Who Was Uncle Herschel McCartney?
Uncle Herschel was Cracker Barrel founder Dan Evin’s real uncle, the younger brother of Dan’s mother. He helped shape not only Cracker Barrel’s image but also its values. He was our own “goodwill ambassador” to the public. Uncle Herschel was a wealth of knowledge about what rural America’s old country stores were really like. He was a salesman for Martha White Flour Company for 32 years, and his job was to travel the rural south calling on many a town’s general stores. Like many Cracker Barrels today, the community general stores were more than just a place to purchase goods. They were a gathering place for folks to take the time out from the chore-filled day to visit with a neighbor, or two, exchange pleasantries or just talk about the weather. Herschel spent many a workday traveling to these old country stores that were complete with cracker barrels, checker boards and rockers on the front porches. He was quite a storyteller himself and became a familiar and friendly face among the locals in many southern communities. After coming to Cracker Barrel after his retirement, Herschel brought the long-standing tradition of being a good neighbor to each and every Cracker Barrel store. He spent most of his working life bringing forth the important yet simple message of what makes a business successful…that people should be treated just as we would have them treat us. He was known throughout Cracker Barrel for his genuine sincerity.
The Uncle Herschel memorial also features a third unoccupied bench. This "invites" anyone to rest for awhile and delight in the nostalgia. The server in the sculpture is talking to Uncle Herschel and he is listening.