Pal Barger to Speak at Archives Meeting

Today’s paper has an article by Leigh Ann Laube about the Archives Annual Meeting tomorrow night. Here it is…

“Barger to Speak at Archives Meeting”pal barger-1


Fred “Pal” Barger will be the featured speaker during Tuesday night’s Friends of the Archives Annual Meeting. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the library’s Mead Auditorium.

Barger, a Kingsport native and founder of Pal’s restaurants, will present a slide show along with his talk, which is part of the Betty Gibson Memorial Lecture series.

“I’ll talk about from the beginning — how I got the idea, the founding principles, the design on the drive-thrus, some of the results of that, and then have it open for questions,” Barger said.

As a teenager attending Dobyns-Bennett High School, Barger worked as a carhop at Skoby’s, the barbecue drive-in his parents opened in 1946. In 1953, he received an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force and returned to Kingsport. After earning a degree in business from East Tennessee State University, he ran a small restaurant in Marion, Va.

In 1956, he opened the first Pal’s Sudden Service in downtown Kingsport. A few years later, he opened another Pal’s in Kingsport and one in Elizabethton. In 2009, Barger opened the 22nd Pal’s, this one on the Andrew Johnson Highway in Greeneville.

In 2001, Pal’s was named the first and only restaurant company to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. That same year, Pal’s opened the Business Excellence Institute, created to share best business practices with other organizations and individuals.

Through the years, Barger has been active in the community. He’s also active at his alma mater, having served on the ETSU Foundation and on ETSU’s Roan Scholars Leadership Program Committee.

Barger and his wife, Sharon, live in Kingsport. They have three children and four grandchildren.

The Friends of the Archives annual meeting is free and open to the public.

“We’ll use this time to try to get new members as well for the Friends of the Archives. They’re a non-profit support group for the archives,” said City Archivist Brianne Wright. “They sponsor meetings and exhibits. They donate materials and supplies for the archives, and they donate their time to help with the exhibits.”

There are now about 60 FOA members, but there’s always room for more. The Archives, located in the library’s lower level, houses papers and photographs of individuals, organizations, industry, business, and non-current city records pertaining to the history of the city of Kingsport for preservation and research purposes.

For more information, visit

Kingsport Times News


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