Jim Price, Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 Chairman, said every time there is a ribbon-cutting, it shows the area is growing.
On Feb. 14, Price oversaw another sign of Morristown’s growth as the ribbon was cut on Circle S Butcher Block & Farm Kitchen on Cold Creek Drive. The new location, which opened on Jan. 27, replaced its original building on West First North Street across from the Citizen Tribune, which was its home for several years.
“We want to thank the community for supporting us at (our new) location, and we wanted to thank those who supported us at the other location,” said co-owner Claudia Shumaker, who runs the restaurant with her husband, Chip. “We started off as a butcher shop, and we got bigger and bigger.”
A larger space was needed to accommodate a growing clientele and a desire to expand the menu and offer more items in addition to the sandwiches and quality meats Circle S is known for. The restaurant now serves dinner, and has more tables for dining.
“(Space and visibility) was a big issue, and we wanted to do more variety,” Claudia Shumaker said. “With the expanded space, we can do things like salads, French fries and cheese sticks – and we can actually cook the steaks we’ve sold for years now.”
The idea for Circle S was derived from the Shumakers’ selling beef from their cattle farm in the Lakeway Area a few years ago. Their beef became so popular that they leased a building in Morristown to handle the demand.
“Once we started the deli, (customers) started asking us to cook,” Chip Shumaker said. “We got bigger and bigger to the point we outgrew that place.”
Chip Shumaker was born and raised in Ecru, Mississippi, a small town in between Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis Presley and Oxford, where the University of Mississippi is located. The Mississippi Delta is also where he gets catfish he sells to customers, the only place where he gets them, because he believes in getting the best possible products.
“I take pride in serving good quality food,” he said. “I take pride in getting the best products we can get.”
Circle S takes pride in everything they do, even down to the furniture. The chairs were built by Amish manufacturers in Pennsylvania, while the rest came from the imagination and hard work of Chip Shumaker himself - even down to the walls.
“That was part of my design. I did every bit of this,” he said. “I was in a furniture framing business when I was 18 years old, and I manufactured frames for Ashley Furniture from 1989 to 2002.”
Mounted deer and a wild turkey line the walls of the restaurant, trophies of Chip Shumaker’s various hunting trips in Mississippi, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and other states.
“This is something I’m proud of,” he said. “Everything in here is something that was taken by me or my kids.”
Circle S is proud to provide a family-friendly environment among its employees and its customers – and it’s looking for more employees to handle the ever-increasing customer traffic.
Shumaker also said there need to be more locally-owned and operated establishments in the area, not just his.
“There used to be a time where there were mom-and-pop stores all over the place,” he said. “We need to get back to that, but I think we are.”