Summertime is coming to an end, but we are getting busy here in the Apple Valley! We love this time of year as we get people from all over the country visiting the Smoky Mountains and we love treating them to our signature southern favorites.

To kick off this season, I would love to open the floor of discussion about our traditional Applewood uniforms. As many of you have seen, our lovely lady servers are dressed in a traditional ‘granny’ style dress and over the past few months, we have been receiving some good as well as bad feedback on our choice of uniform for our ladies. Some people love the ‘granny’ style dresses as it adds to the ambiance of a southern, homestyle meal cooked by your favorite grandma. Others, however, have expressed their dismay in our uniform choice as they think it is sexist that our ladies wear more traditional attire, while our men wear a modernized set of khaki pants and a polo.   

I wanted to share with you a little backstory on how our uniforms came to be and why our lady servers wear our traditional ‘granny’ dresses. Our Applewood dresses are hand-made for each individual server and they are uniquely designed to fit the period of staying at a traditional farmhouse in the old days. When we designed these dresses, Applewood only had female servers. As more men began to apply at our restaurants, Applewood adapted to this change and we created a male uniform to suit our male employees. The original uniform we created for the men followed the traditional farmhouse theme, however our men found the uniforms to be hot, bulky, and extremely uncomfortable to move around in. This uniform was not well received by our employees and in hopes to alleviate discomfort, Applewood redesigned the uniform to khaki pants and a polo. The ladies, however, didn’t want to change the style of their traditional ‘granny’ dresses as they found their custom-made dresses extremely comfortable and cool to work in. 

Now, I want to say that I hear all of you and take your feedback into consideration – both positive and negative – and we have started looking at ‘modernizing’ our uniforms for both men and women. We have looked into switching our ladies into khaki pants and polos to match the men, but when we polled our guests to ask for their feedback, most of our guests voted to keep the traditional style ‘granny dresses’.

…but we aren’t done considering a change yet! We are currently in the process of exploring other uniform options for both our men and lady servers to even out the playing field and modernizing the look while keeping that traditional farmhouse style. We have listened to your feedback and now, we would like to open up the floor to you!

If you have ideas on what kind of look you would like to see – we want to hear from you! We are welcoming professional uniform proposals with samples and pricing. Once we get some new ideas, we will be happy to poll our guests to vote on any potential options. 

We would like to take all ideas into consideration, but we please ask that you keep our staff in mind and keep them comfortable. We also want to maintain that southern feeling of being transported back to the Original Farmhouse when you walk through our doors. We appreciate our guests’ feedback and we cannot make a change to satisfy only a few – we aim to support the popular vote of our guests. We also hope you understand that our uniforms are not meant to be sexist – they were uniquely designed to please our staff, while sharing the feel of the Original Farmhouse (similar to how other tourist and themed restaurants operate in this area.)

If you wish to submit an entry, please email a professional proposal with pricing and samples to our Director of Marketing, Robynne Connell, at rconnell@stokelyhospitality.com for consideration.

Sincerely,

William B. Stokely IV