FOUNTAIN CITY - A tradition during the holiday season and all year round in Fountain City is shopping at one specialty grocery store. It is a place that's been a comforting part of the community for almost a century.
"My grandfather said it's hard to make it without customers," Perry Pratt said.
That's why three generations of the Pratt family have put customers first at Pratt's Country Store. Perry Pratt is the current owner.
"They've been on that corner over there and this corner and next door," he said, pointing to the store's previous locations.
Now it's at the intersection of Jacksboro Pike and Tazewell Pike in Fountain City. The neighborhood store has changed locations and tweaked the name over the years but the friendly, family atmosphere remains the same.
"We have relationships with farmers that we have dealt with for years," he said.
He is proud to support local farmers and suppliers.
"We have local ground beef from the Mitchell Family Farm. That's been one of the best things for us. And Cruz milk. Local, specialized at the same time high quality products," he said.
It's a much different mix of products from what was on the shelves when the Fountain City store opened in 1923.
"My grandfather really had like a mercantile. Like 'Little House on the Prairie' kind of thing. And he sold nails and caskets and feed and seed and stuff like that," he explained.
His dad took it over and then Perry continued the family business.
"There are people who have been coming in here who have watched me grow up. They watched my dad grow up. They shopped with my grandfather. They remember what they call the old store, the store that was here before this one and the one that was before that one," he said.
The Pratt family has deep roots in Fountain City.
"I have a sister. She works up the street at historic Greenwood cemetery. We keep it right here local," he said.
Perry and his family live about a half mile from the store.
"We just like it here. It's our home," he said.
Perry and his wife Kellie have three children, but he doesn't know if the store will pass to a fourth generation. He's just happy Pratt's Country Store is a staple in Fountain City.
"It's a miracle we're still here. We feel like a little fish in a big pond and it's a miracle we're still here. God has certainly blessed us and we are thankful to Him and our community. People love us and we love people," he said.
Inside the store you'll find all that fresh local food. Outside, Pratt's has plenty of gourds and plants to perk up your Thanksgiving table or porch.
(© 2017 WBIR)