Skip to content

VIProfile: Teb Batey

When walking into a room, Teb Batey puts one in mind of Golden Age actors like Jimmy Stewart or Gary Cooper. Tall and dressed in a classically tailored suit, he has the look and demeanor of a country gentleman from one of their movies. And, that he is. His family has deep roots in the county, his parents came from Smyrna, but he and his sister were raised in Murfreesboro. 

Growing up running around Murfreesboro City Square, Batey spent 40 years in his family’s store, Batey’s Office Supply and Photo, before becoming Rutherford County’s Trustee. In his youth, he ran the aisles of the store with his buddy, Tim Mullins, whose family also had a downtown business and then he started helping out in the family store in his teens. 

“As boys, we used to go to the L&M Café,” said Batey, “and over to Commerce Union on the corner of Main and Church Streets. Patsy Taylor and Barbara Bran used to fill up bags with candy for us when I took the deposit to the bank. Then, there was the drive-in that was located where the Bank of America building sits now.”

He also remembers dashing around Goldstein’s department store – now Planning and Engineering – because it had one of the few elevators in the county. 

“It was a great way to grow up,” said Batey, “running back and forth between Batey’s and Mullin’s Jewelry Store.”

Mr. Chela Stockard, who was the county trustee back then, used to keep oranges and bananas at the court house to give to the kids. 

On weekends, lunch at Shoney’s was a 45-minute to an hour wait because it was one of the few restaurants in town. That Shoney’s also had a drive-thru and Batey remembers going there and eating in the car. At that time, Shoney’s was located where Longhorn Liquor Store currently sits. 

Farming Part of Batey’s Life

He also used to spend time on his grandparent’s farm. He worked there nights, weekends and vacations. And, he still farms. He and his family run a beef cattle farm out in Milton. 
“My wife, Kari, is a school teacher at Middle Tennessee Christian School,” added Batey. “My son, Huston, is 20. He goes to University of Tennessee Martin. My daughter, Kate, just graduated from high school, and she is going to go to UT Martin, too. I also have a 15-year-old daughter, Taylor, who is a freshman in high school. I had another son, Paul, who passed away when he was 15.”

Rutherford County was a major agricultural center once upon a time, being the second biggest dairy producer in the state. There is still quite a bit of agriculture taking place in the county, but nothing like it used to be.

Education and Business Life

Batey went to school from kindergarten through high school at Middle Tennessee Christian School and then did his undergraduate degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Finance and Economics at David Lipscomb University, going on to Middle Tennessee State University to complete a Masters Degree. After graduation, he went on to work in the family business and at B&B Awards and Engraving, which he started while in high school. 

In the early 2000s, the family slowly sold off the businesses. First, the photo supply business, which was known for carrying a great assortment of vintage film cameras for sale. That sale was followed by the office supply business, which Batey continued to work with until 2006. Finally, he sold the awards business, which still exists and was moved to Dow Street by the new owners. 

“Between the office supply and photo stores,” said Batey, “I saw everyone in town. It was a great way to meet a lot of people. It was a great place and a great time, we were like a family.”
In 2006, Batey became Rutherford County Trustee. During his tenure there, he has been able to make a number of improvements and enhancements to the running of his department, including opening a second location in Smyrna to simplify payments for the public. He was a founding member of the Tennessee Association of Property Tax Professionals. In 2014, he was recognized as Tennessee Outstanding Trustee of the Year. 

Changes in the County

“This place has really changed,” said Batey. “It has grown so much that you are no longer able to know everyone in the community. You used to be able to go to a restaurant or shopping and you always ran into people you knew. Now, I go places and don’t know anyone.”

Growth has brought issues – traffic, infrastructure, schools – but that is what happens when you live in a place that other people want to come to. Batey says that planning for growth is not a perfect thing, but everyone is working together to plan for the future by creating functional systems and opportunities. 

“This community is and always has been, open to allow new people to come in and bring new ideas” said Batey. 

So many new businesses have come to Rutherford County that Batey no longer knows all of them, or their owners. He says there are so many new businesses that he runs into businesses that he didn’t even know existed often. 

New businesses have brought growth to the county for many years, beginning in the 1950s with State Farm, GE, Chromolox, Samsonite and, most of all, when Nissan arrived. 
“Our community provides quality employment so families can stay here,” explained Beaty. 
It is the quality of leadership in the past, that he feels provided a solid foundation that current leaders are able to build on as the county continues to grow.

Many positives have come out of this growth. In the past, if county residents wanted to have a nice meal, shop, see a show or have complicated medical issues treated, they had to go to Nashville. Now, Murfreesboro is a regional center for these things for counties to the south and east.

What Hasn’t Changed

“What hasn’t changed is that people still care about people,” added Batey, “and business owners still like to know who they are doing business with…The non-profit community works so hard for the common good. Instead of jealousy, they are supportive of each other. We still have a community that strives to maintain a great quality of life for everyone and responds to needs.”

More Stories

  • Editor's Letter

    Spring Has Sprung (…Almost)! March is a month of transition, where winter's grip finally loosens its hold, and the spirit of renewal stirs within us. In this issue of VIP Murfreesboro, we celebrate this spirit by exploring two key areas that define our lives here: home and community. Read More
  • Rutherford Woman Shares the Life-Changing Potential of Thyroid Removal Surgery

    Since the age of 20, Misty Smith, 49, had been struggling with thyroid issues, experiencing episodes of choking and difficulty breathing. After many years of ultrasounds, biopsies and consultations with various doctors, she was diagnosed with Hashimoto's, an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid, leading to fatigue and other non-life-threatening symptoms.  Read More
  • Woods Air Movement and Alpyne Strategy Provide Meals to Neighbors Facing Hunger in Rutherford County

    Woods Air Movement USA and Alpyne Strategy of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, hosted a joint holiday food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. The drive occurred during the holiday season. Food donations were dropped off at multiple locations in Murfreesboro, including Woods Air Movement and Alpyne Strategy.  Read More
  • Central Magnet School Students Win Top Prize at MTSU Entrepreneurship Fair

    Three sophomores from Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro emerged victorious at Middle Tennessee State University’s 2024 High School Entrepreneurship Fair. Their business, Fresh Check, employs artificial intelligence to combat global food waste. The competition, held in the Student Union Ballroom, featured 100 students from 60 groups across Middle Tennessee high schools, presenting innovative business ideas. Read More