad as a wet hen. He thought I was already in the house in our bedroom. …Last week he was cutting grass and ran under the limb of the apple tree and it jerked his hearing aid out of his ear. He went back looking for it, he found the loop that hangs on his ear, but never did find the hearing part. So, he has been on my good side this week. He has to get a new hearing aid. I think one costs $1,800. He hates to pay out that much money, but I think it will be cheaper for him to get a new hearing aid than for me to get a divorce.”

She and Marshall have been married for 61 years, and they have the type of marriage where they complete each other’s sentences. They’ve raised three children, and are enjoying, as Tula says, “getting mature, not old.” “We met roller skating,” says Marshall. “She fell for me and I picked her up.” They laugh as they remember. “We grew up in Georgia, and both Continued on page 26 ▸

DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013 19


FACES ★ THE SECOND-GENERATION DOCTOR

Making Adjustments D R . J AY S O N C A N N O N : C A N N O N C H I R O P R A C T I C S T O R Y B Y J E F F I R E L A N D / / P H O T O S B Y E C H O D AY

I

T WASN’T A PARENTAL DIRECTIVE, NOR WAS IT exactly expected, but it kind of made sense that Jayson Cannon would enter the healthcare profession. He has a brother with a degree in biology, a sister with a degree in psychology, and, as most Tipton Countians know, his father, Jesse Cannon, was a doctor of internal medicine for 30 years before retiring in 2011. “I grew up around healthcare,” said Cannon, 36, the owner of Cannon Chiropractic in Munford. “My dad definitely didn’t push it, but he was encouraging,” said Cannon, “he always said, ‘Do you want to do.’” Jayson graduated from Covington High School in 1995. He went to the University of Memphis from there, and wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do for a living. “I knew it was going to be something in the medical field,” Cannon said. “I thought about dermatology for a while. I knew I didn’t want to be a GP (general practitioner) ... To this day, I bring my patients home with me. I just didn’t think I wanted to deal with life and death situations.” A couple of years later he began considering the chiropractic field. “I asked my dad about it at the time,” Cannon said. “He was in favor it. Chiropractic is a holistic approach … Dad always said society was overmedicated.” So Cannon attended Parker Chiropractic College (now Parker University) in Dallas and earned his degree. Ten years ago, opened his first office in Atoka before moving to his Munford office on Tabb Drive. “The south end (of Tipton County) was really growing at that time, so it was a perfect fit,” Cannon said. “I wanted to be one of those guys who went away for a while and show that you can come Continued on page 22 ▸

THE DRS. CANNON Father and son Jesse and Jayson Cannon both entered the medical profession. Jesse is now retired, but Jayson’s chiropractic practice is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

20 DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013


Did you know? Jayson Cannon is an avid Grizzlies fan and hits the gym in his spare time.

Discover Faces&Places 2013 21


22 Discover Faces&Places 2013 ▸ Continued from page 20

back home.” Cannon Chiropractic does a lot more than massage a stiff back. His staff treats neck pain, numbness, sciatica and sports injuries. He also puts a focus on leading a healthy lifestyle through proper exercise, diet and nutrition. “We are interested in your long-term health and wellness,” said Cannon, “not just a quick fix to mask back pain or neck pain.” Family has always been very important to Jayson. In 2004, Jayson and his father had the opportunity to share office space in Atoka. The two were close then and still are. Although Jesse Cannon has been retired for a couple of years, Jayson still seeks his advice. “He still talks about bedside manner,” Jayson said. “He always says to treat a patient like you would want your mother treated.” Jayson’s bedside manner is a little unique in the medical field. Patients in his office aren’t greeted by a button-down, soft-spoken doctor looking to get a patient in and out of the office. “What’s up man?” Jayson said to a man

He always says to treat a patient like you would want your mother treated. who came in for an adjustment on a recent Thursday morning. “What you been up to?” The man didn’t seem surprised by the casual greeting from his chiropractor. His rapport with patients is probably a big rea-

son why he’s been voted the county’s best chiropractor in The Leader’s Best of Best poll four straight years. “That’s just how I am,” Cannon said with a laugh. “I don’t even think about it.” ★


PLACES ★ ANTIQUE ROW

Destination:

ANTIQUES ★ THE OWNERS OF COVINGTON'S ANTIQUE STORES SHARE ON THEIR LOVE OF ITEMS FROM THE PAST AND HOW THEIR BUSINESSES BEGAN. DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013 23


PLACES ★ ANTIQUE ROW

Past & Present

O by FRANCE GASQUET

One of the quintessential ideas of relaxing for Southerners is browsing antique shop after antique shop, the floorboards creaking beneath careful steps, while searching for a one-of-akind piece from days gone by. Shopkeepers didn't intend for it to happen, but Covington is becoming a destination for antiquing and the town is embracing it. After all, what better place to shop for antiques than a strip of old 24 DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013

stores nestled in the shadows of a nineteenth century courthouse? The Historic Court Square, located just off of Hwy. 51, is home to several antique shops whose owners have made a career from dealing with the past. GRAIN ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIBLES Hunter Elam 901-313-9271 www.facebook.com/grainantiques Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. “The antiques stores work so well together on the square. And it’s beautiful up here,” said Hunter Elam of Grain Antiques. Grain has been open for four years and recently moved to its new location on the square, increasing the size of the store and making an opening for Belle’s Boutique, vendor Lizzie Jackson’s eclectic selection of

women’s clothing and jewelry. Elam, who returned to Tipton County after living in New York City, recognizes how special this small town is. “My job in publishing changed so that I could work anywhere I wanted and I chose to move back home. My niece and nephew were growing up and I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be here,” said Elam. Elam sells antique, retro and vintage goods in his store, but he first started as a dealer at Past Times and still has a booth there. “My mom and aunt (Past Time’s co-owner Mary Gail Elam and former owner Jean Face) encouraged me when I started showing interest in antiques,” said Elam. “I tried antiquing first as a vendor and two or three months later, I was offered a spot in Past Times. It didn’t take too long to start building inventory and my sales increased. At that point, I rented a place down the hill for storage and then I opened the doors as an actual store. That eventually grew to the location I now have on the square.” Mary Gail was a vendor in her sister’s store when it first opened— which was on North Main, down across from “Donut Man,” about eight or nine years ago. The store sub-


sequently moved to the old Roper’s location while Hunter was living in New York. “My mom and dad, aunt and uncle worked to get the building ready and helped move the old store to its current location,” said Elam. Elam explained his love of the business, “I always dabbled in antiques and would show to my mom. My mother has always been a collector. “My aunt, however, didn’t start collecting until her mid-50s,” he said. “When she was younger, she had all modern furniture, and then her interest grew into a hobby. She and her husband started an antiques store in Michigan, where they lived, and when they moved back to Covington, they, along with my parents, opened Past Times here.” Opening Grain has a move that's been beneficial to Elam. “I’m lucky because I’m in publishing and am able to work for my New York office, but in Covington, Tenn.,” said Hunter. PAST TIMES ANTIQUES Mary Gail Elam, partner with Donna Ralph 201 South Main Street

(901) 475-4815 Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. www.facebook.com/pasttimesantiques “As a young girl, I liked older pieces of furniture,” said Mary Gail Elam, co-owner of Past Times Antiques. “My mother would trade old pieces for new and I’m not sure why, but that would disturb me. As I became an adult, antiques are what I would buy for myself.” She pauses and thinks, “As the years clicked off, I continued collecting." And then my sister moved back from Michigan and we began buying and selling antiques. My love affair with antiques began in my teenage years. My husband’s family had a lot of antiques and his mother gave me while she was still alive, we were fortunate to choose what we wanted.” Mary Gail, with business partner Donna Ralph, has recently purchased Past Times from her sister Jean Face. Jean and her husband, Bill, have made the decision to relocate to Michigan to be near their children and grandchildren. Mary Gail reflects on her son Hunter’s

relationship with the antiques business and her influence, “When Hunter went to college in New York, I let him take his antique bedroom suite, with the understanding he would bring it back to me if he tired of it. He still has it.” HATCHIE RIVER STORE EMPORIUM & HABERDASHERY Gene Sneed, partner with Don Leopard 107 Court Square West (901) 921-0450 Tuesday-Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Other times by appointment. www.facebook.com/pages/Hatchie-RiverEmporium-and-Haberdashery “I’ve always liked antiques, but clothing has fascinated me. I was in the specialty retail business for more than 25 years before I decided to move here and open a store,” Gene Sneed, partner of Hatchie River Store Emporium and Haberdashery, said. Sneed grew up in Mississippi, graduated from Southern Mississippi and promptly went through the Goldsmith’s management program. He began a manager in menswear, then became a buyer, and eventually Continued on page 45 ▸


▸ Continued from page 15

and fair to every member of our community. Our goal, no matter who you are and how long you’ve been here, is to exceed your expectations every time you interact with your local government. It involves harnessing technology to improve the customer experience, training and empowering our staff to do outstanding work and creating a culture on our team that never forgets our purpose: serving our community.” Koral and his family – he and wife Lara are parents to Kaelyn and Josiah – moved to Atoka three years ago from Missouri. He had other options, but Atoka stood out. “A big part of why we chose to move to Atoka was the quality of life the community could offer for our family,” Koral said. “My wife and I have two children – a three-year old daughter and a one-year-old son – and our family enjoys the small town feel of Atoka with the proximity and conveniences offered by being a part of the Memphis metro region. I know every place says it’s got the best of both worlds and it sounds clichéd to say, but I truly believe that, for our family, Atoka is a perfect fit.” Koral, who recently had his contract extended through 2017, has no plans of going anywhere soon and plenty of goals for Atoka during the upcoming months and years. “We spend a great deal of time working on day-to-day issues, and those are important and rewarding for sure,” Koral said. “But the really exciting discussions around here are about the next five to 10 years and where we are headed.” ★

▸ Continued from page 19

moved to Atlanta to find a job in the big city,” says Tula. Marshall and Tula moved to Tipton County when Marshall took a job in Memphis. The family relocated from Atlanta to Randolph, as they longed for a peaceful, country life, and they lived in an A-frame home on the banks on the Mississippi. Later, they sold the house and numerous acres to the state for a park, and, at that point, moved to Elm Grove. A tour of the Elm Grove house quickly reveals that Tula is a collector: seashells, ruby red dishes, buttons, Reader’s Digest book collections (she has every issue) and even the quilts that grace the beds are matched with quilts as I think it will be curtains. cheaper for him to “Did you see my garage full of collectibles?” she laughs as she get a new hearing asks, while pointing out the Swiss aid, than for me to embroidered hand towels that are get a divorce. displayed throughout the house on wooden curtain rods near the crown molding. She focuses on one particular towel, hand sewn by her mother-in-law for Tula’s marriage to Marshall. Marshall, too, has a collection, however, his is of a different nature. He proudly shows off his menagerie of plants, set in the Jacuzzi tub of the master bathroom. The bathroom has a pitched roof with a skylight and several of the plants have now taken over, the vines literally attaching themselves to the walls. It is a surprising sight and quite beautiful. As they talk, Tula and Marshall smile at each other, with an appreciation that is as endearing as it is rare in today’s fastpaced world. They recognize that they have found the lottery in each other, even if Marshall has yet to get another hearing aid. ★ 26 Discover Faces&Places 2013

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FACES ★ THE NEW PRINCIPAL

Lessons in legacy Covington principal Marcus Heaston challenges students to consider what they’ll leave behind

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by FRANCE GASQUET

“WHAT IS GOING TO BE YOUR legacy?” Marcus Heaston asks, sitting behind his desk with his hands folded. Heaston, the new principal at Covington High School, tells a story about his family that has affected his life. “My parents were teenagers when my mother became pregnant with me. She was faced with the difficult decision of becoming a young mother,” he said. Heaston sits back in his chair, his hands together, as in prayer, under his chin. “They made the decision to embrace their responsibility, and there were times my father worked two jobs to make ends meet,” says Heaston. Things have come full circle for Heaston, who was recently named principal of Covington High School, and it’s because of the lessons his parents taught him through example. “They showed my siblings and me how to use where you are from to get to where you want to go.” And what a lesson it’s been. Marcus and younger siblings Mia and Marlon have become successful adults, a testament to the way they were raised, even by young parents. In 2007, Mia became the first African-American to win the Miss Illinois USA pageant, then represented Illinois in the Miss USA pageant the same year. Prior to that, she

won Miss Tipton County in 2001 and competed in the Miss Tennessee 2001 pageant. Mia earned her MBA, is in medical sales for Alcon Laboratories and recently founded The Benoit Agency for talent and personal development. Marlon, 27, was appointed an assistant principal for the Clarksville Montgomery County school system in Clarksville this past June. He graduated from Southern Illinois University, playing defensive back for the Salukis. While at Covington High School, he was a Conference Player of the Year as well as an all-region and all-metro player who played quarterback, wide receiver, running back, linebacker and defensive back. Marlon was a National Honor Society member and four-

year class president. “All three of us have been groundbreakers in our fields, including me, the first African-American to be the principal at this school,” says Marcus. Heaston began his professional career in the Tipton County School system with teaching at Munford Middle School, served as an assistant principal at Crestview Elementary, Munford High School and Covington High School and has also served the school system as a court liaison and with pupil services. He earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Tennessee at Martin, his Masters of Education in school administration and leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University and is currently pursuing his education specialist degree from the University of Memphis at Lambuth. Before he became principal, Heaston founded Project Excell and the Legacy Awards at Covington High School. Project Excell offers educational support service to at-risk students in Tipton County. Excell participants are offered academic enrichment/tutoring, mentoring, character education, assistance to behaviorally-challenged students, cultural enrichment programs, parenting skills education, adult education assistance, job readiness training and budgeting and finance programs. Continued on page 29 ▸ DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013 27


FACES ★ THE COUNTRY-SINGING COP

by ECHO DAY

A Deputy's Debut R A N D Y L E E : L I V I N ' M Y L I F E , FA C E L E S S M E D I A G R O U P

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R E L E A S E D AT E : N O V E M B E R 5

BY DAY, RANDY LEE TOTES A GUN AND A BADGE, patrols Tipton County and puts bad guys behind bars, but by night it's all about making music. But then, it's always been about music. "It's always just been a thing in my family," Lee, 31, said. Lee's parents grew up performing in musical families and the tradition continued when he and his sister were born. He used to sing three-part harmony with his mother and sister and grew up singing in churches and anywhere else they could. "Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night we were playing somewhere," he said. "We did that until I was 19 or 20." And then life took a different turn for the young musician. In 2003, he became a husband. The next year, he joined the law enforcement community and became a Tipton County deputy in January 2008. Music took the back burner to family and career, he said. "We got married and had children and it just kind of faded." On Nov. 5, though, the father of two will release his debut album, "Livin' My Life," which took four years to complete from start to finish. Raised singing Southern Gospel, Lee's artistry has evolved to country music. He enjoys the genre's storytelling capabilities. "It's all personal experience, real life, it oozes with passion," he said. "It's always resonated with me." The first song he wrote does just that. "The Chase," which tells the story of a pursuit from a police officer's point-of-view, was inspired by his chasing a suspect through the county a few years ago. "This song just happened, it just came out after that pursuit," he said. "And no one's written a song from the cop's perspective, they're always running from the law." He enjoyed writing every song on the record, immortalizing events like the birth of his children and the death of his grandmother. Lee plays many of the instruments on the record and even has a duet with his wife. His party anthem "Friday Nights" is currently receiving air play on U.S. 51 Country 93.5 FM. "I'm really excited about this," Lee said in his deep voice, smiling at his thoughts. "It's been a long time coming." The full-length EP was produced by Faceless Media Group's John Kellum and will be available on iTunes and Amazon.com. ★

BLUE BLOODS In past years, Lee teamed up with his wife and brothers in blue to perform at Tipton County's Law Enforcement Memorial honoring fallen officers. 28 DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013


FACES ★ THE NEW PRINCIPAL ▸ Continued from page 27

The Legacy Awards began in 2009 to celebrate Tipton County African-American students who, when faced with hardships, have excelled in academics, community service and athletics. The students are recognized for attitude, behaviors and intellectual capacity and are considered all-stars because they have been their own champions in times of adversity. The awards also recognize Tipton Countians who have made a difference to students by being positive role models. He then takes note of what makes him most proud professionally. “I’m most proud of my students and the gains we’ve shown. the growth we’ve had. We’ve significantly increased how many students are now college-bound. We are building productive citizens for this community.” While his resumé is impressive, family is the most important thing to Heaston. His parents taught him to be humble and community-minded, a legacy he hopes to pass on to his six-year-old son. “I’m the first African-American prin-

cipal of this school, but it’s not about that for me or for them,” he said. “It’s not about being the first African-American principal, it’s about being an effective principal, and I hope that’s what I am.” ★

ALL SMILES Marcus and siblings Marlon and Mia pose for with their mother, Maxine, for a family snapshot taken in North Carolina.

Growth. Community. Pride.

Covington “The Heart of Tipton County”

David Gordon, Mayor John Emery Edwards, Vice Mayor Tommy Black, Alderman Jere Hadley, Alderman Minnie Bommer, Alderwoman Bill Scruggs, Alderman Ed Timberlake, Alderman


PLACES ★ THE ORPHANAGE

THE OPERETTA The above photo, taken in the 1960s, shows some of the Dunlap children after a school operetta. It was printed in one of the many Dunlap Yearbrooks published by the orphanage. 30 DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013


A Forever Family Former orphanage now offers housing for independent seniors

T by ECHO DAY

THE NOW-TATTERED YEARBOOKS SHOW PHOTOS of smiling, costumed children during orphanage-sponsored events and a bustling facility that many called home their entire childhood. Kathy Keiter turns the worn pages carefully and she is visably excited when she spots her best friend and other classmates. "Gosh, look at them!" she exclaims, smiling and pointing out everyone she knew, sharing fond memories of many of the faces looking back at her. Keiter, now the director of the facility, was never an orphan, but attended Brighton schools with many children who were. She and other people in the community say the Dunlap children often had a better sense of family than children who weren't orphans. "Sometimes there were entire families there," said David Gwinn, another classmate. Dunlap Orphanage was started in an old two-story farmhouse in 1905 with just a few children, but its campus eventually grew to encompass six buildings on approximately 300 acres. "They were pretty self-sufficient," Keiter says of the orphanage, named for land donor William H. Dunlap. "The boys worked out on the farm and the girls cleaned." The orphanage had its own farm and garden, growing and raising most of what was needed to feed the children, staff and Continued on page 32 â–¸

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PLACES ★ THE ORPHANAGE ▸ Continued from page 31

caretakers. Those days have long since passed, though, and the orphanage closed its doors in 1979. "I don't know the exact reason for that," Keiter says, "but perhaps it was because of a rise in using foster care instead." Three years later, prompted by a need to house their aging parents, three families from the Almyra community approached the Mississippi Valley Presbytery, the organization that controls the facility, and asked that it be reopened with a new purpose. Since 1982, the former orphanage has been operating at the Dunlap Retirement Center, a home for adults aged 55 and older who can live independently. The youngest resident is 59, the oldest is 94. "It's not a nursing home, it's not an assisted living facility," Keiter says. "We're a non-medical facility." Residents must be able to dress themselves unassisted, exit buildings on their own if there's a fire, get to the dining room themselves and be able to manage their own personal hygiene. The center does, however, provide three meals each day, clean residents' rooms, launder clothing and linens and assist with administering medication. Keiter became the director nearly seven years ago, interviewing for the position shortly after the death of her beloved mother. "I lost my mother and God knew I needed this place," she says. "I love it so much I would do this job voluntarily if I could afford it." Keiter writes a community correspondence column for The Leader where she details the center's goings-on. There's a prayer service, plenty of games of bingo, beauty shop day (which, she says, is a big hit each week), crafts and more. Residents of one hall spend Sunday afternoons crafting decorations for their common area for all occasions. 32 DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013

A non-profit, Dunlap relies solely on donations for its operations, including building maintenance. Each year she helps organize Springfest, a fall festival, yard sale, fish fries and other events to secure funds. Recently she wrote about raising money for golf cart batteries. Their maintenance man uses the golf cart to get around the center's extensive campus. "Just one battery for the golf cart is $150, and we need six of them," she says.

"Sometimes we don't have the money for things we need, but the Lord always provides." Despite the uncertainties that come with directing a not-for-profit retirement community, Keiter says the worst thing is seeing residents move on because they're like family to her. "It's a very difficult thing when they get to the point where they need a higher level of care. I just can't bear to see them go." ★


Call today for your free inspection

901-837-6107


34 Discover Faces&Places 2013

the nursery In January, Wells sold his nursery and retired from the business.


FACES ★ THE ROSE MAN

Coming Up Roses WHIT WELLS : RETIRED ROSE HYBRIDIZER BY FRANCE GASQUET

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VERLIE “WHIT” WELLS, 82, IS AN ARTIST, plain and simple. He sees the beauty from the everyday mundane-- corn, for instance. His quiet, unassuming presence lights up when he starts talking, his long white hair and overflowing beard tend to make you think of a meld between the late Colonel Sanders of KFC fame, Uncle Si on “Duck Dynasty” and Santa Claus. “A few years back, I planted corn. All of those different colored ears. I shucked and shucked until I found the colors I wanted and then I made a wreath from them. Someone asked me how long the wreath had taken to put together, and I told her about seven or eight months.” Although the wreath of corn is a sweet story, his love affair with roses is the fairy tale. Wells began learning about roses from gardening with his grandmother when he was a child in the 1930s, he said. He then started growing roses on his own in his mid-20s. It began as a hobby with a few bushes, and continued to grow each year as he taught himself how to hybridize them, mainly through trial and error. “My grandmother had a rose garden and I used to go up there and help her,” he said. He remembers the time fondly, memories that make his eyes light up and smile a big smile.

“She had two big old barrels and in them were cow manure and horse manure, which were used to fertilize the roses,” his face involuntarily relays the lingering sense of smell. Today, Wells hybridizes his roses, meaning he crossbreeds one species of roses with another. Many of his roses are registered and patented; each of the hundreds of different roses in his greenhouse is of his own creation. He's wearing his traditional overalls, walks around his grounds a little and then stops to take in the sunshine. He modestly hands over a one and a half inch binder, which showcases the hybrids he has created here in his nursery. “Take your time to look through, because you’re going to have questions,” he said kindly. There are so many beautiful varieties, named

for people in his life, people who have influenced him, even one for Brighton High School, his alma mater. His nursery, which was sold in January, has long been heralded as one of the top in the nation, with what he says is more than 130 varieties of roses currently on the market. Varieties include a miniature rose named Elvis, which has red petals with a white base and is classified as a red blend, and a rose named Danny Thomas, of which all royalties received are donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. He hasn’t always been known for roses, though. Wells’ started his professional career as that of owner and operator of the Wells Processing Plant in Brighton, in addition to having interest in several family grocery supermarkets. At one time, his plant processed 3,000 head of beef a year and 600 head of hogs. He was also so well-known for barbeque that in June 1976, the Sunday special section of the Memphis’Commercial Appeal was devoted to Well’s acumen. Wells points to a photo in the binder. It is of a miniature rose named after his granddaughter and it becomes strikingly apparent that the roses signify relationships: that with his grandmother, the town where he grew up, his children and grandchildren. Nurturing, tending to and growing, Whit Wells has transformed a love of roses into a lifetime of contentment. ★

DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013 35


Local.

When you want local Tipton County news, you turn to The Leader, the only newspaper delivering 100 percent Tipton County news every week of the year.

The Leader Call 901-476-7116 today to start or renew your subscription, or go to www.covingtonleader.com.


FACES ★ THE SECOND-GENERATION VICE MAYOR

Doing the Right Thing J O H N E . E D WA R D S : V I C E M AY O R , C O V I N G T O N

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S T O R Y A N D P H O T O S B Y E C H O D AY

FOUR GENERATIONS John's grandson Antonyus, 10, is the fourth generation of Edwardses to grow up on Ripley Avenue in Covington.

JOHN EDWARDS RELAXES IN HIS SEAT, FOLDING his hands in his lap while he thinks. “Quincy Barlow, Minnie Bommer, Mayor David Gordon,” he says with a smile, now curling his thumb and forefinger around his chin while listing other people who’ve influenced him. “Jimmy Naifeh, Jeff Huffman, of course my parents …” It’s a Tuesday afternoon and Edwards, who represents Covington’s District 1 as alderman and the city as vice mayor, has just attended back-to-back committee meetings. An action he proposed – the replacement of half-century old sewer lines at Frieze Hill while construction has them unearthed – was voted down, but he is still in good spirits. “I just want to do the right thing,” he says. That’s the only way he’s ever been taught. Edwards, 50, is a lifelong resident of Covington. He’s lived on the same block, west of Highway 51 on Ripley Avenue, his entire life. He graduated from Covington High School in 1981 and has attended the University of Memphis and Dyersburg State Community College and has a diploma from the now former Tennessee Technology Center in Covington. He is a C & C programmer at Delfield, a company that manufactures commercial food service equipment. While his work at Delfield certainly doesn’t go unnoticed, it is for his community involvement and his family’s legacy that Edwards is known. He has been on the Board of Mayor and Alderman for eight years, taking over after his father, John Mack Edwards, passed away in 2005. “He asked me to take his term over if he wasn’t able to complete it,” the younger Edwards says. “I didn’t take it as seriously when he asked me, but he told me all about the issues that would concern me. I didn’t understand it then, but I was being taught at Continued on page 39 ▸

DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013 37


FACES ★ THE SALESMAN

Right on ‘Trek

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In 2007, Craig Simonton, who at the time was trying to figure where his career was headed, became aware of the upstart company Hydratrek. He was even asked to get involved. Hydratrek, which manufactures, sells and leases amphibious vehicles, was a company in flux at the time and Simonton was a graduate football assistant at Cumberland University. He went on to get his master's degree in business administration and came back to Covington. “I put (the thought of working for Hydratrek) on the back burner for a while,” said Simonton. “I didn't really think about it.” That's when he ran into Alan Rose. He's the owner of Rose Construction and Rose Machine and Tool Fabrication and also has a big stake in Hydratrek. “He told me was reinvigorating the business,” said Simonton, “and they were ready to hire some people. He wanted someone to get out and champion the product.” Simonton took a job with Hydra-

38 DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013

trek as a sales and marketing representative and, four years later, Simonton and the company are going strong. There are more than 100 Hydratrek vehicles in operation across eight countries and four continents. Fire and police departments use it for search and rescue missions and dozens of other clients who live in swampy areas or simply need a vehicle and can operate in water and on land have purchased them. Simonton spends 25 to 30 weeks a year on the road making sales calls. “This job has taken me to about 30 states,” Simonton said. “I've been to Canada, China twice and Australia.” He even met the stars of the popular television show “Duck Dynasty.” "That was something else," Simonton said. "I get asked about that a lot ... It was very interesting." Simonton attends trade shows, delivers the vehicles and does training and shows how the vehicle operates to people interested in buying one.

“Some people can't justify spending $70,000 to $100,000 on a vehicle without putting their eyes on it,” Simonton said. “They like to see it.” Simonton, 29, is pretty wellknown in Covington for his football playing days. He was a junior linebacker and tight end on the 2000 Charger team that made it to the state title game and a senior in 2001 when Covington advanced to the state semifinals. Simonton played football at Tennessee Tech and graduated from there in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in marketing, which comes in handy on his new job. While he was a graduate assistant coach at Tennessee Tech, he considered coaching as a career. But eventually the uniqueness of the Hydratrek, coupled with Simonton's love for the outdoors, made it pretty clear which path to take. “It was a no-brainer,” Simonton said about taking the job with Hydratrek. “I just fell in love with the product.” ★


FACES ★ THE SECOND-GENERATION VICE MAYOR ▸ Continued from page 37

the time.” And that’s how it often went with his father. The elder Mr. Edwards was a steel worker and World War II veteran who served as a combat medic in the Rhineland, the Ardennes, Northern France and Central Europe. Very active in the Civil Rights Movement, in 1962 he was elected president of the Tipton County NAACP, a position he held for more than a quarter century. It was during this time – before the younger Edwards was born – that a cousin named Mack Edwards died in a house fire Edwards calls mysterious. Even that didn’t stop his father from doing what he believed was the right thing for his community. (It did, however, stop him from making his son John Mack Edwards Jr.) “It really means something when someone loses their life because of what you do and you still keep doing it,” Edwards says. “That taught me to be steadfast in my beliefs no matter what.” Mr. Edwards once led the largest march of its kind from the Covington court square to the Tipton County Board of Education

I look at the things my mom and dad went through because they refused to be treated like second-class citizens … I can’t fill their shoes, but because of them I don’t have to go through that. in support of integration and fair treatment. Edwards and his siblings were enrolled at the all-white Covington Grammar School years before integration. “Back then they bucked the trends,” he says of his parents. “We were only one percent of the class, but we didn’t have issues, we never saw any signs of racism. There were problems at the high school, but that was before I got there.” When he was elected constable in 1972, Mr. Edwards was the first African-American to hold office in Tipton County since the early 1900s. He was elected alderman 17 years later in 1989 and was vice mayor when he died. His wife, Alma Johnson Edwards, was the first African-American nurse at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Tipton. Mr. and Mrs. Edwards were just doing what they believed was the right thing, and

all along the way their son was learning. “I look at the things my mom and dad went through because they refused to be treated like second-class citizens. They put their lives on the line. I can’t fill their shoes, but because of them I don’t have to go through that. I don’t have to make that journey because of what they accomplished.” Involved with the Boys & Girls Club, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program and the Carl Perkins – Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Edwards said his mission is to do the right thing and leave his mark on his hometown. “I want to make my neighborhood a better place to live,” he said. “So many people in my district have worked all their lives to buy houses and they’re afraid to sit on their front porches. We’re on the cusp of doing really successful things here, though. It’s very exciting.” ★

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PLACES ★ THE FAMILY-OWNED ATV TRAILS

by JESSICA MITCHELL

Down on Sugar Creek

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Lengthy and adventurous trails, a down-home atmosphere and good old-fashioned family fun is what you’ll find at Sugar Creek Trails. Located in Drummonds, Sugar Creek offers a variety of trails for every type of ATV, including dirt bikes, three- and fourwheelers, freestyle motocross and sand rails. Organizers host an annual Mud Bog, where riders can come and race, simply ride the trails or create some new ones. With 300 acres of motocross track, drag strip, mud bogs and trails, Sugar Creek also boasts what the owners call “a fine family environment that is appropriate for riders of all different ages and skill levels.” Austin and Liz Tate opened the

40 DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013

park more than 30 years ago in order to provide a place for kids and adults to go and enjoy themselves. Austin claims Bible School inspired him to open the park. “Kids need someplace to play,” he said. He says it makes his day to see children enjoying themselves. Not only do kids enjoy the park, but organized Jeep and ATV clubs also make

use of the trails. While Austin wants people who visit Sugar Creek to have a good time, he also stresses that “safety is key.” People have been injured on the trails because they are steep. Austin encourages everyone who visits Sugar Creek to wear helmets and other safety gear in order to protect themselves from injury. Austin said he plans to expand in the future. He intends to purchase more land and add more things such as equestrian trails and potentially a zip line. The trails are located at 18024 Hwy. 59 West in Drummonds. For more information, call (901) 8353691. ★


ome c l e W

to

TipTon CounTy

• Quality Education K-12 • Outstanding Medical Services • Major Transportation Routes • Full Range of Retail Business • Reliable Work Force • More than 100 Churches

Jeff Huffman, County Executive

"If you are a newcomer to our county - welcome. If you are a resident of Tipton County already, thank you for making Tipton County such a great place to live, work, and raise a family." - Jeff Huffman

Working together to equip tomorrow's workforce!

DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013 41


The Town of Mason invites you to come see why Mason is a great place to live!


FACES ★ THE GROCER

Family Tradition Naifeh’s stores still going strong more than a century later by FRANCE GASQUET

Judson Naifeh sits at his desk, laughing at something his wife Dana has just said. Her desk, not 10 feet from his, faces him, and they talk about how it was when their children were younger. “There was empty space behind this wall and we knocked it down and carpeted it, then put in a few windows. Right here is where our kids played until they started school.” They both smile at the memory. There is a sense of family tradition, of Tipton County tradition, when you enter Naifeh’s markets in Covington or Mun-

ford. Family photos grace some of the walls of the grocery stores, one picture in particular of the beloved late Oney Naifeh, grandfather of Judson. “The first Naifeh’s opened in 1910, by my great-grandfather, Joseph,” said Naifeh. “And then, my grandfather, Oney, arrived from Beirut, Lebanon, in 1920, to join his father and help run the store.” The current Covington location was built in 1963 and, in 1997, Naifeh’s expanded into the Munford market by purchasing Carter’s Food Rite.

Judson continued, “I am the fourth generation in my family’s business.” Dana joins the conversation by telling about a cousin who went to Covington, Ky. by accident and searched for his family for two weeks before he realized he was in the wrong Covington. In 1994, Judson started working with his father Joe and grandfather Oney after graduating from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, majoring in business/marketing. Raised in Covington, Judson is the owner of Naifeh’s in both Covington and Munford. “I was destined to be in the grocery business. I was dating my high school sweetheart and came home to marry her,” he said, beaming at Dana. Dana, who has an accounting degree from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, now works side by side with Judson. Judson reflects about his family, his childhood and his upbringing. “There are six of us,” he said referring to his siblings Jan and Jay, and his first cousins, Jim, Beth and Samara. “And I’m the one out of six who stayed home. The others are in Nashville or Memphis.” Dana smiles, “I wanted to raise my kids in a small town.” Judson and Dana have three children, Ally, 15, Abby, 14, and Oney, 11. “We are always in the country," Judson says. It’s not country living, it’s county living. And we love our county- living. We like our space.” “We Naifehs are too loud to live close to people,” said Dana. ★

DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013 43


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PLACES ★ ANTIQUE ROW ▸ Continued from page 25

moved to furs. From there, he moved into the specialty fur business, and for more than 25 years worked for a retail company that managed more than 250 locations, including Macy’s, Goldsmith’s and Filene’s. “I resolved to move to a place where I would never see another Macy’s, find an open air mall type space and open a specialty store,” he said. “That’s what I found in Covington. Mike Whitaker first suggested that I look here, and when I did, I fell in love.” Sneed is happy with the move. “The locals are so supportive of the businesses here. I know of two different interior designers who tell their clients they must shop in Tipton County before anywhere else,” he said. “I moved here four years ago and I call it home now.” According to Sneed, business partner Don Leopard, who has more than 10 years antique and auction experience, grew up by the river, and has found Tipton County to be a perfect fit for him, as well. Sneed has built a following in the vintage clothing market, as women from Atlanta, San Francisco and even Harvard seek out his clothes, specifically his Helen Rose dresses. Helen Rose was a costumer for such films as "Father of the Bride" (1950), "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof " (1958) and many more. In 1958, Helen Rose started her selfnamed ready-to-wear label and sold her designs in exclusive department stores such as Bonwit Teller and Marshall Fields. UPSCALE RESALE Wayne Rhodes, owner 107 East Pleasant Avenue 901-476-7103 Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. www.facebook.com/upscaleresale.covington www.facebook.com/pages/Jezabels-Gifts-andBead-Emporium Wayne Rhodes has been interested in antiques all his life. “I like the old stuff,” he said. “As a child, I’d take my parents junking.” Upscale Resale, located next to the Regions Bank on the square, has more than 20,000 feet of space dedicated to furniture, antiques and collectibles, with more than 200 vendors from Tipton, Haywood, Shelby counties and even West Memphis. Ark. “My wife, Delynda, and I purchased Upscale Resale four years ago. Our daughter

married a fellow in Tipton County and we followed them up here,” Rose said. Wayne and Delynda live in Bolton, but make the trip to Covington every day. “This is our community. We shop here, we eat here, we believe in Tipton County,” said Rose, who also owns Jezabel's, a gift, bead and fine jewelry store on the square. “It’s just a matter of time before we move here. As it is, we drive 26 miles one way every day.” THE HADLEY HOUSE Jere and Rosemary Hadley 105 West Court Square 901-476-3220 hadleyhous@att.net Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. www.facebook.com/pages/The-HadleyHouse-Antiques Jere and Rosemary Hadley just celebrated 50 years of marriage. Both natives of Tipton County, this is their first full-time antiques store. It opened in July 2012, although they’ve been vendors in other locations since 2006. What differentiates The Hadley House is the amount of reclaimed and recycled furniture the Hadleys sell in addition to antiques. Their interest began because, as Rosemary said, “Jere would drag things up to the house.”

“We always repainted or fixed up, rescuing and refurbishing furniture. I thought people were silly for throwing things away,” said Rosemary. “I try to save every piece of furniture we can from the landfill. We fix and repaint and restore. We buy nicer pieces, also, but our main mission is to rescue and refurbish furniture.” Rosemary and Jere are enjoying their new adventure in shopkeeping. “Jere and I call this store our ‘cabin on the lake.’ It’s our retirement,” she laughs. ★

DISCOVER FACES&PLACES 2013 45


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In fact, many the descendants of Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Martin, Mason, McDaniel, Miller, Moore, Morgan, Murphy, Owen, Owens, Payne, the Roberts, county’sRobinson, settlers and forefathers still liveShelton, here. Smith, StewPerry, Pinner, Ray, Reed, Rice, Richardson, Rose, Russell, Sanders, art, Yarbro, Yarbrough, Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Turner, Walker, Watkins, Watson, White, Williams, According to David Gwinn, the man Craig, Davis, Edwards, Fleming, Glass, Wilson, Wood, Wright, Young, Adams,notable Anderson, Ballard, Billings, Boyd, Brown, Carter, Clark, Cole, Coofor his ability to recall facts about Gray, Hall, Harris, Hill, Jackson, Johnson, per, Craig, Davis, Edwards, Fleming, Glass, Gray, Harris, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Martin, MaTipton County’sHall, history from Hill, memory, Jones, Martin, Mason, McDaniel, Miller, son, McDaniel, Miller, Moore, Morgan, Murphy, Owen, Owens, Payne, Perry, Pinner, Ray, Reed, Rice, some of the first settlers in the 1820s in- Moore, Morgan, Murphy, Owen, OwRichardson, Roberts, Robinson, Rose, Russell, Sanders, Shelton, Smith, Yarbro, Yarbrough, Taylor, cluded Smiths, Yarbroughs, Owens, Tip-Stewart, ens, Payne, Perry, Pinner, Ray, Reed, Rice, Thomas, Thompson, Turner, Walker, Watkins, Watson, White, Williams, Wilson, Wood, Wright, Young, tons, Hartsfi elds, Glasses, Clarks and Richardson, Roberts, Robinson, Rose, Hills. Brown, Carter, Clark, Cole, Cooper, Craig, Davis, Edwards, Adams, Anderson, Ballard, Billings, Boyd, Russell, Sanders, Shelton, Smith, StewThumbingJohnson, through the currentMartin, phone Mason, Fleming, Glass, Gray, Hall, Harris, Hill, Jackson, Jones, McDaniel, Miller, Moore, art, Yarbro, Yarbrough, Taylor, Thomas, book, it's evident these families are here to Morgan, Murphy, Owen, Owens, Payne, Perry, Pinner, Ray, Reed, Rice,Thompson, Richardson, Roberts, Robinson, Turner, Walker, Watkins, stay. Surnames with the most listings inRose, Russell, Sanders, Shelton, Smith, Stewart, Yarbro, Yarbrough, Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Turner, Walkclude: Adams, Anderson, Ballard, Billings, Watson, White, Williams, Wilson, Wood, er, Watkins, Watson, White, Williams, Boyd, Wilson, Wood, Wright, Young, Adams, Anderson, Ballard, Billings, Brown, Carter, Clark, Cole, Cooper, Wright and Young. Boyd, Brown, Carter, Clark, Cole, Cooper, Craig, Davis, Edwards, Fleming, Glass, Gray, Hall, Harris, Hill, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Martin, Mason, McDaniel, Miller, Moore, Morgan, Murphy, Owen, Owens, Payne, Perry, Pinner, Ray, Reed, Rice, Richardson, Roberts, Robinson, Rose, Russell, Sanders, Shelton, Smith, Stewart, Yarbro, Yarbrough, Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Turner, Walker, Watkins, Watson, White, Williams, Wilson, Wood, Wright, Young, Adams, Anderson, Ballard, Billings, Boyd, Brown, Carter, Clark, Cole, Cooper, Craig, Davis, Edwards, Fleming, Glass, Gray, Hall, Harris, Hill, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Martin, Mason, McDaniel, Miller, Moore, Morgan, Murphy, Owen, Owens, Payne, Perry, Pinner, Ray, Reed, Rice, Richardson, Roberts, Robinson, Rose, Russell, Sanders, Shelton, Smith, Stewart, Yarbro, Yarbrough, Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Turner, Walker, Watkins, Watson, White, Williams, Wilson, Wood, Wright, Young, 46 DISCOVER FACES&PLACES FACES&PLACES FACES& PLACES 2013 Adams, Anderson, Ballard, Billings, Boyd, Brown, Carter, Clark, Cole, Cooper, Craig, Davis, Edwards,

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