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Robertson County Embraces the Old and the New

This region north of Nashville is deeply rooted in its traditions while also welcoming progress as it looks to the future.

By Laura Hill on May 5, 2023

The Fortunate Sons perform at the Robertson County Courthouse during the Sunset Concert Series in downtown Springfield, TN.
Nathan Lambrecht

For generations, Robertson County residents have cherished a quality of life that respects the area’s history, looking to the future with optimism, but with determination to hold on to its traditions, too.

Now, residents are finding that tradition, a deep-rooted sense of community and progress all go hand in hand. Locally grown entrepreneurs in Robertson County have energized venerable, old buildings and launched businesses that have helped grow their community.

Brewing Community

“I have lived in Springfield most of my life, but I had never paid any attention to this building,” says Karen Shoemaker of BS Brew Works, located in a storefront on Main Street in Springfield. She remembers it as an unremarkable storefront on the outside.

“But when we saw the barrel-vaulted ceiling and exposed brick inside, we knew we had something to build on,” she says.

Her husband, Shane, his partner, Bob Smith, and both families refurbished the building’s interior with their own bare hands. Beneath age, they found character. “We believed Springfield needed a place where people could speak with each other,” Shoemaker says. “We wanted to grow a community of people who would come in and get to know the person beside them.”

The business opened in 2019 and word got out quickly. Then, six months after opening, COVID-19 struck. Again, friends and neighbors stepped up to save the fledgling craft beer brewery.

“People said to us, ‘We are not going to let you close because we need this place too much,’” Shoemaker says.

BS Brew Works weathered the pandemic and today is a vibrant community gathering spot where families come with their kids to play board games, watch a high school football game or just have a well-brewed beer and talk to a new friend.

Golly G’s Coffee, Ice Cream & Sweets in Greenbrier, TN
Jeff Adkins

Percolating Relationships

In Greenbrier, what once was known for years as Tracy’s Texaco is now home to Golly G’s Coffee, Ice Cream & Sweets, fueling Robertson County residents with homemade goodies. The former tire shop and gas station had a special appeal for owner Joey Boykin when he was approached to consider the spot at Highway 41 and East College Street for a branch of his business.

“I’ve always loved old gas station buildings,” says Boykin. “I’m an old soul, so vintage cars and filling stations are in my blood. I saw what that building could be right away.”

Boykin, who also owns Golly G’s stores in Clarksville and Pleasant View, worked to customize the shop’s interior.

“We wanted to pay homage to the history of the building, and we have a brand that lends itself to that sense of a simpler time, a time that celebrated Americana in the ’50s and ’60s. It’s really worked out. People love that location, the feel of the indoor and outdoor space that kind of melds together. It’s a great place for the community to come together for a concert or just a game of corn hole.”

First Friday Night Market in downtown Springfield, TN
Nathan Lambrecht

A Friendly Destination

Springfield’s Main Street has welcomed another business that holds the past close to its heart. Historic Perk, located on South Main Street, was inspired by the coffee shop where characters on “Friends” met, Central Perk.

“We wanted the same vibes and feel, a place where people would just come and hang out and be friends,” says Brandon Batson, who owns Historic Perks with his wife, Tamara.

Historic Perk’s building, once a dance studio, boasts brick walls, lots of wood and an airy, open feel. The menu includes coffee and non-coffee drinks, lattes, espressos and a tasty selection of sandwiches, salads and snacks.

Like fellow Springfield business owners the Shoemakers, both Batsons have roots in this community. And like them all, Golly G’s owner Boykin sees something special in this historic but modern community.

“Robertson County is holding on to the great things that make it special, while welcoming things that will make it even better. I love looking out and seeing huge fields of corn or tobacco, and I hope that never changes. But hopefully, we can embrace growth in a smart way that enriches the community,” Boykin says.

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