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Local businesses win Ovation Awards
Pictured in April 2012 when they opened Smooth Rapids are co-owners, from left, Michael Lockhart, Jimmy Barker, Todd Barker and Mickey Heath. They are pictured with Brooklyn Grissom.

Two Warren County businesses have been recognized with Ovation Awards by the Upper Cumberland Business Journal.
Smooth Rapids Outfitters and Cumberland Caverns are being honored by the regional business newspaper in the category of Excellence in Tourism Promotion.
Smooth Rapids Outfitters is a kayak and tube rental business that also operates a campground. Earlier this year, Smooth Rapids Outfitters opened a general store at 245 Durham Street on the Barren Fork River with a spacious deck overlooking the water. Plans are to have a restaurant operational there by the end of the summer. The store is accessible from the river.
Smooth Rapids Outfitters also organizes a music festival, now called Reggae at Smooth Rapids. This will be its second year and dates are Aug. 5-6. There are 19 bands scheduled to perform. Weekend passes include tent camping and one kayak trip.
Smooth Rapids is celebrating over four years in business, first opening in April 2012. It is co-owned by Mickey Heath, Todd Barker, Jimmy Barker, and Michael Lockhart. It can be reached at (931) 4-KAYAK-1
Cumberland Caverns just celebrated 60 years in business earlier this year on July 4. It attracts more than 40,000 visitors annually for folks eager for an underground exploration. Overnight trips and adventure tours are becoming increasingly popular, according to marketing director Kelly Roberts.
Cumberland Caverns has gained new fame in recent years as the site for Bluegrass Underground. The Bluegrass Underground series has made several notable lists as one of the most unique concert venues in the nation and the world.
The story in the Upper Cumberland Business Journal announcing the Ovation Award winners is as follows:
The Upper Cumberland is brimming with talent, imagination and creativity. Each year, the Upper Cumberland Business Journal dedicates an entire print edition to highlighting just a handful of those folks. We call them our Ovation Award winners.
This year, a common theme existed among many of the nominees. All were impacting by the Great Recession – which, to some degree, is not unique – but the downturn drove them deeper into their respective niches. Many have emerged stronger than ever. Their stories can be found on the subsequent pages.
“I always say that Ovation Award season is my favorite. This year is no exception,” UCBJ editor Liz Engel said. “It’s no secret that there’s a lot of ground to cover in the Upper Cumberland, but these awards really give us a chance to highlight not only the well-known companies and individuals, but those who are quietly making this a better place to live, work and play.”
The 2016 list includes 28 total winners across seven categories. They represent 10 of the region’s 14 counties. A whopping 22 are first-time recipients.
“I think that says a lot about the diversity of our region,” Engel added. “We continue to uncover hidden gems with this list. That’s what makes the Ovation Awards so special.”
Since 2008, Ovation Award winners have been nominated by Upper Cumberland Business Journal readers and selected by the UCBJ staff. For more information or to nominate a business or business leader for 2017, call (931) 528-8852, visit or email



Excellence in Tourism
Cumberland Caverns, Warren County *
Smooth Rapids Outfitters, Warren County
ZIPStream Fall Creek Falls, Van Buren County

Favorite Restaurant
CG’s Pizza, Jackson County
Foglight Foodhouse, White County *
The Butcher’s Block,
Cumberland County
Bull & Thistle, Jackson County *
Blue Water Grille, DeKalb County
The Back Room Bistro, Putnam County

Best Individual Citizen/
Excellence in
Business Leadership
Lanny Dunn, Putnam County
Heart of the City Playground
Committee, Putnam County
Eddie Parker, Parker Charcoal,
Fentress County

Excellence in Manufacturing
Crossville Inc., Cumberland County *
Micro Metals, Fentress County
Jackson Kayak, White County
ATC Automation, Putnam County *
Spirit of Entrepreneurship
Lagniappe Spice Co., Putnam County
Fitzgerald Glider Kits,
Fentress/Cumberland/Pickett County
Naked Salsa, Putnam County
Ground Up Recycling, Putnam County

Favorite Retail Establishment
The Lamp & Lighthouse, Putnam County
HomeCORR, Putnam County
Shaffield’s Furniture,
White/Putnam County *
Smith County Drug Center,
Smith County

Excellence in
Professional Services
Cookeville Kitchen Sales,
Putnam County
J. Cumby Construction,
Putnam County
Winell Lee Hardwoods,
Putnam County
Cravens & Company Advisors LLC
Institutional Wholesale Company Inc.


* Indicates past Ovation Award winner