Visiting Bush's Best Visitors Center, Chestnut Hill TN
By John Roberts
Los Angeles, California
July 11, 2019 6:33am CST
You could say this place is full of beans and be right. Most of you are familiar with the brand Bush’s Baked Beans and seen those TV commercials with Jay Bush and his talking dog Duke who is always scheming to get the family recipe. Bush’s Visitor Center is located at Chestnut Hill, Tennessee in the Smoky Mountain foothills not all that far from Dollywood for tourist traffic. So why Chestnut Hill which is some distance down country roads from the interstate? A.J. Bush opened a general store there in 1908 and that was the beginning of Bush Brothers and Company now a major still family owned corporation. Chestnut Hill is home to Bush’s primary factory facility. Unfortunately, no factory plant tours and also no tours of the white family house built by A.J. Bush because the family uses it when visiting Chestnut Hill. You can see the house across the street from the visitors center. The visitors center is inside the 1911 general store which has obviously been expanded for tourism. The general store is fully stocked with every Bush bean flavor and Bush’s merchandize. Buy some cans of beans then go eat some beans at Bush’s Family Cafe. So what is there for visitors to do besides buy and consume beans? The theater is nice. The movie does a basic rundown though Bush history and of course extolls the awesomeness of Bush’s Baked Beans. A.J. Bush was a storekeeper when approached to operate a cannery. That proved a profitable venture and he branched out to acquiring other canning facilities. Eventually the family transitioned into canning and marketing their own brand products rather than canning for other concerns. The famed baked beans arrived in the 60s to success. The commercials with Jay and Duke helped establish Bush’s as a household name. The small museum is not too bad and contains some interesting artifacts including A.J. Bush’s office chair. Family and company history presentations. Displays of vintage tools, canning equipment and product cans. A section covers the commercials. Visitors may leave full of beans or not.
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