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             There are Tennessee towns few and far between that have been able to hold on to some vestiges of the past, and the Gleason Superette is just one of those special gems.  Nestled in the heart of Gleason on Front Street is a grocery specializing in a full line of groceries, drinks, and some of the best homemade sandwiches you will ever taste.  In addition, this one stop shopping, family-owned store also specializes in warm and caring smiles, genuine hearts, pleasant conversation, and top notch integrity.  The joyful spirit of the” Morris family” has served the citizens of Gleason since 1936 and has helped to make our downtown such a special and wonderful place to trade and do business.

 The Superette, U-Tote-Em, or Thomas’s, as many so fondly call our hometown grocery, is a vital community legacy serving the school, our churches, and the community at every opportunity.  What a joy it is to see students of all ages, candy and carbonated beverages in hand, resting lazily about the concrete steps of this beloved store!  The feeling of security and happiness on their faces after a long athletic practice or during the dog days of summer is priceless.  The Gleason Superette has stood the test of time becoming quite an institution in itself as a result of the dedication, persistence, and kindness of three generations of the Morris family.  The family runs the business with one hand in yesteryear and another in the present.  They still allow their customers the rather convenient and historical service of purchasing items “on the tab” meaning that customers come in once a month to pay their bill. 

The history of service to the citizens of Gleason began in 1936, the year Hughlon Morris began working for the U-Tote-Em Grocery Company which was founded in the early 1930’s by Mr. Glenn King and Mr. Ben Everett of McKenzie, TN.  This chain comprised approximately forty stores that stretched across West Tennessee and West Kentucky.  In 1956, Mr. Hughlon and his wife Georgie bought the Gleason store which provided the ideal opportunity for their son Thomas to join the business in 1960 after his successful career with the Kroger Company in Union City, TN.  Upon Mr. Hughlon’s retirement in 1965, Thomas and his wife Joyce purchased the store and changed the name to the Gleason Superette.  Their three children, Mike, Laurie, and Steve, grew up sacking groceries, greeting the public, and likewise serving the community they lovingly called home.  From 1965 until 1998, Thomas and Joyce operated this business and made it a family affair.  Mike and Laurie took over ownership from their parents while son Steve obtained a law degree from Vanderbilt University.  Roles slightly changed as Thomas and Joyce joyfully helped their children run the business until Thomas passed away in 2005, leaving a void in the hearts of many.  This man of kindness, humility, honor, and professionalism left a lifelong legacy that will always be felt when you walk in the doors of this establishment.  Today it is a joy to walk in and see Joyce carry on his legacy of service to her family and her community.  She provides expertise in dealing with the public and offers that caring word that makes your trip to the grocery store so much more than just a grocery purchase.

Everyone in the town of Gleason and surrounding areas has his or her own favorite story to tell of the patronage provided by this amazing family.  Delivering groceries to shut-ins, those without transportation, or those who are just experiencing hard times are just a few of the daily services provided by Mike, Laurie and their family.  I guess that is where the word “SUPER” comes from in the name of this store.  Serving the public has been and always will be an honor and a privilege for them.  Their impact and influence is far-reaching on old and young alike.  When you are visiting Gleason, be sure to stop in for some good conversation, and ice cold Coke, or maybe even a delicious ham, turkey, or liver cheese sandwich.  Without a doubt, it will be time well spent as you make a new friend while stocking your cabinets with grocery supplies for the week (Story by Kay Hudson).

Gleason Superette - Mike, Joyce and Laurie Morris



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