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100-Year-Old Companies: East Tennessee – News

East Tennessee is not only the home of America’s favorite national park, the Great Smoky Mountains, but it also boasts a rich history of businesses, several of which are celebrating a century or more of success. These centennial establishments have stood the test of time and endured many challenges, including world wars, the Great Depression, natural disasters and the pandemic.

TNECD is paying tribute to many of these companies, beginning with those located in counties that were designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission as distressed in 2019. Through their resilience, innovation and commitment to their communities, the below companies have contributed significantly to the growth and development of East Tennessee over the last 100+ years.

Learn more about the companies we visited in Scott and Morgan counties.


Whitehead Insurance group

Crossville, Jamestown, Oneida, Alcoa/Maryville, TN

Photo Credit: Whitehead Insurance Group, Oneida, TN

Whitehead Insurance Group is an independent agency with offices in Crossville, Jamestown, Oneida and Alcoa/Maryville, Tennessee. The company was founded by C.G. Black on April 21, 1903. It started as the Black Agency, then switched to Brown after being purchased by Frank Brown in 1946, and finally, it became Whitehead Insurance Group when Charles Whitehead bought it in 1980.

This independent agency sells all types of personal and business insurance.

To learn more, visit whitehead-insurance.com.


R.M. Brooks General Store

Rugby, TN

Photo Credit: R.M. Brooks General Store

R.M. Brooks General Store, a National Register of Historic Places landmark in Rugby, Tennessee, was established in 1917. Through the years, the store has been the center of social interaction and commercial exchange for both locals and visitors. Today, the store is a living museum of country life. Patrons are greeted with rocking chairs on the front porch, and once inside you’ll find the pot-bellied stove, original 1880s Rugby Post Office and other historic memorabilia. The store is also a restaurant that serves good, old-fashioned, southern country cooking.

To learn more about R.M. Brooks General Store, visit rmbrooksstore.com.


First National Bank of Oneida

Oneida, TN

Photo Credit: First National Bank of Oneida

First National Bank of Oneida is the oldest and only locally owned back in Scott County. It started as Scott County Bank in 1904, but in 1905 its name changed to Scott County National Bank until 1919, when it officially became First National Bank of Oneida.

Since its start in 1904, the bank’s leaders and employees have played a major part in community improvement by aiding in the development of utilities, improved schools, new businesses and industries and better roads, making it a leading force in terms of local economic and educational growth. The bank has had multiple homes over the years, but in September 2022 it moved into its current location at the corner of N. Main Street and Alberta Street in Oneida.

To learn more about First National Bank of Oneida, visit fnboneida.com.


Lay Family Furniture, a family tradition since August 1920

Oneida, TN

Photo Credit: Lay Family Furniture

Founded in 1920 by 23-year-old Arlie M. Lay, Lay Family Furniture was a staple in the early growth of Oneida, Tennessee. Now in its 104th year, the store is possibly the oldest continuously operated retail establishment in Scott County and continues to be run by the Lay family.

To learn more about Lay Family Furniture, click here to visit the company’s Facebook page.

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