An Unlikely Investment: Not Your Typical Preservation Project

Apr 05, 2019 at 01:18 pm by PaigeAtwell


By Paige Atwell

Puckett’s of Leiper’s Fork has been serving customers from Williamson County and beyond since 1953. In fact, it is the first Puckett’s location and where the story of its legacy began.

In 2008, Owner Andy Marshall sold the location to locals Rob and Shanel Robinson to focus on the expansion of Puckett’s. Little did they know, this would be the beginning of what would be an eleven-year preservation project.

“Puckett’s Leiper’s Fork is the original and has been serving Tennessee since 1953,” explains Rob. “It is a terrific place to come slow down, eat some great BBQ, hear some terrific music and make some new friends.”

Despite having an influx of crowds and recognitions, including Best Burger, Best Breakfast, Favorite Retail Merchant and Business Lunch, Puckett’s of Leiper’s Fork has, since its original opening, operated with only one bathroom. That’s right, just one. And according to Rob, if you’ve ever waited in line to use it at their restaurant, you’ll know exactly what they are up against.

In theory, adding additional facilities should be no problem. But in reality? There’s a little bit more to it. Not only did they need more land to accommodate the extra space, but they would also need a water filtration system to help run it on the historic property.

“After eight years of pumping and hauling our wastewater with no solution, Charlie and Shannon Martin were kind enough to sell us the land we needed for the field lines for the store,” says Rob. “The last three years, we have been working closely with T-squared engineering and Williamson County to design a septic system to service the store.”

While it’s clear that the Leiper’s Fork community was grateful for their efforts, Rob and Shanel found that they were constantly being asked by loyal customers and locals, “what can we do to help?” As you can imagine, such a large-scale product comes at a rather hefty expense. So far, the project has cost $580,000, and it’s not done just yet. That’s why Rob and Shanel decided to start a Go Fund Me campaign for people to contribute to the cause.

“We are trying to preserve our place in this community and this renovation and investment will ensure that
we remain a central hub for Leiper’s Fork,” says Rob. “By creating the Go Fund Me campaign, we hope to engage our patrons to get involved in our future, and we have some fun rewards in place based on their level of investment.”

While they are still in the process of compiling a full list of ways to show their gratitude to donors, Rob and Shanel have already committed to putting the name of any $100+ donor on the wall of the new facilities, while the top two funders will be getting a whole stall in their honor.

While it’s hard not to laugh a little at the thought of a $580,000 bathroom, there is truly something to be said about the efforts of this community, and Rob sums it up best: “This is an eleven-year preservation story. A fight to save an old country store, a national historic landmark and the heart of a small community. To us, it is a thread in the fabric of small town America that needed saving.”

To learn more about the preservation project and Puckett’s Leiper’s Fork, visit To donate to their Go Fund Me campaign, visit