Story damages Jukebox Junction’s reputation in Bethel community

To the Editor:

There was a story with the headline “Haywood County wipes the dust off the bottle” in the December 7 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. Along with the headline was a photo of the Jukebox Junction restaurant with the caption, “Restaurants like Jukebox Junction in rural Bethel can now sell alcohol, if owners so choose.”

Unfortunately, most people will not read the whole article to find the ten-word line buried in Pastor Roy Kilby’s comments that reflect that the Jukebox Junction will not be selling alcohol. Instead they read the headline, look at the photo, skim the caption and come to the assumption that the Jukebox Junction will be selling alcohol. 

People have been calling and telling us that they will not come to the Jukebox Junction because the paper said we were going to start selling alcohol. One man even said he was going to call all the churches in the area and tell them to boycott the restaurant. 

Of course, we corrected the record with them over the phone. 

But what about the ones that didn’t call and just quit coming in? How do I reach them and let them know that that they misinterpreted the article? A party of 40 scheduled for Saturday night didn’t bother to show up. And our Sunday business was down by 30 percent of what it normally is.

Did The Smoky Mountain News intend to damage the reputation of the Jukebox Junction? Of course not, but nonetheless, it did and the damage has been done. Collateral damage so they say.  

It’s not their fault that most readers only skim the story and come to the wrong conclusion from a poorly worded caption under a photo. The JukeBox Junction is on the record in an interview with WLOS TV 13 back in the spring stating that alcohol doesn’t fit into our business model. 

A chocolate peanut butter beer shake just doesn’t sound appealing.

Mike Graham


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