Fifty-six years ago today, George W. Sampson founded Cherokee Distributing Company with four trucks, seven employees and a commitment to excellent service. It has been a joy to watch Cherokee Distributing evolve over the decades. It is even better to see that in addition to our growth, Cherokee has remained passionate about providing outstanding customer service.
We began with a small, print advertisement in the local newspaper, which featured Miller Brewing Company’s Miller High Life, our flagship brand. Since then, Cherokee Distributing has carved a considerable niche in East Tennessee, offering leading brands of beer, malts, ciders, high-gravity brews and non-alcoholic beverages to suit a wide range of consumer tastes.
In celebrating our 56th anniversary, we commend those who have enabled us to continue serving this great region of Tennessee. Because of our employees, customers and community, we’ve enjoyed a tremendous amount of support through the years that has brought us to this point.
Those who work at Cherokee remind us of how far we have come and why the company has been successful. They share a company-wide love for East Tennessee and have many fond memories from their years working here.
General Manager Jeff Knight lists “farm parties, the One Millionth Case party and spending time with Big George (Cherokee founder George Sampson) on Saturday mornings” as cherished memories with the company, describing it as “a family business that supports our employees and community.”
Sales Executive Craig Segrest can take us back in time as well. He remembers using pocket calculators to total sales tickets and when our product listings filled just one page. Route books were even handwritten.
Farris Tindell, our chain sales director, is approaching a milestone anniversary with us. “In February of 2014, I will be here 30 years,” Tindell said. “I guess you can tell I like it … all the owners of this company at one time or another took time to work with and teach me things that helped my development.”
“East Tennessee is such a beautiful part of the state, the mountains, the lakes, the people that come from all the different walks of life,” Tindell added. “And not only do I get to work here, I get to enjoy all the different outside activities such as fishing, boating, hunting and hiking. I like the football, too.”
Casey Cash, one of our category managers, appreciates the interaction with customers and the challenges of working for Cherokee.
“This job is always changing and never gets the least bit boring,” Cash said.
Rick Fowler, our product supply coordinator, arrived at Cherokee Distributing nine years ago because he wanted to join Jeff Knight, as they had worked together years ago in Texas.
Fowler’s fondness for his company stems from “the initial commitment and help, both emotionally and financially, from Cherokee and Jeff to help me begin a new chapter in my life here in East Tennessee,” Fowler said.
Segrest echoed that closeness.
“Some of my best friends are our customers and fellow employees,” Segrest said. “Some of these friendships will last a lifetime.”
We are a family at Cherokee. And we consider our suppliers, customers and vendors a part of that extended family. Thank you to everyone in East Tennessee. You are all a part of our success for 56 years, and we look forward to serving you for decades to come.