By Ben Lawson
When the Weigel’s opens in Seymour on Monday, it will mark the culmination of decades of waiting and legal wrangling.
The plot of land at the intersection of Boyd’s Creek and Chapman Highway was purchased by company chairman Bill Weigel almost 20 years ago, when the land became available for only a short time.
“We had to buy it suddenly,” Weigel said. “I had to make a decision right then. That’s not really how you want to buy land.”
Only later did they learn of the county ordinance prohibiting the sale of beer close to a public gathering place, which in this case was a church. With the Beer Board refusing to grant a license, Weigel had to hold the land and watch as Seymour grew.
“It was a good crossroads,” Weigel said. “I instinctively knew that would be a good location.”
After a beer license was granted to Pilot, Weigel’s, Food City and others fought the Beer Board’s decision and won.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Weigel said.
The new store was constructed based on the prototype now in use at 28 Weigel’s locations. Changes include a deli case for sandwiches as part of their goal to incorporate more food options such as fresh biscuits, eggs, cheese and sausage.
Weigel indicated the street entrances are complete, but future work might be necessary on the highways; details weren’t available, although he said work would start in the spring at the earliest.
“We’re going to help TDOT with any changes,” he said.
Weigel was particularly excited that the new location would allow them to include children from Sevier County into the company’s annual Weigel Family Christmas program.
The company provides money, which they raise through a golf tournament and Christmas bear sales, to children selected by the Salvation Army. The children are given $150 each and allowed to shop with a volunteer chaperone for whatever they desire.
The program, which celebrated its 14th year this month, will now be available to Sevier County children, too.
“It’s kind of a chance of a lifetime for them,” Weigel said. “And it’s one of our favorite times.”
Weigel’s will be mailing flyers with special discounts and giveaways to area residents in anticipation of the new stores grand opening on Jan. 16.
Long Wait Almost Over
By Ben Lawson