By Lynn West
New Albany Gazette
NEW ALBANY – According to a deed filed in the Union County Chancery Clerk’s office last week, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. has purchased property off Coulter Cove, adjacent to the Hampton Inn.
The Gazette tried unsuccessfully to confirm plans with the company’s home office in Lebanon, Tenn., on Monday. Construction Coordinator Melia Smith could only say New Albany is not currently on the construction schedule and referred the Gazette to Real Estate Coordinator Charlotte Nokes, who was out of the office.
The property is, like Hampton Inn, accessed from Coulter Drive. The plot is about two acres facing U.S. Highway 78, and was owned by former resident Bud McNeal, who once had a mobile home dealership on the site.
Cracker Barrel officials have been looking at property locally and getting information from city officials that relate to zoning, signage, utilities and other services.
The most any official connected to the project could say was that, as far as they knew, nothing negative turned up to kill a possible decision to open a Cracker Barrel here.
The indication was that if New Albany were to get one of the restaurants, it would be a year or more because of the company’s prior commitments to other restaurant projects.
Cracker Barrel was the brainchild of Dan Evins in the 1960s, in Lebanon where the company headquarters are now.. He was interested in providing a service to those traveling the new interstate but not so interested in “fast food.”
The first Cracker Barrel location opened on Sept. 19, 1969. By 1977 the company had 13 stores from Tennessee to Georgia.
The company went public in 1981 and was called one of the nation’s foremost growth chains, while Money Magazine once listed the company as one of the top 10 stocks in America, the history said.
In most recent financial report, the company listed total revenue of $719.2 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, an increase of 3.8 percent over the fourth quarter of the prior year.
Six new Cracker Barrel stores were opened in riscal 2015, according to the report.
Today, there are more than 600 stores in 4
The Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores closest to New Albany include Batesville, Columbus, Corinth, Horn Lake and Tupelo.