That’s a wrap! :: Looking back on 2017
What a year it’s been for A. Marshall Family Foods! We opened three new concepts ~ Puckett’s Gro. and Hattie Jane’s Creamery in Murfreesboro and Deacon’s New South in downtown Nashville; were featured on national television channels like Food Network and USA; and added a handful of outstanding new members to our team. We continue to be amazed and humbled by the love, friendship and support we receive from our restaurants’ middle Tennessee communities each day.
We’re the first to say that we wouldn’t be the company we are today without the hardworking, passionate, fun folks who make up our team. From our managers, servers and hosts to our bussers, chefs and administrative crew, each and every person has contributed to making 2017 one of our favorite years yet!
We aren’t the only ones who think our people are the best around, though. We’ve so enjoyed seeing many deserving team members receive local and statewide recognition for their achievements this past year. Here’s a recap…
We started off 2017 with a big round of applause for our COO, Claire Crowell, who received the prestigious 40 Under 40 award from the Nashville Business Journal and our marketing director, Rachel Layton, our Marketing Director, for being named one of the Nashville Business Journal‘s Women of Influence for the year.
The summer was really exciting, as we saw four of our best and brightest take home the Greater Nashville Hospitality Association’s Stars of the Industry awards in July. Ben Stepp, who was general manager of Puckett’s Gro. in Columbia at the time, was named Restaurant Manager of the Year; Noe Martinez, who works at Puckett’s Gro. in both Franklin and Nashville, was named Restaurant Employee of the Year; and Donnie Counts, executive chef at Homestead Manor, received the Chef of the Year award.
Claire Crowell was awarded Women in Tourism & Hospitality Leader of the Year, and Puckett’s Gro. in Nashville received the Gold Star Public Relations Community Service award for the “Funds 4 Food” campaign it ran in the spring to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Spearheaded by Rachel Layton and our marketing team, the campaign resulted in a donation of $20,000 to Second Harvest, which helped provide 40,000 meals to those in need in the community.
We were thrilled to find out in October that Noe Martinez received the state-level award for Restaurant Employee of the Year by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association (TnHTA.)
Ryan Blainey, general manager of Puckett’s in downtown Nashville at the time of Noe’s award, said he is the best employee he has ever had. Noe is committed to learning English and spends much of his free time studying the language with his wife and two young daughters. Despite being offered a server role as well as the opportunity to advance into management, Martinez has chosen to remain in his position as a busser until he feels prepared for more responsibility.
“It’s been proven to me that if you work hard, you can be anything you want to be,” he said. “Because of my job, I am able to buy a car, a house, and support my family and I continue to work to grow more and more. You just don’t have that chance in Mexico.”
Another surprise from the TnHTA was their selection of our CEO, Andy Marshall, as the 2017 Restauranteur of the Year! These prestigious awards honor those who have made notable
contributions to the hospitality and tourism industry in Tennessee and demonstrate strong
character, work ethic and leadership ability in their careers.
Andy received several other prestigious awards throughout the year. He was presented with the Boys & Girls Club TN Area “C.A.R.E.” Award at the organization’s Council luncheon in September. The award, which stands for “Children Are the Reason for Excellence,” annually honors someone with outstanding leadership and dedicated service to youth in his or her community. He was also named one of the Nashville Business Journal‘s Most Admired CEOs for the fourth year in a row.
In October, he was recognized by Middle Tennessee State University’s Jones College of Business for his unwavering commitment to service in the community. Andy was named a 2017 recipient of the Joe M. Rodgers Spirit of America Award, presented by his alma mater. Named for a former United States ambassador, businessman and the inaugural holder of the Jennings A. Jones Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise in the Jones College of Business, the award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated the highest ideals in keeping with the American spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship and commitment to others.
“Andy has made many contributions to the growth of the middle Tennessee area,” Dr. David Urban, dean of the Jones College of Business, said. “His tireless work in building his business, including the recent opening of Puckett’s Gro. and Hattie Jane’s Creamery in Murfreesboro, is making a huge impact on regional economic development. The students at the Jones College — especially those students in our Entrepreneurship program — can learn a great deal from him.”
Andy was most recently presented with the state-level Friend of Extension award from Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP), a national leadership organization which governs the local and statewide extensions of state universities’ agriculture branches. The Friend of Extension award is the highest honor presented to a non-Extension member. Andy received the award at the ESP Tennessee Omega Chapter 2017 State Meeting. He was recognized for his longstanding partnership with the University of Tennessee Extension in Williamson County and his contributions to growing the understanding and appreciation for agriculture in Tennessee through his restaurant and hospitality business across the state.
In 2017, A. Marshall Family Foods was also named to the Inc. 5000 list of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies for the fourth year in a row and received ten Williamson County Sizzle Awards among its restaurants, including Puckett’s Gro. and Puckett’s Boat House in downtown Franklin, and Homestead Manor in Thompson’s Station. Puckett’s Gro. in downtown Nashville was listed as one of OpenTable’s 100 Hottest Restaurants in America in September.
We are closing out 2017 with thankful hearts for the past year and lots of excitement for what’s to come. We’ll see y’all in 2018!