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Bees on a Bicycle, new garden shop comes to downtown Chattanooga

Cath Shaw, owner of Bees on a Bicycle

A colorful new garden shop is catching people's eyes in downtown Chattanooga.

Bees on a Bicycle owner Cath Shaw gave us a tour of the red building at the intersection of 19th and Market Streets.

There are colorful plants, water fountains and a sitting area outside. It's one of the few garden stores you'll find in downtown Chattanooga.

"My motto for Bees on a bicycle is foster community, create beauty," Shaw said.

She wanted a space where people can take a break from the hustle and bustle, where they can relax and unwind while shopping for unique plants, garden supplies and gifts.

Everything Cath orders is within a two mile radius of Chattanooga.

"The moss is gathered on Signal Mountain, it's a three layer process that the grower uses," Shaw said about the hanging arrangements inside the shop.

When it comes to plants, she offers unique varieties that are native to Tennessee.

"These are just unusual colors, people that are looking for things that you can't find anywhere else."

In addition to plants, you'll find pottery and botanical paintings created by local artists like Michael Brady.

"People have been buying these like crazy," Shaw said, pointing to wooden horses that look similar to the sculpture sitting outside the Hunter Museum of American Art.

Cath visited local garden stores big and small, interviewing hundreds of people to see what they want, but can't find at other places.

"When I created this shop I said well I have to do something different because if I do the same old thing that everybody else is doing, that's not going to be a benefit to the community."

She combined her background in landscaping, gardening and interior design to create the one of a kind space.

She wants her shop to be a resource for gardeners looking to buy local, while sharing knowledge and history with each other.

"Customers are talking to other customers and relaying ideas and that's a community aspect," Shaw said. "I want to be right in the center of things and have those conversations between customers."

After looking at other cities across the south, Cath moved here from Virginia to start her dream.

"We chose Chattanooga, there's a lot of opportunity here."

The name comes from one of Cath's favorite murals which shows bees riding a unicycle.

"I said well these bees are on a unicycle, but I want a sense of community in my garden center, so it’s all a bunch of bees on one bicycle pedaling together and I was like bees on a bicycle."

While the 12 hour work days can be tiring, Cath says her favorite part of starting the business is building relationships with her vendors, and clients.

"One thing has led to another, that's led to another and it's just been very gratifying...working with those people and making it all come together because they're proud of their work and happy to come visit it."


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