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“It started with a loaf of bread.” Rhonda Brooks of SugarBrooks Catering explained during a rainy Friday afternoon stop at the Scott County Visitor’s Center. Little did she know, those same words would be the first to be echoed in a new column featuring the businesses, organizations, and people that make up the backbone of Scott County. During her visit, Mrs. Brooks’ began to tell the story of the process of coming to Scott County, and how that lead into the start of her business.
Living on a large farm in Rogersville with her husband Larry, Rhonda told about the events that God orchestrated to allow their family to begin their work to better Scott County. A friend of a friend of First Baptist Oneida make the call to Larry, who was just retired, and invited him to come help with a revival in Oneida. Rhonda, an employee with Food City’s corporate office, remembers laughing and asking, “Where the heck is Oneida, Tennessee?”
Oneida, Tennessee is exactly where God brought them nearly five years later. After fulfilling the opportunity in aiding in the revival, First Baptist then offered Mr. Brooks the position of Interim of Music. For a man who was retired, this may have seemed to be an easy decision, but after spending the day at East Rim at the Big South Fork in prayer, Larry Brooks knew that they would move to Oneida. From the moment of trying to find a home to move into, Rhonda shared a plan that was divinely laid out to make sure that Oneida, Tennessee would be their next stop.
What began as a two year agreement expanded into another two years committed. Rhonda, who was still living in Rogersville through the week and driving to Scott County on the weekends, found herself weary and tired. Rogersville was slowly becoming less and less like home as the beauty of Scott County wove itself into their hearts. Last February, at a youth retreat, the Brooks made a decision. Rhonda would leave her job, and begin a brand new journey.
“It started with a loaf of bread. I thought, I will just make a couple of cakes a week, and that will be that.” She explained, but one year later, SugarBrooks is a thriving business in Scott County. In fact, Rhonda is now able to work two people part-time to meet the catering needs of the growing community. When asked if she will ever open a restaurant and bakery, she smiles and explains that it would turn her work into a job instead of a passion, but who knows what this talented individual will do.
Both Rhonda and her husband are obedient to the call of God in their lives. Larry, who retired five years ago, is very active and committed to the Music and Youth programs at First Baptist Church in Oneida. Rhonda’s smile radiates as she reflects on all the obstacles and plans that were set in place to get her family to this “beautiful community.” When asked if they will ever return to Rogersville and their farm, Rhonda said, “Rogersville just doesn’t seem like home any longer. We realized, we have children in Tennessee and in Kentucky, and then it dawned on us, we are kind of right in the center of them. Scott County is home.”
In that statement, it is easy to see that Rhonda was sold on this community of opportunity and love. I quickly remembered the dear sweet words that will forever echo from Leader Senator Howard Baker about Scott County being the center of the universe. For the Brooks family and their business, SugarBrooks, Scott County has become just that.