Making Progress

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market.

I hope everyone is doing well!  Things must be getting a little bit better around here because I slept until six this morning.  The last couple of weeks, it has been a lot earlier than that.  Apparently, my brain is finally starting to slow down, which means the store must be getting back into its comfort zone.  Our staff and our customers alike seem to be finding their pace in what continues to be a long marathon to the finish line instead of a sprint.

Our inventories at the store are starting to get built back up.  Dry grocery goods are still lagging behind but meat, produce, and deli/bakery inventories have increased enough to allow us to take limits off of them.  I even let our twice baked potato man get back to making twice baked potatoes again, instead of having to pitch in on everything else.  I anticipate continued improvement on all of this as we move forward.

Many manufacturers have dropped some of the varieties they are producing, so they can focus on their most important items.  For example, Oscar Mayer has stopped producing a lot of their meat items so they can get full production of the most important ones.  Kimberly-Clark and Proctor & Gamble are taking a similar approach.  That’s what we are all having to do.  Decide what has the highest sense of urgency and focus our resources on it.

I wrote a story about the bowling alley the other day. Wouldn’t you know, I got an email from someone who had two family members that actually worked there.  One of them had even been responsible for cooking burgers as part of his job.  I think they enjoyed reminiscing with me about it.

Another thing I wrote about was social distancing.  One of my suggestions was to skateboard.  I did add that I had only broken one arm doing this.  Well, as usual my good intentions backfired on me.  One of our employees was skateboarding yesterday and yes, he fell and broke his arm.  So now we are down a man, and I have only myself to blame.  I wish him a speedy recovery!

The flip side of that is I am trying to write more “Grocery Life”, because my mother is bored at home, and she asked me to keep writing to give her something to read.  It helps her to occupy time and keep up with her family and the outside world, so I am doing my best to honor her wishes.  Well that was the other day, so I came to work the next day, got a lot of my work done, then sat down to write a blog.  I even mentioned her in it.  I then finished up my day here and when I got home, I went fishing.

The last time I had gone, I had miserable luck, so I wasn’t too optimistic about my prospects.  I decided to go anyways and had one the best days of fishing I have had in a long time.

Well I am not much of a theologian, but here is how my simple mind works.  When you try to do something positive for someone else (especially your mother), the Good Lord will bless you with a boatload of fish.  I am not sure the King James Version of the Bible says it quite this way, but if you go back to the Hebrew and Greek, I am pretty sure it is in there.  You might give it a try.  You may get blessed with a “boatload of fish” also.  I’ve seen it happen time and time again.  Honestly, I feel pretty blessed, even when I am not deserving or don’t catch fish.  I think that’s probably in the Good Book also.

Getting back to the store, we will continue to be closed on Wednesdays and Sundays. Our hours on the other days are from 9 am until 7 pm.  I know this is hard to get used to, so thank you for your cooperation!  We will also continue to have special hours for the elderly and high-risk folks. These are every Tuesday and Saturday morning, from 8am until 9 am.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that things will continue to get better in the store and, more importantly, in the world.

Well, I have gotten my work done and most importantly, I have written another blog for my mother.  I think I may go try my luck at fishing.

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

Tom Butler

Bowling & Burgers

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market.

I hope everyone is doing well.  We had our daily “Dixie Stampede” this morning at opening time.  The only things missing were cowboys and cowgirls on horses.  Our show is not as good as Dolly’s, but then again, I don’t share the same attributes that she does.  Usually it calms down in here after the first hour, so my suggestion would be to shop mid-morning to mid-afternoon.

I am not trying to flood you guys with emails, but my mother asked me to keep them coming.  She is staying in due to her age, so she enjoys having something new to read.  I think I could find something better to read than my musings, like a phone book or something, but she’s my mother, so I will do my best to honor her request.

My family has been staying at home for the most part. The kids’ online schoolwork started yesterday, so that has locked them down.

Several days ago, I wrote about things you can do during “social distancing”.  One of the things I mentioned was writing notes to people, which seems to be a lost art.  Well, I and the store have received several handwritten notes in the last couple of days.  I want you to know they mean a lot to us! I have also received several emails that I really appreciate!  I also mentioned learning a song on an instrument or experimenting with cooking a new recipe.

This week my daughter decided she wanted to learn to play the guitar.  She picked out a song that she wants to learn and play for a friend.  I thought this isn’t going to last long.  She will get frustrated and give up.  Later that evening, I heard music coming out of her bedroom and asked my wife if that was YouTube and she said no, it was Lauren.  She obviously picked it up quickly.  I am still waiting for that to happen to me.

My wife also tried something new.  She made lasagna.  I asked her if she had ever made lasagna before, and she told me this would be the first time.  It turned out great, and it was even gluten free!  My son is perfectly content skateboarding, so he really hasn’t had to find new things to do to occupy his time.  Last night I grilled legs and thighs…Well crap!  I just remembered while writing this, I took home okra to fry to go with the chicken. Oh, well!  Fried okra goes with anything, so I will do it next meal.

Tonight, we are probably going to do carry out from J.C. Holdway, which is a restaurant downtown. Joseph Lenn is the chef/ owner of the restaurant, and an alumnus of Butler & Bailey.  We have remained friends since he left the store and try to support his business as much as we can.  While he is known for fancy gourmet dishes, one of my favorite things he does is a cheeseburger.  I don’t know what he does to make it so good, but it is good!  Almost as good as the burgers from the bowling alley.  I think one reason I like it so much is it reminds me of the bowling alley burgers.

When I was growing up, one of the things we did for entertainment was going to the Western Plaza Bowling Lanes.  They were right next door to the Ice Chalet on Kingston Pike.  My friends and I would go to bowl and always calculate how many games we could bowl and still have money left over to buy burgers in the little restaurant they had.  I think the burgers were probably less than fifty cents apiece, but that was a lot of money to try to come up with when you were a kid back then.  One trick we learned in our desire to raise more money for burgers while we bowled was to run around to all the empty lanes looking for change on the floor.  You would be amazed how much change people lost or left behind after leaving their lanes.  Thinking back on it, they probably knew they dropped change but were smart enough to not pick it up off the nasty floor under all the chairs.  As a kid you don’t worry about things like that.  You just love the thrill of finding money…and getting more burgers!

I am sure the lady cooking the burgers always dreaded seeing us coming.  We would just dump all of that dirty change on the counter and ask her to cook however many burgers we could get for the pile of change.  Plus, I don’t think tipping was part of our vocabulary back then.  We would do this repeatedly throughout the day, until all of our resources ran out except for the dime it took you to call your parents to come pick you up.  I am not sure Joseph would want his burgers compared to bowling alley burgers since he is a famous, award winning chef, but in my mind, it’s a compliment.

I tell you all of that to tell you this.  We are all adapting to the way we do business in these times.  Obviously, I am one of the few lucky ones that have a business in high demand.  Most are not as fortunate.  So, I hope you will start or continue to support all of our local businesses.  A lot of them just survive week to week in good times, so it becomes really difficult for them now.  So, get some carry out food from your favorite restaurant and continue buying products from any other businesses that have remained open.  It will make a huge difference moving forward!

Once again, thank you for all of the supportive letters, emails, and compliments you have given to all of us here at the store!  We all have a part to play to get through this, and the personal touch we can offer each other, even if it is six feet away, is the most important.

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community!

Tom Butler


Good evening from Butler & Bailey Market.

It is Wednesday evening, and “all is quiet on the western front”.  This week seems to be going a little better than last week.  I guess when I say better, it is more like it has been more orderly.  When you are obsessive compulsive like I am, you like order.  I am pretty good at taking chaos, processing it, formulating a plan to deal with it, which usually produces order, but I can spin out pretty quickly when my plan gets screwed up due to yet more chaos.  I have spun out so many times over the last couple of weeks my brain is tired and dizzy.

I do think everyone is starting to acclimate to the new normal.  Customers have gotten used to not finding everything they want.  They are also adjusting well to our new store hours.  We started our at-risk hours last Saturday, and I kind of got aggravated about how that went, but we did it again yesterday and it went a lot better.  We will continue to do this every Tuesday and Saturday, from 8am to 9am, until further notice.  I also noticed yesterday that the number of shoppers during the day was more back to normal instead of being overrun for hours on end.
Fortunately, we were closed at the store today, which should have meant a day off for all of us.  That didn’t happen.  Our Monday morning truck finally showed up about 8 o’clock last night, so many of us came to work today to stock the shelves with this load of merchandise.
I actually kind of enjoyed today.  One, you can get a lot done quickly (and orderly) when you are not open for business.  Secondly, it reminded me of when we first started out at the store.  We probably had a total staff of ten to twelve people, so all of us had to pitch in on every task at the store.  We were not making any money, but we were a very close-knit group.  Now our business is more successful, and we have between fifty and sixty people on staff, but I don’t get to work as closely with all of them as I once did.  I miss that aspect.

As I mentioned earlier, we did receive a truck, so tomorrow we will start out with fuller shelves.  We actually even got SOME paper products in.  We will continue to keep limits on certain items in the store like paper products, so please be aware of this.  We are in good shape in the meat department, as well as the deli and bakery.  The produce department remains spotty, but we do have a good supply of the basics.

Our next truck is due tomorrow morning, so I am going to predict that it will show up around Saturday night, which means we will probably be in the store our next day off (Sunday) to put it on the shelves.  I think I may try to trick the grocery gods and take tomorrow or Friday off?

Thanks for your patience, kindness, and understanding throughout this ordeal.  I and we really appreciate it!

I will do my best to keep you updated, and thanks for letting us be a part of your community!

Tom Butler

Hurry Up and Wait!

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market.

I guess our new motto around here is going to be “hurry up and wait”.  Last week’s motto was “we are going to do the best we can”.  That has actually been our motto for the last thirty years, but frustrations are high around here, so I have been vocalizing it a lot more the last couple of weeks.  Probably more for my benefit than anyone else’s.

My old partner here, George Bailey, had a saying for just about any occasion.  Most of them probably originated in the farming community of Mascot.  They usually included a farm animal, barbed wire, fence posts, tractors, and hay so they never made much sense to us here in Rocky Hill, but at least it gave you something to think about the rest of the day.  I have tried to carry on the tradition since he has been gone, but mine are more mainstream, so not quite as thought provoking or impactful.  Most of the time they just backfire on me.  Several times over the last couple of weeks, when I get frustrated at someone or something, a staff member will tell me, Tom, we are just going to do the best we can.  I can always count on them to hold me accountable.

I hope everyone’s social distancing is going okay.  I followed my own advice and went fishing, mowed the yard, and cooked dinner yesterday on my day off.  The fish seemed to have gotten the message about distancing because they were not biting for me.  It could be I spent so much time in between casts on the phone yesterday talking to suppliers, trying to procure product and schedule deliveries for today that my focus wasn’t up to par.

Besides all of our deliveries being delayed by hours, if not days, I had a great start to my day today thanks to some of you.  When I went to unlock the door to open the store, a crowd of your smiling faces was waiting outside.  In unison, you all said, “Good Morning, Tom”.  Where else can you receive such a warm reception in these trying times?  Rocky Hill is a special place!

On to store business.  We will continue to keep our abbreviated hours this week.  They are 9 am until 7 pm every day, except the two days we are closed, which are Wednesdays and Sundays.  Tuesday and Saturday mornings from 8am until 9am are reserved for the elderly and high risk to shop.  Please be respectful of our desire to provide an environment for these folks needing to stay away from larger crowds.

One of our busiest times during the day has become first thing in the morning, so it may benefit you to wait an hour or two before you shop.  I know you feel like our inventories are probably better first thing in the morning, but actually things are running so far behind most of our trucks are coming later in the day, so you may have better luck finding what you need in the afternoon hours.

Another thing I want to address is the well-being of our staff.  While we are blessed to have strong business in these trying economic times, the other side of that is we are all being exposed to thousands of people on a weekly basis, which puts our risk level higher than most; the medical profession being the highest.  In light of this, I have told my staff that if they want to wear masks, gloves, or any other protective clothing, I am glad for them to do that.  Many of you are doing the same thing when you are shopping here, but I didn’t want to raise any alarms if any of our staff chose to do this.  The safety of everyone is our number one priority, so thank you for your understanding on this.

In my last writing, I told you supply lines seemed to be adjusting to this new normal, and I continue to believe this.  While trucks are running behind, they are still running, and we are still receiving an ample amount of product.  Will we be out of things on certain days? Sure, but we will probably receive it the next day, so I don’t think it is necessary to stock up for more than a few days at a time.  I will let you know if anything changes on this.

Another thing I want you to realize is as supply lines tighten up, prices also go up.  It’s the classic supply and demand thing.  A lot of us might have slept through our economics class when this was taught, but it is a real thing.  A lot of produce has already gone up, and the eggs we received today were considerably more expensive.  I assume several other food categories will do the same thing.

I would also recommend carrying some cash.  Most of us hardly carry cash now, just credit cards.  I guess everyone in the world is on the internet, with all that’s going on.  I don’t know the capacity of the internet, but it is obviously getting pushed to the limits, which has caused our credit card machines to shut down temporarily on a number of occasions.  If you have some cash for backup, we can keep the lines moving here at the store, limiting wait times.

In closing, thanks again for all of the support you have given us through these trying times and yes, we are going to continue to “just do the best we can”!

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community!

Tom Butler

Social Distancing & new “AT-RISK” Hours

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market.

I hope everyone is adapting to the new normal!  It has sure been an interesting week!  At the store, we are getting our legs back under us, and I feel like we have established a very good pace with our adjusted store hours as well as being closed two days a week.  Those were tough decisions, and I really appreciate all the positive feedback we have received from you concerning those decisions!

I want you to know our present circumstances at the store are turning positive.  We are getting our trucks in with relative consistency, and it looks like supplies are going to continue to improve moving forward.  It certainly helps us to control this by limiting our hours.  One of us usually spends every day on the phone procuring things from all over the Southeast, and we are having success.  I think the biggest thing that will be missing for a while is anything that says “antibacterial” on it.  Otherwise, we continue to get a pretty good supply of paper products, as well as everything else.

I guess the new trend in everyday life is going to be social distancing.  While this may be a problem for some, anyone that knows me well would probably agree that I am an expert in this.  I could probably teach a class at Harvard about it.  Thankfully, society is finally catching up to me, after I have felt so left out for the past fifty-three years.

If you are new to this trend, I can make some suggestions to you that I have developed over a lifetime:

  • Get yourself a lawn mower, a weed eater, a shovel, and a rake. These things can keep you busy for hours, they are good exercise, they are one person tools, and your yard will look better.
  • Another thing I can suggest is a skateboard, once again, a one-person thing, good exercise and so far I have only broken one arm doing it.  We have ramps scattered all over our house and yard if you need a place to do it.
  • Fishing is another great idea.  I try to go every free moment I have.  It’s probably not great physical exercise, unless you are wading in a stream but mentally, it cures most any distress I have experienced.  I don’t know if Josh has had any time to make any this week, but the best snack you can take fishing would be our smoked bologna, a bottle of hot sauce, some saltine crackers, and your favorite beverage.
  • If you are not into the outdoors, look around your house.  Some of you probably have a piano or guitar that you haven’t touched in quite a while.  Dust those off and learn a new song.  The internet is full of tutorials on about any song you might want to learn.  I watched a movie about the Beatles the other night, so I pulled out my guitar and tried to learn “Let It Be” by them.  I absolutely suck at playing guitar but, if you are practicing social distancing, no one will know.
  • Painting is another thing you could do.  My dad painted a lot.  Matter of fact, many of you have told me you have paintings that he did.  He seemed to be good at social distancing also, which is probably where I got it from.  I have tried painting, and it would fall under the same category as my ability to play guitar, so I didn’t get that attribute from him.
  • Another weird thing I do is write handwritten notes to people on a pretty regular basis.  People really appreciate a handwritten note!  Think of someone you want to affirm and write them a note.  I think the U.S. mail is still open, and people generally go to the mailbox by themselves, so this would fall under the guidelines.
  • I have also heard the last couple of weeks that people have discovered that big shiny piece of furniture in their kitchen can also be used to cook food.  Now would be a great time to start cooking again.  Maybe start with a frozen pizza or some pasta and expand from there.  Our meat supplies are in good shape, so the sky is the limit on what you might try to create.
  • Last, but not least, read a book.  I don’t know how long this social distancing is going to last, but some of my favorite really long books would include The Holy Bible by God, Pillars Of The Earth by Ken Follett, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and Agony and Ecstasy by Irving Stone.  A shorter one that I just read is The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.  I really enjoyed it, and it is a pretty quick read.

I hope some of these suggestions will help you cope with the coming days of social distancing.  I have been doing it all my life and can tell you it’s not so bad.

Getting back to store business, I want to remind you that our store hours are from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm.  We also will be closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.  I know these changes are hard to get used to, but please do your best to plan your shopping based on these hours.

We are not doing any curbside service or delivery at this time.  We have had a lot of calls about this and if anything changes, I will let you know.

One thing I have changed is starting tomorrow, every Saturday and Tuesday, we will open from 8 am until 9 am exclusively for people in the high-risk categories to shop.  We have had a lot of calls about this, so this is the plan we put in place.  Please let anyone know that falls in this category that 8 to 9 on Saturdays and on Tuesdays will be dedicated exclusively to them for shopping.  If you do not fall in this category, please help us support this initiative by waiting until 9 am to shop.

Once again, I think we will all get through this as long as we continue to practice patience, understanding, and respect to one another.  I will continue to keep you updated with any changes and look forward to the day we are back to business as usual!

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,

Tom Butler

Changing Store Hours

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market.

Yesterday, I wrote to you about the present situation at the store. I spoke about the adjustments we have made over the last several weeks in our business and how our plans are constantly changing moving forward. I told you we would act quickly and decisively as conditions changed that were pertinent to this business and community.

As we work through these unsettled times, I have come to realize that this is not going to be a sprint but a marathon, and I need to plan accordingly. My most important job in running this business is trying to look into the future and make plans and decisions today based on what I see. My priorities when I do this are for our staff, our customers, and our community. There is nothing scientific about this approach. It is basically just a gut feeling I get. I don’t always get it right, but it has gotten me this far in my personal life and business, so I don’t know a better way?

That being said, while I still believe 100% that good hygiene, patience, kindness, and respect towards one another will get us through this, I am going to make some immediate adjustments to how we are going to operate our business. I don’t know how many miles we are into this marathon, but I do know our staff has been running a sprint up to this point, and we are going to have to start pacing ourselves. Being well rested physically and mentally will go a long way in keeping all of us healthy during these times.

In light of this:

– Starting today, March 17th, our store hours will be from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

– We will be closed every Wednesday and Sunday!!

      These measures will be in effect until further notice.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, but I feel like it is the best thing for my staff. It will also give us a better opportunity to serve you appropriately, when we can concentrate our efforts over five days instead of seven. Our staff will still receive their full pay and benefits, we will just be adjusting all of our schedules.

I chose Wednesday and Sunday based on our delivery schedules. We certainly do not want to interrupt those.

I want you to know that this is a very hard decision for me to make because I take very seriously that this community counts on us to be there for them. I can assure you we will still be here for you and, if we all plan accordingly, we will not miss a beat!

A few other things I want to cover

– We are going to cancel our cooking classes for the rest of March, so if you are signed up for any, be aware of these changes.

–  Several of our customers who are in the high risk categories have asked about making special accommodations to serve them. These would include delivery, curbside pick-up, and special shopping hours just for them. At this point, it will not be feasible for us to do these for a myriad of reasons. I will say, with our adjusted store hours, I am trying to figure out a way to carve out some exclusive times for the high risk folks to shop. I will let you know if we get that worked out. In the meantime, as I suggested yesterday, the morning hours are the least busy. Another suggestion would be, if you know high risk people, offer to shop for them. People helping people is what makes a community a community and this is a great one!

Finally, I met with our staff that have positions of leadership in the store. They are fully supportive of these changes, and my hope is that you will understand and support these decisions, also.

I look forward to the day I can write you and tell you everything is back to normal but until then, we will just keep doing the best we can with the ever changing circumstances!

As always, thanks for letting us be a part of your community

Tom Butler

An Update on Our Situation

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market.

I just wanted to get everyone up to date on the store at this time. Three weeks ago, we saw where that this virus situation was probably going to have a big impact on our community. In anticipation of this, we put in place more stringent cleaning and sanitizing procedures for the safety and health of all of us. I have also been in regular contact with Martha Buchanan, at the Knox County Health Department, about any adjustments we need to make to our procedures as we learn more about this virus. To date, she assures me our response is appropriate. She continues to emphasize the most important thing we can all do is be diligent in our personal hygiene, especially washing hands and staying home if we show any symptoms of illness.

Several people in the higher risk categories have called wanting to know the best time to shop in the store. My suggestion would be first thing in the morning. One, it is a little less crowded and secondly, after we close every night, we go through the whole store sanitizing all of the surfaces that the public and staff come in contact with. We also do this throughout the day, but everything starts out fully sanitized in the morning.

Going forward, we are going to keep adjusting to circumstances as they present themselves. We will not be having a sales flyer for the next couple of weeks because we have no idea what will be available to us. The supply chain has been greatly affected the last few weeks.

Presently, we are keeping the same store hours, but they may need to be adjusted based on staffing needs and inventory concerns. Please be mindful that this is a very fluid situation, so decisions we make are being implemented immediately.

Finally, our staff and business are members of this community, and we are going to do our part to make this situation as smooth as possible. My hope is that we can provide normalcy in these very abnormal times. We will base our business decisions on science and rational thought, not on the frenzy coming from the 24-hour news cycle and social media.

We have served this community, and you have supported us for the last thirty years. It has been a successful relationship because we have shared patience, understanding, and respect towards each other. Let’s keep doing that and I think we will all be fine.

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,

Tom Butler

Grocery Life November 19, 2019

Grocery Life November 19, 2019

By Tom Butler 

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market. I hope everyone is having a good week! We are gearing up for Thanksgiving around here, and I am sure most of you all are doing the same. This year, Thanksgiving falls late, so we are preparing for Christmas at the same time.

I think this makes about my 30th holiday season here at the store and a lot of the staff have been here at least fifteen years. We learn a little each year on how to make things go smoother, so the season is not nearly as intimidating as it used to be. Really the only thing you need to know at this store to get you through the holidays is NEVER run out of BEEF TENDERLOIN! You can screw up everything else and probably get away with it but don’t screw that up!! So far, we have never screwed that up. I think we also have it under control for this year as well.

We made our initial order of beef tenderloin Monday. We usually start with an order of eight to ten thousand pounds of it and we will build from there as the weeks go by. If you think that sounds like a lot, it is. You really realize it is a lot is when you get the bill for it about ten days later. I used to want to throw-up when I would get the bill for the initial order but after thirty years it becomes much easier to stomach. I am sure if my wife knew how much money I had to bet each year on Christmas business she would be throwing-up all the way to Christmas morning. I get it, she seems to worry about things like the health and well-being of our children, keeping all of our daily lives organized, and making sure the kids stay on the right track for a successful future. All I ever have to worry about is NEVER running out of BEEF TENDERLOIN at Christmas!!

Getting back to Thanksgiving, I want to remind you about our Holiday Open House coming up this Saturday. It will be from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm. This is our biggest event of the year even though we only advertise this event in the store and through this blog. While everyone is welcome, it is designed for our customers and community as a show of appreciation for all the support you give us! We sometimes worry that we don’t advertise it enough but when we see the crowd show up on Saturday, the worry turns to panic that we didn’t prepare enough food.  I have learned through the years that “word of mouth” is the best advertising… and especially potent in the Rocky Hill community!

Some of the vendors coming this year include: Vienna coffee, Tomato Head, Cruze Farm, Blackberry Farm, Fanatic Brewery, Blue Bell ice cream, Mayfield Dairy, Carnathan Honey, Mamie’s Cheese Wafers, Toffee Treats, Heavenly Chocolate, Shrimp Dock, Cooks on the Curb, Barbara Tenney, Gringo Salsa and many more. They will all be sampling their products and sharing holiday recipes and ideas with you. Our staff will also be preparing some great meats, side items, and desserts for you to try as well. My advice would be not to eat before you come so you will have room to try everything.

Finally, as some of you have probably noticed and may have already participated in, our annual Second Harvest food drive has started in the store. This is a program we started several years ago. We make available in the store, five- and ten-dollar food bags you can purchase and donate to Second Harvest. We have already sent two pallets of food to Second Harvest and we have two more pallets waiting to be picked up and the holidays are just now getting started. I would love to take credit for this but all we do is facilitate the program. It is your generosity that makes this program such a success. I really appreciate all you do for the less fortunate among us and am proud the store gets to play a small part in it. Keep up the great work!

Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday, it should be a great kickoff to the holiday season!

As always, thanks for letting us be a part of your community,

     Tom Butler

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Butler and Bailey Market

7513 S Northshore Dr.

Knoxville, TN 37919


Grocery Life November 13, 2019

Grocery Life November 13, 2019

By Tom Butler 

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market. I hope everyone is doing well! I have not written in a while, so I am way past due on filling you in on some important dates.

The first one is on November 23rd. This is the date of our annual Holiday Open House. As most of you know, this is the event when we showcase all of our local and regional products. The producers and vendors of these products will be here sampling them. Some of them have come every year since we started doing this event and we also introduce several new ones every year. This year will be no exception. A couple of new products we will be introducing are handmade soups from The Shrimp Dock here in Knoxville and pimento cheeses from Cooks on The Curb, another local success story.

Shrimp Dock Soups
Cooks on the Curb Pimento Cheeses

The hours of the Open House will be from 11 am until 2 pm and as always it is a free event! We hope you will join us for this special day!

We also will be sampling some of our own favorite holiday products and recipes. This means lots of products from our deli and bakery as well as our meat department.

Almost every one of our local vendors were discovered by you, our customers, so the vendors and I want to thank you for introducing us to each other.  That is how we continue to grow our businesses in an ultra- competitive marketplace.

The next big event will be the Rocky Hill Christmas Parade. This will be on December 7th from 3 until 7 pm. The parade is put on by the Rocky Hill Business District to show our appreciation for the support this community has given our businesses for all these years.

The parade itself will start at 6 pm. My suggestion would be to come to the entire event. Prior to the start of the parade at six, there will be live music from local artists as well as food from several local food trucks, and arts and crafts displays from some talented Rocky Hill folks. I imagine there will also be a lot of activities planned for the children of the community. This is the sixth year of the parade and it gets bigger and better every year!

This is a great time of year to be a part of the Rocky Hill community. I hope you will take advantage of these events as well as all the other positive things our community has to offer!

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community!

Tom Butler

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Butler and Bailey Market

7513 S Northshore Dr.

Knoxville, TN 37919


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