Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce recently awarded Arlie Watson, Jr. the coveted William C. Stevens Volunteer Spirit Award for his profound commitment to Gatlinburg and many volunteer efforts.
“I am very honored and humbled at receiving this award,” Watson said. “This award is a representation of not only myself, but our company’s volunteer spirit in all the communities where we operate”.
The award was presented during the Chamber’s Annual Meeting and Banquet. “We are incredibly fortunate to have Junior in our community,” Mark Adams, president of Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau said. “The time and attention he gives to others, while still being obviously dedicated to his family and professional obligations counts towards the well-being of Gatlinburg in immeasurable ways.”
Watson is the long-time store manager of Food City’s Gatlinburg location. “Food City is committed to the communities we serve and we encourage our associates to volunteer and give back to their communities,” Steven C. Smith, Food City’s president and chief executive officer said. “Junior is extremely passionate about serving our customers and his community. He is a tremendous asset to our company and the region as a whole and we couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Watson is extremely active within his community, serving as Gatlinburg Rotary Club President, Pittman Baseball Treasurer, Elks Lodge Basket Fund Chairman, member of the Gatlinburg-Pittman High School Scholarship Committee and White Oaks Cemetery Board, coordinator for Gatlinburg’s Annual Ribfest, Chili Cook-Off and Rotary Golf Tourney, volunteer for various Chamber of Commerce events, Disabled American Veterans, Boy Scout Troop #211, Adopt-A-Spur Rotary trash project, Alzheimer’s Walk, annual parades, back pack program, elementary schools and numerous other activities.
During the devastating wild fires that swept Gatlinburg and the Sevier County area in Nov. of 2016, Watson and his Food City team served thousands of dollars in complimentary meals to first responders, National Guard and other emergency personnel and donated thousands of dollars in food and supply items to relief shelters. He also personally worked with his associates who were displaced by the fires to assist with accommodations, transportation, meals, etc.
Watson received Gatlinburg Rotary’s 2016 Citizen of the Year award and was invited to serve on the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Gatlinburg Relief Fund committee. In 2013, he was named a finalist in Food Marketing Institute’s prestigious Store Manager of the Year Awards.
Watson and his lovely wife, Cindy are the proud parents of three children, Daniel, Hailey and Ben. They attend Richardson Cove Baptist Church, where he also assists with numerous projects, including their Food Basket program.

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