Few people know that almost every tool, photograph, sign and toy that decorates each Cracker Barrel Old Country Store location is authentic. When the first restaurant opened in 1969, founder Dan Evins turned to Don and Kathleen Singleton, owners of a local antique store, to locate the implements that used to be found in old country stores. Today, their son Larry Singleton continues the unique task of finding local and regional artifacts for new Cracker Barrel locations.
At the company’s home office in Lebanon, Tenn., Singleton oversees a collection of more than 90,000 artifacts. From the Décor Warehouse, Singleton’s team restores and archives every artifact that is purchased by the company. As soon as Cracker Barrel breaks ground on a new location, Larry and his team start planning. They research the town’s history to identify artifacts that will complement the town and region. Selecting from the collection inside the Décor Warehouse, designers carefully begin the layout process on full size replicas of the restaurant's interior walls. After placing each artifact, the finished design is photographed. The artifacts are then carefully packed and sent along with the photograph to the new store. The design is later recreated at the store just as Singleton and his team intended.
With every new store, Cracker Barrel honors America’s heritage by creating another "museum" inside the store. Each new store opens with approximately 1,000 original artifacts that give it a homespun appeal for residents and an interesting twist for visitors. During his tenure, Singleton has purchased more than 600,000 original artifacts that are now on display. From this enormous inventory, Cracker Barrel has filled more than 600 locations with artifacts that bring those old country store memories to life.
Although Larry has a team that helps with the restoration and design process, he is still the only person who purchases artifacts for the stores. By doing so, he has created quite a reputation for Cracker Barrel among antique dealers. Singleton has made Cracker Barrel so widely known throughout the restaurant industry that antique dealers understand the Cracker Barrel "look" and will call Larry when they find memorabilia that matches the company’s nostalgic theme.
The Singleton family has helped create the warm atmosphere that exists in every Cracker Barrel location nationwide. Thanks to them, guests can enjoy the hearty, home-style meals served at Cracker Barrel in a welcoming place that evokes the true spirit of a 1900’s-era country store.
We invite you to take the online "décor tour." The tour features photographs of the Décor Warehouse and the unique process of creating the authentic Cracker Barrel look.
- There are about 90,000 pieces in the Cracker Barrel Décor Warehouse and another 700,000 in stores. All items are originals—there are no reproductions.
- Every Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has an ox yolk and a horseshoe hanging over the front door, a traffic light over the restrooms, a rifle over the mantle, a wall telephone next to the mantle, and a cracker barrel with a checker board in front of the fireplace.
- The back of the Décor Warehouse is where the new merchandise comes in on trucks and is restored if necessary. Décor items are collected from throughout the U.S.
- Once items are cleaned, prepped and catalogued, they are kept on shelves in the front part of the Decor Warehouse until they are pulled and sent to stores.
- The 1926 Model T, nicknamed “Ole Lightening,” which sits just inside the warehouse, once stood in front of the Sweetwater, TN, store. Larry Singleton drove it around the Atlanta Motor Speedway before one of the Cracker Barrel 500 races in the mid-1990s.
- Whenever Cracker Barrel builds a new store, the Décor team researches the area to learn about people, agriculture or industries. That new store will have décor reflective of the community.
- For each new store, the Décor team does a mock-up of the walls, mantle and front porch design at the Décor Warehouse. Then they critique it, change it, photograph it and pack up it for delivery to the new store. It was Cracker Barrel founder Danny Evin’s idea to use this process.
- Each store has an average of 1,000 items