Success Story for:

Cedric and Mildred Knott of Knott’s Foods

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The 2016 Tennessee Small Business Administration’s Family Owned Small Business of the Year opened shop in 1947, in Paris, Tennessee.  From their home on Curtis Street, Cedric and Mildred Knott saw an opportunity to use Mildred’s personal recipes for sandwich spreads and sell them to local businesses.  That was the beginning of a sixty-nine year commitment to quality and customer service by Knott’s Foods.  

Knott’s Wholesale Foods, Inc. has become a full-scale production and distribution center.  Still located in Paris, all the original products that were created in Cedric and Mildred’s kitchen are still in production.  Their products; pimento cheese, chicken salad, ham salad, deviled ham, tuna salad and egg salad are sold in seventeen states and grace the shelves of prominent stores throughout the southeast. 

When Jerry Knott died from cancer in 2011, his wife Cindy found herself as majority stock holder of the company.  The TSBDC at UT Martin assisted Cindy in attaining the Woman-Owned Business certification.  As a woman-owned business, Knott’s Foods seeks government procurement, taking advantage of bid match searches for added opportunities.  They were also paired with an undergraduate marketing class at UT Martin. This provided an opportunity for Knott’s Foods to gain perspectives from a younger demographic and develop a stronger marketing piece.

Currently experiencing a 24% increase in sales growth, the outstanding quality of their products and focus on customer service is what fuels Knott’s Foods success. The company’s goal is to exceed customer expectations and provide them with the best product available. 

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