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Plans change for original Cracker Barrel

The government of Wilson County, the Fiddlers Grove Foundation and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. announced Friday alternative plans for the original Cracker Barrel building that was recently saved from demolition and transported to Fiddlers Grove.

The new plan came to life after the Cracker Barrel facilities team and Fiddlers Grove determined that recommissioning the building would be cost prohibitive and ultimately unsuccessful in light of its condition after decades of exposure to the elements.

Under the new plan, Cracker Barrel will integrate portions of the building into another project that will celebrate Cracker Barrel and its 50 year heritage in Lebanon. Planning for the project is underway and is likely to involve the creation of a museum in Lebanon, potentially in connection with a Cracker Barrel restaurant, where visitors will be able to experience Cracker Barrel’s humble beginnings in Wilson County and its rich history of pleasing people around the United States.

Cracker Barrel will oversee taking the building apart in order to salvage and store usable sections so that they can be repurposed in connection with the new concept. Other pieces and materials will be used in a variety of meaningful ways, including employee recognition awards and at Cracker Barrel’s home office in Lebanon. Despite the fact that Cracker Barrel hasn’t owned the building for more than 30 years, Cracker Barrel will be reimbursing the cost of the building’s move to Fiddlers Grove, as well as paying for its decommissioning and storage.

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto is thankful that the building was saved from demolition and that it will be repurposed in a way that honors Cracker Barrel’s connection to Wilson County and the city of Lebanon.

“Cracker Barrel is a great company, a great corporate citizen and an integral part of Wilson County, and we are so happy that the building will eventually be incorporated into an even better and more meaningful project that celebrates this heritage,” said Hutto. “We are looking forward to supporting this new project in any way we can.”

“As I recently told the mayor and the Fiddlers Grove Foundation, one of the things that makes Cracker Barrel what it is, our secret sauce if you will, is the fact that our roots started in Wilson County and remain planted here,” said Sandy Cochran, Cracker Barrel CEO. “We celebrate and cultivate this heritage as a part of our corporate culture. Although we didn’t own the building, we are pleased to be able to repurpose it in a way that will support our legacy here, and we are grateful for the opportunity to do so.”

“While we would have loved to have been able to place the building within Fiddlers Grove, it became apparent that this was not going to be a viable project, and we appreciate that Cracker Barrel was able to step in,” said Fiddlers Grove Foundation Treasurer Randall Clemons. “The mission of Fiddlers Grove is to preserve and celebrate the history of Wilson County, and with Cracker Barrel repurposing the structure in the way they intend, I’m confident that this will be achieved. While we would have liked to have been able to make it work at Fiddlers Grove, it’s a big win for Wilson County and Cracker Barrel’s history here.”

“The important thing is that the building will live on in a manner that reflects how much Cracker Barrel means to Wilson County and so many people here,” said Sue Vanatta, Wilson County councilwoman for District 23 and who spearheaded saving the building from demolition. “That I was able to help achieve this is something I’m extremely proud of. Like the mayor, I’m looking forward to supporting Cracker Barrel’s new project and their relationship with Wilson County in any way I can.”

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