Farewell to Visionary and Cracker Barrel Founder, Dan Evins

Posted by on Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Danny Evins

Back in 1969 when Sam Walton was incorporating his company, local businessman Dan Evins was giving serious thought to changing the way people traveled.  The late 60’s was a time when our country’s interstate system was still young.  Goods and services along the highways were hard to come by and fast food chains were more common than a place to “set a spell” and get a hot home cooked meal.  Dan viewed mealtime as a special time to visit with family and friends and share food and conversation.  He also thought of a place where one could purchase things that make you feel good, like jars full of candy, and homemade jelly or jam.  Dan recalled  the places he used to visit as a young boy – the country store.  Evins thought maybe folks traveling the new highways might prefer a relaxing and comfortable place to stop in for a good home cooked meal, AND some unique shopping that would remind folks of our Amerian heritage.

In September 1969, the first Cracker Barrel Old Country Store was opened right here in Dan’s home town (which just happens to be mine too)  Lebanon Tennessee.  The original Cracker Barrel was right off Interstate 40 at Hwy 109.  I was just a kid when this store opened, but I have fond memories of dining there on a Friday night with my family.  This store was 5 minutes from my childhood home.

first cracker barrel

Here is a photo of the original store which was later relocated a few miles east right off the Lebanon Hwy 231 exit.  Since Evins opened this store over 40 years ago, America’s highways have welcomed over 600 Cracker Barrels in over 40 states to accomodate locals and weary travelers. The home office is located right here in Lebanon TN and has employed hundreds of local residents.  My husband was blessed to work for Cracker Barrel for over 18 years and was employed there during the company’s growth years.

Dan Evins passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer.  I would like to extend deepest sympathy to his family on behalf of our community.  He made a difference in the lives of countless individuals he chose to help and his business made such a positive impact on our community.  America should thank Dan for the dream he made into such a successful reality.  Although the time has come to say farewell to a visionary, Cracker Barrel shall remain an American icon.  Thank you Dan for bringing the South to the North and the East and the West.

Filed in Uncategorized | 6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Farewell to Visionary and Cracker Barrel Founder, Dan Evins”

  1. Tina McMahelon 16 Jan 2012 at 10:14 am 1

    Beautifully said, Tara. We don’t have a place like this on the west coast and I remember the first time I visited Cracker Barrel, I felt like I was home. I love that we can go there any time we want, now that we live here. What an awesome vision God gave this man. I am a firm believer in following that vision and dream even when people think you are crazy! Praying for his family.

  2. Garyon 16 Jan 2012 at 10:45 am 2

    Tara, I enjoyed your post about Dan Evins and Cracker Barrel. I am an employee for Cracker Barel for 5 years, but I have been a customer for decades. It is a good company. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories. Prayers for Dan’s family and close friends.

  3. carolinaheartstringson 16 Jan 2012 at 5:58 pm 3

    What a nice post Tara. Thank you for sharing with us all!

  4. bumbaon 17 Jan 2012 at 3:30 am 4

    How beautifully said! Thank you & may God be with his sweet family at this time & in the days to come. Heaven just got sweeter with him there (& those great pancakes &amazing hashbrown casserole!!!!!)

  5. carlin brookson 26 Jan 2012 at 9:20 pm 5

    Well said Tara. You write as well as you cook!

    God bless you & yours


  6. Taraon 27 Jan 2012 at 9:34 pm 6

    Thanks Carlin.