DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — Bush Beans in Jefferson County just opened its revamped museum and visitor center after being closed for about six months.
Now, people of all ages can step inside and learn about the company's history in an interactive way, and it's all for free. The homegrown business is bringing in families from across the globe, while also boosting the local economy.
As soon as you step inside the bean museum in Dandridge, you're greeted with beans of all shapes and sizes. Everywhere you look, there's something new to learn or experience.
The company says beans are the center of their universe, that's why there's a giant golden bean on the second level.
The museum is inside the original general store of A.J. Bush in Chestnut Hill. He was the founder of Bush Brothers. Over the years, the company has reworked and revamped the space, but it's still a spot for the community to enjoy.
"Today, it is the centerpiece of Bush Beans," General Manager Scott Schroeder said. "It's what we chose to highlight our family history and also the brand."
Bush Beans was founded in 1908, and the same family who started it is still involved in the business. They are proud of the history and legacy they have built in the Jefferson County community.
On top of a 10-minute video about the company's brand, there are plenty of other items and interactive exhibits families can use.
There's a scale that tells people their weight in beans if they step on it. There's also a new touchscreen wall, showcasing every Bush Beans product, recipes you can use them for and where you can buy each can.
It's been about 12 years since the museum first opened, so it was time for a refresh.
"We actually laid it out a little bit different this time, in telling people about our core values, telling people about how beans are growing, where beans come from, and just, in general, trying to educate people more about the bean," Schroeder said.
Beans are a universally-loved food item, and Bush Beans knows how special it is to have the ability to educate others about everything from the root to recycling.
"We get people from all over the United States coming to the visitor's center," Schroeder said. "Of course, a lot of them come from Sevierville, and the one thing that I can say, when people are on their vacation, they like to see something a little different."
Bush Beans is off the beaten path, but in a beautiful area at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.
It's completely free to come to the museum and visitor center. There is still a general store and gift shop attached to the space. There is also a café next door, where you can try the famous pinto bean pie.