After COVID, this psychotherapist pivoted to plants − plus coffee
Ali James, Shopper News
Sarah Buchanan, a psychotherapist, had just opened her group practice, Foothills Counseling and Wellness Center, when COVID-19 hit. She and two other therapists made the difficult choice to close the doors and switched to telehealth services.
“The building sat empty until the summer of 2021, and I decided to get creative and do something different with it,” she said. “I have always been a plant person, so I opened Plant People: A Botanical Boutique in the front room in August last year. So, when the plant shop did well, I knocked down some walls and expanded. I got into it thinking it would be one room; now it’s the whole building.”
A fresh Plant People: A Botanical Boutique sign was just erected at 309 N. Houston St., a short distance from Maryville College and downtown Maryville. The same week, Buchanan celebrated the launch of her new coffee bar inside.
“I really wanted to create a comfortable and happy space for people to come and hang out,” said Buchanan of the decision to add the coffee bar ‒ run by a proper barista that serves a tasty dirty chai ‒ and comfortable seating. “A lot of my plant shop customers will spend an hour or more, even if people are not interested in plants. I wanted to offer a treat when they are here. We will be serving coffee and espresso drinks and baked goods.”
Knoxville’s Bake that Dough is providing muffins and cookies, Treats & Chill is doing the gluten free goodies, and authentic New York bagels will come directly from a Bronx bakery. “My coffee comes from Maryville’s Vienna Coffee Company,” she said. “We have nondairy oat and almond milk.” There is also a selection of chilled drinks including Frog Juice Kombucha.
The Plant People name started as a joke. “I wanted to attract other plant people. At the time, a lot of people were getting into plants,” said Buchanan. “I was hearing that a sense of community had been lost during COVID and I wanted to bring people together in a new way.”
In addition to selling plants and accessories, Plant People sells Plant Lady totes, tees and coffee mugs and other accessories. Many of the pots and planters are made in small batches by Maryville potter Emily Burgess/Em.Burge Pottery.
Last summer, Plant People started hosting workshops: building terrariums and making macrame hangers. “They would sell out immediately and were super well-attended,” said Buchanan. “We will be reintroducing them after the holidays, in January and February.”
Plant People has become a go-to for gift buying and offers complementary potting when customers buy a plant and pot or bring their own pot. There is a handy selection of greeting cards for housewarming, thank you or get-well gifts.The most popular sellers are the monstera and philodendron plants. “Any of the climbing and trailing plants are probably the biggest sellers, too,” said Buchanan.
Coming up on Nov. 5, Plant People is hosting a community plant swap on the front porch 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Anyone can bring something to swap and buy a coffee and/or baked good while they are there.
Despite youth, state champion CAK golfers show maturity and focus
John Shearer, Shopper News
What the Christian Academy of Knoxville golf team lacked in age and experience, it made up for in skill and composure in winning the Division II-A state golf tournament recently.
With sophomore Cooper Russell tying for first before losing in a playoff, and top 16 finishes by sophomore Bryson White (77-74), freshman Blake Russell (76-78), and eighth-grader Tanner Varney (80-78), the Warriors won by nine strokes over runner-up Battle Ground Academy of Nashville.
The team was able to overcome in relative fashion not only the Sevierville Golf Club’s challenging River Course with a 34-over par 610 on Oct. 3 and 4, but also their emotions.
“There was a perseverance about the team,” said coach Donnie Cooper, who admitted the team did not get off to a great start. “They did a good job of realizing they needed to keep focusing.”
Also competing for the team and finishing in 36th, although his scores did not count in the team scoring, was sophomore Reeves Underwood.
While the team kept a mostly comfortable lead over the other squads, including fourth-place finisher Webb School, the individual scoring was another matter. Cooper Russell made a dramatic birdie on his finishing hole – the par 5 10th after hitting the green in two – and forced a playoff.
While Russell played well in the playoff after shooting a one-over-par 73 to go with his first-day score of 74, senior Eliot Brashear of Battle Ground Academy birdied the second sudden-death hole to claim the individual medalist honor.
But with no major expectations as a sophomore and with the team win, Russell said he was overall pleased.
“It was great,” he said of the team victory that came after all teams had to battle windy conditions on the first day. “And when I knew I was in contention, I didn’t get ahead of myself or change anything. I would have loved to win, but he made a birdie, and I made a par, and that is golf.”
Coach Cooper said he is proud of Russell, whom he said played the last few holes of the second round well. He also likes this young team not only for their skill, but also their work ethic.
“This is one of the hardest working teams I’ve had,” he said. “Golf at CAK means something to them. They practice the right way, and they control their emotions.”
He said the team tries to practice and play at different courses, and he believes that has also helped them.
The team also literally has a brotherly rapport, as Cooper Russell is about two years older than brother Blake Russell, who is one grade behind him.
“We are always competing, but it is healthy competition,” he said with a laugh. Their father, Jason Russell, played basketball at Lincoln Memorial University and became an avid golfer after college and naturally introduced the game to his sons.
“I just fell in love with it,” Cooper Russell said of golf and honing his skills at his home course of Fox Den Country Club. “I love the grind. I love figuring stuff out and I love competing.”
This is the sixth year in a row the boys have won the state in golf and eighth out of the last nine years. Cooper has been the boys’ coach for the last three years after succeeding Hank Fennell. He has been the girls coach for nearly a decade and became involved after putting on an FCA tournament at Tennessee National and realizing CAK did not have a girls coach.
Since starting as coach, he continues to work with his father’s corrugated packaging company, he said. “I work in the day and go to practice in the afternoon,” he said of his busy schedule during the season.
Cooper Russell calls his coach a big reason for the team’s success this year.
“He’s a great leader, and a great Christian man,” he said. “He keeps us accountable. We had a blast all season.”
Like fishing? Western Plaza lands classic outdoor retailer ORVIS
John Shearer, Shopper News
One of Knoxville’s most historic suburban shopping centers has recently landed one of America’s classic retail businesses.
ORVIS, which started in 1856 in Vermont selling fly fishing-related equipment and is also known for its men’s and women’s outdoor and leisure apparel, opened a store Oct. 15 in Western Plaza on the east end of the Bearden business district.
Although the local area has had endorsed ORVIS dealers, and another store is in Sevierville, this is the first full-service ORVIS retailer within Knoxville. And that has brought plenty of excitement during its first few days of being open, store officials said.
“It’s been going excellent,” said Chris Janson, who recently moved from Columbia, South Carolina, to become the fishing manager at the Knoxville ORVIS. “It’s been a good reception. The community has been awesome. A lot of people are familiar with us through our catalog and other stores in the area. Everyone seems excited to have one local and to come on in and check us out.”
Janson said the store carries men’s apparel, women’s apparel, dog products, shooting supplies and its fly shop selection, among other items.
“It’s really quality gear,” he said, adding that the company stands by its products and donates 5 percent of pretax profits back to conservation initiatives. “We have an awesome fly-fishing selection, and that’s what drew me into the company. I learned to fly fish through the ORVIS 101 fly-fishing course in Charlotte (where he grew up) and I have been fishing with the equipment ever since.”
He said the Knoxville store also hopes to offer some of its well-known fishing courses in the future, in part due to the popularity of fly fishing on area streams and rivers.
The store, which also sells the Barbour line of clothing, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
This is one of several new businesses to open in the last couple of years or so in this shopping center that dates to the 1950s but in recent years has undergone some revamping and reconstruction.
“We are very excited about the action and the tenants,” said Morgan Bromley of shopping center owner Biltmore Property Group, which worked with Avison-Young to lease the ORVIS store. “People seem to be going back to wanting to touch goods and feel goods instead of clicking a mouse. There have been a lot of high sales numbers in the last 18 months.”
Other newer or fairly new businesses there have included Pedego electric bike store and such eateries as Everbowl, Pokeworks, and Dos Bros, among others.
The center is also known for some longtime businesses, including the Fresh Market grocery store, Western Plaza Barber Shop and Jos. A. Bank clothing store. Jos. A. Bank store manager Todd Rowland said the location in Western Plaza has worked out well for their business, which has now been there for about three decades.
“We are located so close to (the University of Tennessee) campus, to Sequoyah Hills and to downtown,” he said. “And how they’ve upgraded everything in the center the past few years has really helped attract people. It’s always been a good destination place.”
He added that his business has seen increased walk-in traffic with more people going back to work or to the office with the pandemic seeming to have waned for the time being.
“People do like to touch clothing before buying, and we are happy,” Rowland said with a smile.
See these costumed canines at The Bark's Halloween Bark & Boos
Carol Z. Shane, Shopper News
Some local canines and their humans had a blast recently when The Bark, Knoxville’s only indoor-outdoor dog park and beer garden, presented its first-ever Bark & Boos Halloween Bash.
“Director of Parks and Barks” Leslie Myers and her “Bark Rangers,” sporting Dalmatian-spotted hoodies and overseen by Cruella de Ville herself, welcomed 60 dogs and twice the number of humans for an evening of costumed revelry.
“We were thrilled,” said Myers. “Sixty was our goal, and we had about 20 new dogs that had never been here.” Included in the evening were costume contests in three categories: Best Duo or Trio, Best Pop Culture Reference and Best DIY.
The winners, in order, were Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion, Sebastian the Crab from “The Little Mermaid,” and a three-legged dog with a very imaginative owner. “We have a dog that’s a ‘tripod,’” said Myers. “The mom made it look like he’s a stuffed toy with the stuffing coming out where the leg is missing. It was really, really cute.”
Open since May at 601 Lamar St., The Bark’s founder and owner is Hanna Harris, now retired after a career in dog training. She trained Myers’ own dogs, and the two women have maintained a friendship ever since. “When she was opening this I reached out and said ‘I really want to be involved,’” Myers said. “I was store manager for Urban Outfitters downtown for nine years, so I brought that management/people/business experience. It just naturally fell into place.”
Myers said The Bark is the only doggie day care facility in Tennessee without breed restrictions. Potential canine clients must undergo a temperament check in order to ensure safety when interacting with other dogs. On staff are 10 “Bark Rangers,” three trainers and a Board & Train manager for the two-week Board & Train packages.
There are also three “Bark Tenders,” who go on duty every day at 4, offering up a menu of 130 alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Myers says that many of The Bark’s clients are downtown residents, and they enjoy coming by for a drink and some socializing at the end of the workday when they pick up their dogs.
“‘Community’ is a word we use a lot. When we started this there was a lot of guesswork. But it’s been really great and people are making friends with each other. They’re hanging out together and they all plan trips to come to The Bark together.”
The Bark also partners with local animal rescue organizations such as Adopt a Golden, offering training for the animals. Young-Williams Animal Center has been a frequent partner, and often sends referrals.
Bark & Boos was quite a paw-ty, but it’s not the only annual event offered by The Bark; last May there was a “Dog Prom,” complete with King and Queen. “We’re going to do a Valentine’s Day ‘dance,’ and we’ve got a Holiday Market coming up,” said Myers. There are also monthly and weekly events, like “Furst Friday.”
For more info, visit thebarkknoxville.com. And find The Bark on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
Itty Bitty Bling jewelry welds strength and style
Ali James, Shopper News
Rachel Severe was looking for custom fitted, permanent jewelry in Knoxville after she heard that her cousin had started a business in Memphis.
“Right before summer I was looking into it and at the time did not find anyone doing it locally,” said Severe. “I kept telling other people about it, but the more I looked into it I thought it looked really fun and maybe I should just do it myself.” Itty Bitty Bling was launched last July.
The mom of three works part-time in health care while raising her young family and thought a pop-up business would fit well into her schedule.
The chains are custom fitted, hand welded and clasp free.
“Everybody has a different thing they like about permanent jewelry,” said Severe. “Over the last few years I have had babies and toddlers and didn’t really bother with jewelry because they were going to pull and yank on it. With permanent jewelry I don’t have to think about it; it’s sturdy and I feel like I’m already put together.”
Itty Bitty Bling chains come in sterling silver, 14 or 18 karat gold filled from US jewelers and can be fitted as a necklace, bracelet or anklet.
“It is durable for working out in the gym where it can get dirty and sweaty,” said Severe. “Mostly I tell people to avoid spraying perfume, chemicals like sunscreen and makeup directly onto the chain where it will build up over time. I suggest giving your jewelry a wash while you are in the shower, but honestly I haven’t had an issue, they don’t look tarnished.”
Itty Bitty Bling can add charms to the chains, such as rhinestones, crosses, hearts, stars and moons that do not dangle so they will not get caught or be too tempting for little hands.
“Once I got everything, I started an Instagram account @ittybittybling and did the permanent jewelry with people that I knew,” she said. “I started having places reach out to me for pop-ups (events), there were a lot of people looking for it.”Word quickly spread and Severe said she has been busy particularly at Emory Station Nutrition, Culture Aesthetics’ open house, Reap the Sew, at hair salons and at her gym, Rocky Top CrossFit downtown. “They have been really awesome to work with and have the perfect setup,” she said. “I am redoing my website, but I do most of the bookings through DMs on Instagram.”
Itty Bitty Bling pop-ups have been a great addition to a Pampered Chef party, nachelorette celebration or sorority house gathering and anything in between. “I had a call from a lady who manages two UT student housing apartment complexes and booked me to come out on two different nights,” said Severe.
The next events on Severe’s calendar include a grand opening party at The Color House on Rutledge Pike from 6-8 p.m. on Nov. 4 and JoyRyde cycling studio in Powell from 8:30-11 a.m. on Nov. 5 for free cycling at Bling, Bags and Booze. “I'll be at Post and Beam in Lenoir City for their huge Christmas event,” she said. “They will have Santa and other kids’ activities from noon-6 p.m. on Nov. 19.”
WORDS OF FAITH
A mighty fortress serving neighbors in need
John Tirro, Shopper News
My spouse had a professional event in New York, black tie, and it was my turn to be arm candy. I had my tux, my bow tie that you actually tie, style points, very snazzy.
The whole weekend was the most beautiful geekfest. Imagine your geeky pleasure ‒ Dungeons & Dragons, stamps, animé, model planes. For these folks, it’s the English language and Samuel Johnson, writer of the first English dictionary. They’re so happy, talking about their stuff. Most are academics. Some are wealthy philanthropists who happen to love and support dictionaries and education. It’s very beautiful.
I didn’t know who I was sitting next to, but looking back I’d guess it was a philanthropist, because I asked about the woman who founded the group, if he knew her, and he shared a beautiful story. He’d known her 20 years, she came from Midwestern money, moved east, and put it to use serving all sorts of folks with education and food. We ended up talking about my downtown congregation, the need we’re seeing around us, our efforts to educate ourselves, to be more helpful. At the end of the conversation, he said, “A church needs to be a safe place, where someone can come as they are and know they’ll be cared for.”
The next night, I’m talking with a young professor, grew up Mennonite, steeped in it, maybe distant from it now. At the end of the night, he said something that felt like prophecy. “May your church and everyone in it be a mighty fortress, a place of safety, wellness, and provision.” Such blessing! May we all together and individually be a place of refuge and strength, a very present help to each other and to everyone, with everyone invited to be part of that (Psalm 46).
I remember when “fortress mentality” was a phrase we used negatively, to describe a sense of using walls to keep people out, ducking your head and trying to get from the car to the building without being accosted. The rebirth of our church, 20 years ago, was when we opened the doors and began seeing our context as our call. You don’t have to go to another country to do mission work. It’s right here on our doorstep, right where Jesus said he would be (Matthew 25).
Honestly, sometimes I think folks in need are the missionaries to us, Jesus coming to us in them, inviting us to greater growth and love, to see not us and them, but just us. I don’t remember who said it first, but justice starts with just us.
What if a fortress is not about keeping people out but gathering them in, to a place or refuge, strength and help? It’s also a great place for trumpet fanfares! Jesters jesting, jousters jousting, fabulous feasts! (One of my geeky pleasures may be castles. Also hymns, like Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress.”)
How might your life be a mighty fortress for someone? What boundaries on behavior would you need to set?
John Tirro is pastor of music at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Info:sjlcknox.org.
Have barbecue, need truck: Entrepreneur tries to scare up votes
Al Lesar, Shopper News
It may be just a coincidence that Halloween is Shadoe Anderson’s favorite holiday.
But he’s hoping the Face of Horror contest will make an impact for his family.
Anderson, a 2008 Powell High School graduate, was looking for a way to get his fledgling barbecue catering business off the ground and into a food truck.
While scrolling through the internet, he stumbled onto www.faceofhorror.org, a voting contest that will determine one horror enthusiast who will win $13,000, a two-night stay at Buffalo Bill’s House (in Pennsylvania, from “Silence of the Lambs”) and a walk-on role in an independent horror film.
The movie cameo and other prizes are great, but the $13,000 would go a long way toward getting Anderson’s BBQ Hoss catering business on firm footing – or wheels, that is.
Anderson delivers beer for a living and has been in the National Guard for 13 years. For nearly the last two years, he and his wife, Ericka, have been working to get the word out about their catering business.
Votes are important
About the same time the Face of Horror contest was getting started in early September, Anderson and his wife attended a traveling show, Boozey Cauldron. It has roots loosely based in Harry Potter lore.
Anderson, ever the showman, was called on stage as part of the crowd-interaction segment. One of the actors had a prop that looked like a book. When opened, fire would burst forth.
After the performance, Anderson asked to have his picture taken with the actor and the prop. He used it for his profile shot on the website.
Voting for the Face of Horror is done by the public. There are free votes as well as votes that are cast along with a $1 donation. The money raised will go toward pediatric cancer once the competition ends in mid-November.
There are several rounds in the contest. It started with more than 80 contestants in each of five groups. It was regularly cut to the top vote-getters at specified times.
“I send out reminders to my friends every day,” Anderson said. “I have the link attached to every post on Facebook or Instagram.
“I love contests like this. Once I won Bonnaroo tickets from a radio station by doing a lot of little challenges. This is just kinda fun. I love horror movies. This has been a lot of fun.”
Everything is smoked
What makes BBQ Hoss stand out among the other barbecue opportunities in the area is that Anderson and his wife don’t stop at smoking meats.
They smoke everything – even the water.
“All the sides we have are also smoked,” Anderson said. “That’s what makes us different.”
Smoked hard-boiled eggs, deviled eggs, green beans, scalloped potatoes and macaroni and cheese are just some of the unique flavors BBQ Hoss has for guests.
Anderson said he will smoke water for 10 minutes, freeze it, then add it to cocktails for an interesting taste.
“We’ve had about two or three dates a month, but we could do more,” Anderson said. “Right now, we’ll set up everything in a tent. It could be a lot easier if we could get that food truck.
“That’s the motivation for me in this contest.”
More than 1,000 turn out for All Saints' Trunk-or-Treat
Nancy Anderson, Shopper News
About 700 kids, dressed in spooktacular style, laid waste to the candy coffers at the All Saints Catholic Church Trunk-or-Treat on Oct. 23.
From superheroes to killer clowns to an entire family dressed as The Incredibles, it was smiles all around, not a meltdown to be seen as Trunk-or-Treaters patiently waited to enter through an elaborate balloon archway.
The Brown family, dressed as The Incredibles, were all laughter while waiting.
“This is our favorite event; it’s big, well done, and close to the house,” said mom Kayla Brown.
“We’ve been dressing as a family for years. We pick something my daughter Sophia is interested in and hopefully that something is pretty simple. We got lucky this year with a new baby; it was tricky to pull together.”
The event was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and coordinated by volunteer Emily Ohmes.
“We’ve got about 1,000 people coming through; I’d say about 700 are kids. We have about 20 trunks ready with candy and some nonedible treats for those with allergies or sensory problems with food. Just look for the teal pumpkins,” said Ohmes.
“This is actually a rebuilding year after the height of the pandemic in 2020. We still had the event but it didn’t turn out as good as this one. People are coming back and they’re having a great time.
“I love this event because it’s a great way to enjoy trick-or-treating safely," Ohmes continued. "Lots of people are sort of opting out of trick-or-treat in general, saying it’s dangerous. There are lots of neighborhoods that open to trick-or-treaters, and several trunk-or-treat events all over the county are going on. If you made a list, and attended several, you’d have a pretty good candy and toy haul. There’s even a trick-or-treat at Cherokee Caverns.”
The treats were a big draw, but so were the bounce houses. Kids squealed with delight as they flew down the slides and explored the inside of an elaborate “jungle gym” bounce house.
There were food trucks serving nachos and other delectable fair foods. A face painter was not the busiest person as kids were elaborately dressed, but several princesses opted for a colorful, glittery butterfly painted over their eyes.
Ohmes said she’s already thinking about next year. The church also has a Fall Festival. Ohmes said she’d like to see Trunk-or-Treat and the Fall Festival rolled into one big event.
“I think it will be fun and will bring community together to roll these two events together. I already have ideas!”
You won't find it in the dictionary
Leslie Snow, Shopper News
My phone rings early in the morning, but I’m not surprised. Jordan sometimes checks in, first thing, to tell me about her dreams or to share stories about the kids waking her during the night.
But this time when she says hello into the phone, I hear her stuffy nose and a scratchy voice. My oldest child is calling to tell me she’s sick. She’s looking for a little sympathy from her mother.
“Are you OK?” I ask, with concern.
“I feel awful,” she tells me. “I think I’m running a fever, but I can’t find the thermometer. And I have to work today.”
I tell her I’m sorry and make plans to check on her during the day. But as the hours pass, I realize that Jordan and I are sharing the same germs. My throat is sore and I’m coughing while I catch up on laundry and run a few errands for my mother.
By the time we talk again, we’re both feeling sick and tired, and we’ve taken COVID tests just in case. “I’m negative,” Jordan says while she blows her nose. “Me too,” I say, sniffling into the phone.
But beyond a few “Are you feeling any better” questions, neither of us mentions feeling sick again. I don’t get any more early morning calls from Jordan and I don’t bother to report in when I start to lose my voice.
We both do what needs to be done because it needs to be done. By us.
But later in the week, after a few days of hearing Jordan’s puny little voice, I offer my sympathy. “I’m sorry you didn’t get a chance to rest when you’ve been so sick. You sound bad.”
She laughs ruefully and says, “That’s what happens when you’re only mom-sick.”
The phrase “mom-sick” probably doesn’t need to be explained. If you’re a mom. But just in case it isn’t clear, mom-sick is defined as being sick enough to feel terrible but not sick enough to lie in bed and rest. It’s how most moms deal with the germs they get.
Being mom-sick means you run a low-grade fever, but you still have to pick up poster board for your son’s school project. You’re coughing and sneezing, but not enough that it keeps you from going through the carpool line or making after-school snacks. Even when you’re sick, your children still need a bath and a book before bed. Kids are cute, but they’re indifferent to things like sinus headaches and intestinal disturbances.
And like most words in the dictionary, there is an antonym for mom-sick with which most women are familiar.
The opposite of “mom-sick” is “dad-sick,” also known as “man-sick.” I know because as I write this column, my husband is in bed with the same virus I had, only he’s not taking the dog for a walk or doing laundry while he has it. And Joe, Jordan’s husband, is at his house snuggled under the covers with what appears to be the plague.
Unfortunately for Joe, the poster child for dad-sick, he made a grave error in judgment when Jordan commented on them sharing the same virus. He looked up at her as he was sipping the matzo ball soup she’d made him and said, “Have you been sick? I didn’t even notice.”
Which brings me to the addendum in my make-believe dictionary. Because right under the term “man-sick” is the word “dad-doghouse.”
And I’m guessing Joe knows a little something about how that word is defined.
Leslie Snow may be reached at snow email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Shopper News brings you the latest happenings in your community