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VIProfile: Charlie Patel




By Sadie Fowler

Charlie Patel is well-known throughout Rutherford County for not only his philanthropy, but also the various business ventures for which he has been involved, mainly his businesses in the retail beverage industry.

Charlie and his wife of 20 years, Bina Patel, have one 16-year-old daughter, Isha Patel, and a son, Shaan Patel, who is 14.

After graduating from college, Charlie went to work as an electrical engineer for a few years before realizing he wanted to pursue a path in business. He and Bina opened a small wine store in front of Stones River Mall in 1996 named Stones River Liquors and in 2000, they decided to expand, moving their business to Thompson Lane, adjacent to Walmart.

After a few expansions and renovations, Stones River Total Beverages is now one of the largest stores in the state.

“My career has taught me that having a family business takes their support during ups and downs,” Charlie said, reflecting on his career. “But the number one lesson I’ve learned is listening to the customers. Customer service has always been my number one priority. The most important things are earning their trust, being honest, and building a relationship, which are the reasons why I am here today.”

In speaking of his most influential mentors, Charlie quickly points to his grandfather as playing a very important role early on in life, during his years spent in his native country of India. “He taught me what it takes to be a successful businessman,” he said. “My grandfather also taught me to donate 25 cents of each dollar earned. Later on, my mentor was my father-in-law. He helped me in achieving my dream here in the United States.”

The lessons of his grandfather clearly resonated with Charlie as he is keyed in to the community in many philanthropic ways. He is a board member of the City Schools Foundation and the Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association. He also proudly supports charity fundraising for organizations such as: STRH Rutherford, Charity Circle of Murfreesboro, American Heart Association, the Boys and Girls Club, MTSU Alumni Association, the Discovery Center, the Women’s Club, Southern Tennessee Ladies Society, Juvenile Diabetic Research Foundation, Business Education Partnership Foundation and many others.

Charlie believes wholeheartedly in living life to the fullest. His favorite quote comes from Mahatma Gandhi, and it goes like this, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow.” Charlie adds, “I believe you should live everyday like it’s your last.”

Though life is indeed busy for Charlie, he finds time to balance his family and business life with a heart of service with a little fun along the way. He enjoys being active, spending time with friends and family, and helping others. To no surprise, he’s also a major sports fan; he’s a self- described die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan.

As he summarizes what drives him to serve with such a big heart, Charlie says this: “I’m involved because I love supporting the community I live in. The satisfaction it gives me is what drives me.”

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