A Swheat Surprise

As locals and tourists pass through the bustling Historic Downtown Cartersville streets, they are surrounded with rich history that spans from the year 1850 to today. A city, that according to “The History of Downtown Cartersville,” could only support 150 people out and about at a time, has expanded to great lengths over the past 171 years. Now, aged buildings encapsulate shoppers as they meander each store, the railroad catches the attention of children who grow curious with the sound of ringing coming from the railroad crossing, and the sweet aroma from the numerous restaurants in the downtown area fill the air – handing out free smells to everyone that passes by. But each storefront has a history in itself, and Teresah Thompson, 51, has been able to keep part of the history alive through her restaurant, Swheat Market Deli

“Swheat Market Deli was officially opened by someone else,” Thompson said. “It fell in my lap because the family closed the doors.”

For three years, Thompson has been running Swheat Market Deli, but her building does not fall short from having its own mark on the city. Featured on a small plaque on the front of Swheat Market Deli, is the origin of Thompson’s restaurant. Swheat Market Deli originated 152 years ago as the R.W. Satterfield: Dry Goods and Furniture store, which you can find inquiries and ads on several dated newspapers from 1870. It was then followed by a Piggly Wiggly Grocery, and then Diana Shop Apparel. The storefront then introduced itself as Swheat Market Deli circa 2005, and it has gone through its fair share of changes and updates as well.

Teresah Thompson

“Being a part of Downtown Cartersville is amazing,” Thompson said. “Our building was built in 1869.”

When Swheat Market Deli had its introduction to the city, it was primarily a grocery store with a small section of fresh foods that were sold by the pound at the back of the store according to an article written 9 years ago about the original owner, but it took several years for Swheat Market Deli to transition into a full restaurant. Thompson has been able to keep the history alive and she provides her customers with new and original recipes. Her menu offers a wide array of options from salads, to soups, sandwiches, burgers, desserts and more. A customer of Thompson’s, Amber Anderson, 21, has been able to sit down at Swheat Deli Market and try some of its menu items. 

“I ordered the tuna salad croissant, and It was better than I expected,” Anderson said. “Usually, I see tuna salad as something you can’t mess up, but this was honestly the best I’d had.”

Thompson prides herself in the fresh food that is made for her customers, even when she is trying to figure out what it is she enjoys the most on her menu, she cannot put one item above another.

 “Everything on the menu is delicious,” Thompson said. “Hard to choose just one. It’s all made fresh!”

Thompson does recognize though that without her staff, her restaurant and her customers would not be the same. They are a part of keeping the history alive, and they help continue the legacy of the restaurant. 

“My employees are the backbone of my restaurant,” Thompson said. “I could not do it without them.”

Thompson and her staff work hard to make sure customers, like Anderson, are satisfied with their time at Swheat Market Deli, but there is one person who has seen the hard work come full circle for Thompson. Her daughter Hattie. Hattie Thompson, 20, has been able to watch her mom take on the challenge when she started to run Swheat Market Deli three years ago. Hattie has watched her mom through the good and bad of owning a restaurant. The good being the success she has built in the industry, the regular customer basis Thompson has created, and the food that she provides for her customers the moment they walk through the door. But Hattie has also seen the tough times, especially in their daily lives when trying to schedule personal time with her mom because Thompson gets extremely busy throughout the day. 

“Watching my mom run Swheat Market has been a neat experience,” Hattie said. “I watched my mom go from teaching kindergarten to running a restaurant seven days a week. I see how much work she puts in each and every day and how hard she works to satisfy her customers. My hope is for the business to flourish and let it be a place in Cartersville that tourists want to visit. However, as it continues to grow, I hope that it maintains its local family like feel.”

Hattie advocates for her mom and the personality that the restaurant has created for its customers. She has also become close with several of them who have enjoyed Thompson’s menu and hospitality. Hattie introduced Anderson to Swheat Market Deli this year when they had become close friends, as well as bringing in another customer, Shay Mathis, 20. Mathis and Anderson describe Swheat Market Deli as the comfort of Southern cooking, and the atmosphere to be warm and inviting. Their experience with how Thompson runs the restaurant has shown them why they enjoy being a part of the community and allows them to be a part of the history of Downtown Cartersville.

“Ms. Thompson does a great job at showing her customers what it means to cater for the people,” Mathis said. “She and Hattie crack me up, but I understand now where Hattie gets her drive from. You can tell how dedicated Ms. Thompson is to her job and letting Swheat Market be a place of rest and comfort for anyone who walks in the door. The feeling of being inside takes you back in time a little, and you can’t help but feel like you are taken care of by Ms. Thompson herself.”

With the building being only 20 years younger than the city, Swheat Market Deli has a basket full of history in its walls. Thompson is doing all she can to keep the history and the hospitality alive, and although the city may change and grow, Thompson is ready for Swheat Market Deli to be a part of it.

“If you aspire to be a restaurant owner, follow your dreams and never give up,” Thompson said. “If you would have told me I would own a restaurant one day I would have laughed, I always thought I would be teaching, but I am glad that I did. It is a very difficult industry, but at the same time, fun.”

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