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Cherub and clock above the fireplace in the Cheekwood Mansion, Nashville Tennessee.
The House that Coffee Built
Christopher Cheek founded a wholesale grocery business in Nashville in the 1880s. His son, Leslie Cheek, joined him as a partner, and by 1915 was president of the family-owned company. Leslie’s wife, Mabel Wood, was a member of a prominent Clarksville family. Meanwhile, Joel Cheek, Leslie’s cousin, had developed an acclaimed blend of coffee that was marketed through Nashville’s finest hotel, the Maxwell House Hotel. Legend has it that Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed the blend “Good to the last drop,” which is still a registered trademark for the product. Cheek’s extended family, including Leslie and Mabel Cheek, were investors. In 1928, the Postum Cereals Company (now General Foods) purchased Maxwell House’s parent company, Cheek-Neal Coffee, for more than $40 million.
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