Reeves Sain Kitchen Queen

By Becca George

Murfreesboro has some staple establishments and the Reeves-Sain Soda Shoppe is one of those. They are known for their milkshakes but they also serve soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods.  Behind these treats is Kathleen Reed who has been cooking for Reeves-Sain for 25 years.

Kathleen started with the Soda Shoppe in November of 1992 before it moved to the current location.  “I was hired to run the Soda Shoppe at the mall and then I got drafted into cooking,” laughs Kathleen, “But I love to cook anyway.”   She started by assisting in the kitchen and was soon asked to step in and run the kitchen temporarily. “My manager started looking for someone {to cook} and one day he came in and sat down at the counter,” explains Kathleen, “You could tell something was wrong and he said ‘I cannot find anybody to do this’. My words were to him, ‘I don’t mind helping you out for a little while.’ Twenty-five years later I am still helping and he isn’t here. That is all it took I guess, I love it.”

Kathleen is a one woman show in the kitchen three days a week preparing things like chicken, tuna and egg salad, pimento cheese, breads and baked goods. “I like to cook but I like to bake best,” she explains. Cookies are Kathleen’s specialty. “I just like baking desserts,” she laughs, “I like to try new stuff too.” Kathleen is one who likes to stay busy so she has no trouble keeping up with the busy Soda Shoppe. Many of the recipes were handed down in the kitchen but Kathleen developed her famous no-bake cookie recipe.

Her days begin at 5:00 in the morning and she works until the orders for the day are completed. “People ask me how long I work and I don’t mean to give a smart answer but until the work is done,” laughs Kathleen, “Some days are long, some days are short and I don’t know how to say no.”

The company has changed a bit over her 25 years, but still feels like a family. “When I started, there were about fifty employees, and everyone knew everyone,” says Kathleen, “Now there are many more than that.”

Kathleen isn’t just a staple to Reeves-Sain but to Murfreesboro as well. She grew up on a cotton and tobacco farm with her three sisters and brother in Murfreesboro and has been here all of her life. Kathleen learned to work hard from working alongside her family on the farm. “We used to chop the cotton so we wouldn’t have to pick it,” laughs Kathleen, “but we always picked it.” Her brother married at an early age so the girls of the family stepped up to help out. “That’s the reason we worked on the farm, daddy made boys out of us girls,” explains Kathleen.  
She has been married to her husband, Carl Reed, for almost 55 years. Their legacy is passed down by their two children, five grandchildren and soon to be eight great grandchildren—many of which are local.  They have many memoires of camping and traveling with their children, but one of Kathleen’s favorites was renewing their vows in Hawaii on their 49th wedding anniversary. “We went with my daughter’s church, Lighthouse Baptist,” says Kathleen smiling, “We had the most fun there ever was.”

The Reeves-Sain Soda Shoppe continues to be a favorite for its old-fashioned charm and excellent goods. Kathleen will remain behind the scenes helping guests feel right at home one cookie at a time. “I guess I’m doing ok,” laughs Kathleen