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Grocery Life May 17, 2019

By Tom Butler

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market. I hope everyone is having a good week! After a short cool spell, it looks like it is about to get hot and dry. I love hot weather, so I am all for it. If I am still alive when I retire, I am going to do my best to live in warm weather year-round.

     Business has been good this spring. I think the rain kept people in for most of the winter but once it started drying out business really picked up. The overall economy seems good also, at least around our region. Most everyone I talk to that has a business is doing very well.

     I actually went and visited an old college friend’s business this week. He has a company that makes very specialized parts for manufacturing companies all over the world. A big part of his business right now is making towers for ski and surf boats. If you are ever out on the lake, you will see some of his work because those boats are very popular right now. The towers are a conglomeration of bent pipes that you tie ropes to, store all your skies and wakeboards on, and mount really loud speakers to. I can attest to the quality of the speakers because we live on the river and I can hear them inside my house when the boats go by. 

     Anyways, I have been working on a project at home, which is another story for another day, and needed some long pipes bent on a continuous radius. I thought this would be a relatively common thing to get done since I see bent pipes all around town. Apparently, they bend them in some other town because I could not find anyone around here to do it for me. After almost giving up, I remembered that Jeff’s company did all that pipe work for cars and boats. So, I gave him a call. 

     We haven’t really kept up with each other since college, but I had heard he was doing really well with his company, turns out that would be an understatement. I called him and we caught up for a few minutes and then I told him about my project. He said he could do it, so he invited me down to his facility in Loudon to get the pipe bent and to tour the facility. I figured he had some kind of little metal shop about the size of the store, with a few employees bending and welding pipe. I was wrong. He has a forty-acre site with 557,000 square feet of manufacturing space with rows and rows of million-dollar equipment. Right now, he just uses a mere 250,000 square feet of the space but will grow it to the whole place. To put that in perspective, our store is 20,000 square feet. He also has another facility in Oak Ridge that has 40,000 square feet and employees another 100 people. After seeing all this, I kind of felt embarrassed for even asking him to bend a few pipes for a home project but at least I know now if I need a thousand or million more pipes bent, he is the man for the job. We talked a little while before I left and he was telling me how good the economy was, which he would know, because he does business with companies all over the world. 

     I’m glad we finally got to catch up after all these years. I am also really proud to know yet another homegrown Knoxville boy that has achieved such great success! His company is called Protomet if you want to look it up. That was a long story just to say economic times seem to be pretty good in the Greater Rocky Hill area.

     Getting back to the grocery business, we have a big week coming up at the store. I am sure a lot of you remember my friend and business partner, George Bailey. This month marks ten years since he passed away. While he has been gone for a decade now, hardly a day goes by that I am not reminded of him. For starters, his name is on the front of the building in big red letters but more importantly, the impact he had on those of us that worked with him as well as many of our customers is still talked about on an almost daily basis. He loved the grocery business and he especially loved our customers. When he passed away, I decided we should have a special sale to honor his fifty-five years in the grocery business. So, we picked items that he loved to advertise during his career, negotiated really low prices on them, and had a big sale. Everyone really enjoyed the sale, but I think more importantly, everyone enjoyed swapping stories about their memories of Mr. Bailey.

     Earlier this year, I was thinking about how fast those ten years have gone by and how much everything has changed for me, the grocery industry, and for that matter, the world. Thankfully for me, most of the changes have been positive. I don’t think I would say the same for the grocery industry or the world. It seems like the goal of society now is to make it as impersonal as possible. They want us all to only have a relationship with our phones or computer screens and to remove the inconvenience of face to face personal relationships. We are all being pulled in that direction and I’m thinking the results of this are not going to be positive except for the people that invent the technology? 

     I know Mr. Bailey would not have liked any of these changes. He would have had no interest in selling groceries over the internet. He wanted to meet and talk to every customer that came through our door. He wanted to watch your kids grow up running around the store. He wanted to be a good neighbor and a good friend to everyone in the Rocky Hill community! He kind of instilled this in all of us that worked with him. 

     Ten years later, we still want to meet and talk to every customer that comes in the store. We want to watch your kids grow up and we want to be good neighbors in this community. I know we get off course sometimes and lose our focus, but we will always have the memory of Mr. Bailey to pull us, and especially me, back in the right direction.

     This Sunday we are starting a special sale to again, to honor the memory of Mr. Bailey and the life lessons that he instilled in us. You can find this ad on our website or in Sunday’s News Sentinel and it will run through Memorial Day, Monday the 27th. Once again, we chose all the items that he loved to advertise and tried to put really low prices on them. You might notice that I put Miller High Life beer in the ad. It has always been my policy to not advertise alcohol or tobacco, but on this occasion, I’m putting it in.

     For many years starting out, Mr. Bailey and I had some really long hard days of work here at the store. The only way I knew we were finally finished for the night was when he would say he was heading to the west wall (beer section) to get some “nectar of the gods”, which is what he called Miller High Life. No more welcome words were ever spoken to me because I knew it was finally time to go home. So, I hope you will forgive me this one time for advertising it, but it holds a special memory for me.

     I hope you will come and help us honor his memory as well as all the other great ones that have come before us during this Memorial Day week. It would’ve put a big smile on his face!


Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,
Thomas A. Butler

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 Butler and Bailey Market

7513 Northshore Dr.

Knoxville, TN 37919


Gourmet cooking classes – april ’19

April 46:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.   
Strawberry Delight
$55 plus tax

  • Strawberry Salad with Candied Pecans and Goat Cheese
  • Baby Potatoes with Lemon & Parsley
  • Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Strawberries
  • Steamed Spring Vegetables
  • Lemon Bar Cheesecake

April 96:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.   
Elegant Seafood
$60 plus tax

  • Layered Seafood Salad
  • White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes
  • Snow Peas with Toasted Almonds
  • Salmon with Citrus Sauce   
  • Lemon Poppy seed Raspberry Layer Cake

April 116:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.   
Rolled & Ready
$65 plus tax

  • Cream of Asparagus Soup
  • Peas & Carrot Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  • Lemony Salt Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
  • Spinach Stuffed Beef Tenderloin with Port Sauce
  • French Lemon Tart

April 166:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.   
Easter “Eggs”traviganza
$60 plus tax

  • Cheese Grits and Corn Pudding
  • Spiral Sliced Ham
  • Fillet of Beef Eggs Benedict with Red Wine Hollandaise
  • Gordon’s Marinated Asparagus
  • Champagne Mimosa Cake
  • Heavenly Hash

April 256:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.   
A Little Spring in Your Step
$60 plus tax

  • Spring Salad with Lemon Thyme Dressing
  • Baked Asparagus with Balsamic Butter Sauce
  • Peach Grouper or Halibut with Peach Beurre Blanc
  • Seasoned Long Grain & Wild Rice
  • Hummingbird Cake

Reservations can be made in the store or call (865) 691-8881. Class size is limited to 16, and a minimum of 8 people needed for each class. Payment must be made when reservation is made.

All cancellations must be made 48 hours before the class.

Grocery Life March 12, 2019

Grocery Life March 12, 2019

By Tom Butler

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market. I hope everyone is doing well. I was hoping to be bragging about going without rain for three straight days, but Mother Nature snuck another shower in on us yesterday. It looks like we are dry today and tomorrow and then more rain Thursday. One of these days the rain will stop, it will get hot and the mosquitoes and weeds will take over the world so I should be careful for what I wish for.

   We started a new ad this week in the store. My favorite things in this ad are Cowboy Ribeye steaks and Argentine Red Shrimp.

   The Cowboy Ribeye, which is basically a bone-in ribeye, is probably the heartiest cut of beef we have. You will not get up from the table hungry after eating one of these. I usually just lightly season them with salt and pepper, throw them on a hot grill, burn both sides and I’m done. I eat mine rare so if you like it more done you should probably back off the heat a little and cook it longer. It is a very flavorful, tender cut of meat so you should give one a try if you haven’t.


     The Argentine Red Shrimp come frozen in a bag. You can get them shell-on or peeled and deveined. I usually get the peeled and deveined. We usually keep some in our freezer at home and just take out what we need for our meal. My favorite way to prepare them is on the grill.  I put them on wood skewers and then melt butter mixed with some olive oil and garlic powder. I brush the shrimp with the butter mixture and set them aside while the rest of the meal is being prepared. The shrimp cook quickly so you can pretty much have everything else ready and on the table before you start cooking them. I usually give them about two or three minutes on each side on a medium grill and they are ready. If you cook them just right they melt in your mouth.


   Last week I wrote about cooking Cheshire pork chops which we carry in the store. Ironically or coincidentally, a day after that blog came out I got a call from a magazine publisher. They are apparently doing a “Top Chef “ issue and wanted to know if I would like to advertise in that issue since the chefs will be using Cheshire pork along with several other local and regional brands that we sell in the store. I told them to email me the information and I would consider it. After looking over their proposal, I came up with two to four thousand reasons not to place an ad in their magazine. Along with Cheshire pork, they are also using Benton’s bacon and ham, Springer Mountain chicken, Sweetwater Valley cheeses and some super foods like quinoa and chia seeds. We carry all these things at the store as well as many other local and regional items. I know “The Grocery Life” blog does not have the same glamour or coverage as an ad in a slick magazine but it fits my budget a little better. Maybe if you read this, you could pass the word along that we carry these things and “top chefs” use them?  Plus, I can save the money for stuff like rent, payroll, insurance, taxes and my most expensive personal vice, fishing!

     Speaking of fishing, the Bass Master Classic is being held in Knoxville this weekend. This is like the Super Bowl of bass fishing. Fifty of the top bass fishermen in the world will compete in the three-day tournament to decide who is number one and the winner will take home a nice trophy and three hundred thousand dollars. It is also projected to pump more than Twenty-Five Million dollars into the local economy!  

      You will probably see several fancy trucks and boats rolling around town this week wrapped with all kinds of advertisements to promote their various sponsors and if you are in sight of Fort Loudon Lake, you will see hundreds of boats following the pros around watching them fish. Several fishermen from East Tennessee made it into the tournament this year so I guess I will pull for one of them to win.

     Probably my favorite professional bass fisherman is Brandon Coulter. He missed making it into the Classic this year but he fished in it last year. Why is he my favorite? Because he lives right down the street in Forest Brook and he and his family shop in the store, and I’m all about supporting “local”. You might have even seen his truck and boat parked out in front of the store. It would be the one with the fancy company logos all over it. Most of you probably don’t care a whole lot about fishing but I think it is really cool to have one of the best fishermen in the world living in the neighborhood.

     Maybe one of these days I will splurge and buy an ad in a fancy magazine. I guess it might even end up making me rich and famous? I guess right now I will just depend on this blog and word of mouth to promote our business. On second thought…. maybe I could buy an ad on Brandon’s boat… (I’m sure I could fit that into my budget). I think the Butler & Bailey Market logo would look great on the side of his boat as he travels all over the country fishing. It may not sell a lot of groceries but it might get me a few fishing trips with him. To me, that would be a lot more rewarding than any fame and fortune a magazine ad would bring!

     I hope everyone has a great week and thanks for letting us be a part of your community!

Tom Butler



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Butler and Bailey Market

7513 Northshore Dr.

Knoxville, TN 37919


Grocery Life – March 5, 2019

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market.  I hope everyone is doing well.  Rain seems to be the recurring theme these days, but it looks like we may go two or three days without any.  The flip side of that is we might freeze to death in the process.

For those who haven’t seen what the rain left, click here for a post from local station WVLT, showing aerial footage of West Knoxville flooding.

Business has been good of late.  All the heavy rain has actually helped us.  It turns out access to some of our competitors got blocked by flooded streets, so we became the most accessible place for people to shop.  I should probably feel sympathy for them, since their businesses were hurt by such a catastrophic event, but in my mind I’m thinking…Ha Ha!  I finally got the upper hand on the big grocery chains…if only for a few days.  I think those companies spend every waking moment trying to figure out how to run small, local folks like us out of business, so we enjoyed our few days “in the sun”, even as the rains kept falling.

Everything seems to be getting back to normal now.  The water has receded, and everyone can shop where they normally do.  Now we have to get back to earning your business the old-fashioned way, which requires a lot more work than when it just falls in your lap.  Oh well!  That’s what we have been doing for the last twenty-nine years, so it’s pretty much all we know anyways.

I am on a different work schedule this week.  I am in charge of the kids for the next few days, so my work schedule has to coincide with their school schedule, as well as extracurricular activities.  My wife is gone this week to watch a tennis tournament.  I would have thought you could have found one to watch at say, the Knoxville Racket Club or some other tennis facility around town, but apparently the closest one she could find is in Indian Wells, California.  This is day two of her trip, so she has probably had an anxiety attack by now wondering if our kids are getting fed and practicing good hygiene, much less showing up for school.

I did make supper last night.  I went for comfort food, since it was cold outside, and mom was gone.  Comfort food for us usually includes fried okra, so we had pork chops and fried okra.  I probably could have just skipped the pork chops, but I would have been frying okra all night.  This family is like a bottomless pit when it comes to fried okra.  The one upside to mom being gone is I can make all the food spicy, so the pork and okra had a heavy dose of “Slap Ya Mama” Cajun Seasoning on them.  My kids and I love spicy hot food; mom not so much.  At least I have done one thing right raising them.

When I dropped the kids off at school this morning, I told them I would take them out to eat tonight, if they can get their homework done.  I hope it works out because, if I have to cook every night, we may run out of clean plates and silverware before mom gets home.

If you need a little comfort food for these cold or rainy days, you might want to try our menu last night.  I got the thicker cut boneless Cheshire pork chops, and as of this morning, we have some really nice okra that came in prepackaged from one of our produce companies. 

Cheshire Pork Chops

Pero Family Farms Freshwrap Okra







I browned/seared the chops on both sides in a hot skillet with a little olive oil and a lot of butter.  I then put the skillet in a 325° oven.  Once I put the skillet in the oven, I started frying the okra.  For the okra, I sliced it crossways, probably a little less than a quarter of an inch thick.  I then put some cornmeal in a gallon storage bag along with seasoning.  I started adding okra to the bag, stopping to shake the bag to make sure all the pieces got a good coating before I added more okra.  Okra is really sticky when it is fresh sliced, which is what you want.  This helps the cornmeal stick to it, but if you dump all the okra in at once, it sticks to itself instead of the cornmeal.  While I am doing this, I had cooking oil in a skillet heating up.  The whole trick to this is making sure your oil is hot enough before you put the okra in.  My grandmother used to put a match stick in the oil and when it lit, she knew the oil was hot enough.  In the next breath she would tell us grandkids not to play with matches, so I don’t guess I’m allowed to use the match stick trick.  I just dropped a piece or two of okra in to check it.  You want it to start frying immediately, not just float around and bubble a little.  Once you add the rest of the okra, the oil will cool a little, so you need to start off hot! It usually takes about ten or twelve minutes to fry which by default is how long I cooked the pork chops in the oven.  They both turned out perfect.  I guess if you aren’t using fried okra as a timer, eight to twelve minutes for the chops in the oven.  This is probably not the most physically healthy meal, but it sure gave us comfort after all the rain, all the cold, and mom being gone.

I hope everyone has a great week and thanks for letting us be a part of your community!