Cheers! Celebrating 50 Years of Bob's

On November 1st, 1972, a young Robert (Bob) Gilbertson opened the doors to his namesake wine and liquor store, Bob’s Liquor and Wine. And, after five decades of stocking the bar for Knoxville’s celebrations, it’s only fitting we raise a glass to ‘cheers’ 50 years of Bob’s

Bob’s Liquor and Wine is a tried and true favorite of The Scout Guide Knoxville. Whether we’re stocking the bar for a launch party, selecting spirits for a whiskey tasting, or scouting local beers, a visit to Bob’s is a must. Friendly, fun, and deeply knowledgeable, they always have what we need. And on the one occasion they didn’t have an obscure old favorite, they sourced it for us so we could find our favorite Texas whiskey on the shelves.

To celebrate the momentous occasion, we chatted with Ashley Haun, who purchased Bob’s Liquor and Wine from her stepfather, the Bob Gilbertson, in 2019. Over her go-to celebratory beverage, Ashley shared the history and legacy of the family business and how she is (and isn’t) putting her own spin on the beloved Knoxville institution. 

The Scout Guide Knoxville: Can you tell us a little bit about your history at Bob’s? 
Ashley Haun: I started working at Bob’s in 2015. Bob needed some extra help, and I was at a place in life in which I was up for new challenges. Our children were in high school and driving, and I thought the new experience would be fun.

The Scout Guide Knoxville: What inspired you to take the entrepreneurial leap to purchase Bob’s?
Ashley Haun: I wanted to be the one to take the helm of Bob’s legacy. But, it was Bob who inspired me to decide to buy the business. I spent several years learning the business before making the leap. He let me know that he really thought that I could do it. That was really the affirmation that I needed.

The Scout Guide Knoxville: What does Bob’s 50-year legacy mean to you?
Ashley Haun: I consider it to be so important, and something I’m honored to continue. Being in business for 50 years is a testament to hard work and commitment. Nothing withstands the many ups and downs of entrepreneurship without countless hours and serious commitment to founding ideals.

The Scout Guide Knoxville: How do you continue Bob’s legacy today?
Ashley Haun: Bob built his store on the tenants of excellent customer service, which informs everything we do. Our customers are the reason that we are still here and we strive to provide them with the best service every single day. We also incorporate Bob’s philanthropic spirit and values. He felt strongly about supporting local charities, and we continue to use the store as a vehicle to support The Knoxville Museum of Art, The Knoxville Opera, The Knoxville Symphony, Habitat for Humanity, The Helen Ross McNabb Center, and The Knoxville Zoo, just to name a few.

“One of Bob’s favorite quotes is, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected,’ and I have tried to uphold this vision at Bob’s Wine and Liquor as well.”

Ashley Haun

The Scout Guide Knoxville: How are you adding your own spin to Bob’s?
Ashley Haun: Bob’s Liquor and Wine is a Knoxville institution, and I think it’s best to not change what isn’t broken. Instead, I aim to give people more of what they want. For example, I have added more liquor and wine-related gift items. People visit Bob’s when they’re celebrating and I love the idea of providing a one-stop shop. We try to offer a curated selection of gift items that you won’t find everywhere.

The Scout Guide Knoxville: What makes Bob’s different from other wine + spirit stores?
Ashley Haun: This store has a family feel. Many of us have worked here for five to ten years, and we feel strongly about making our customers feel at home while shopping with us. We love helping to pick out spirits or wine or even beer to make every day a celebration.

The Scout Guide Knoxville: Finally, what will you be cheers-ing 50 years with?
Ashley Haun: A sparkling wine! From the pop of the cork to the lovely bubbles in your glass, no celebration would be complete without some champagne. There’s a reason that champagne has been the go-to libation for celebrating for centuries!

Visit Bob’s Liquor and Wine at 220 N Winston Road Monday through Thursday 9:00 am to 9:30 pm, Friday & Saturday 9:00 am to 10:00 pm, and Sundays from 1:00 to 6:00 pm. Don’t forget to tell them Scout sent you!