A local family has taken a small restaurant started by their parents and made it into a local BBQ empire.
Cozy, comfortable, the smell of barbecue in the air. It's what Buddy's does best!
"People feel good about bringing their families there and enjoying the delicious BBQ that is so good!" says Suzanne Lindsey, Director of Marketing for Buddy's BBQ.
Suzanne is Buddy's daughter. She and the whole family are involved in the business.
"It truly is a family business. We all work every day. My brother is president of the company. My husband is vice president. My sister-in-law pretty much runs the show here as far as catering and the office," says Suzanne. "I'm director of marketing."
It's been that way since the beginning ever since Suzanne's mom, who was busy raising three kids, got the idea to open a restaurant.
"This is a woman who had abundant energy and just really wanted to do something else. So she found a restaurant for sale in Seymour, Tennessee called the Pixie Drive-In. She came home and told my dad and he was like, 'Okay, I'll buy it for you'," says Suzanne.
Pixie's Drive-In was a burger restaurant and it was the place to be back in 1967!
"We were so successful. The Pixie Drive-In became the spot in Seymour and everybody would come to the Pixie," says Suzanne.
It did so well, Buddy quit his job and joined his wife, LaMuriel, in the restaurant business. But they wanted to tweak the business plan a bit.
"They wanted to specialize in something and they both loved BBQ and they both had searched for BBQ in this area and didn't like what they found," says Suzanne.
So BBQ it was and still is!
"In 1972 that was the official start of Buddy's BBQ," says Suzanne.
And it took off.
"When we really became well-known in this area was in the 1982 World's Fair," says Suzanne. "Local people were more willing to try it because we were at the World's Fair."
All was going well and then came some sad news.
"Dad was diagnosed with melanoma cancer in 1990. Buddy died just a few years later. Shortly after a family friend also battling cancer started a race.
"She called me and she said I need you and I need somebody like Buddy's BBQ that can take this to the next level. So I went and talked to my family and they wanted to do it. It was really a way for us to take a really bad situation. Our family was hurting so bad because anybody who has been through a cancer experience knows it's so hard and so frustrating. It's out of your control," says Suzanne.
The Buddy's Race Against Cancer started out with a few hundred participants. Now, 6-thousand people get involved every year and they've raised $5 million dollars.
2013 brings a big anniversary-- 20 years since the race began.
"I know my dad would be just so proud of us for hanging in there and just continuing to support the TCSC."
This family, their restaurant, their charity-- all make Buddy's exactly what it's supposed to be. A family affair.
"I just love these people. They're just great and it's been a pleasure to serve them for 41 years."
One of your stories. There's no place like this one.