Today’s FACE of Memphis is making homes across Memphis more beautiful one plant and container garden at a time. Tricia Hunt is the founder and owner of Millstone Market & Nursery. Located in the heart of East Memphis, her shop is a wonderland full of beautiful plants and decorative containers, as well as gardening and home decor accessories. Tricia inherited her love of gardening from her mother. It was a shared passion that led her to create a thriving — or should we say, blooming! — business doing something she loves. It is our pleasure to introduce you to today’s FACE of Memphis, Tricia Hunt.
Where were you born and what was your upbringing like?
I was born in Pensacola, FL, and I moved to Memphis as a toddler. I attended Memphis public schools and the University of Memphis. I have great memories of fun summers at Florida beaches, and many of my high school and college friends are still close friends today.
How did you get into the plant business?
I got my love of gardening from my mother, and I especially enjoy container gardening. It was that love of creating that led me to open a greenhouse with interesting plants and a shop with garden gifts — Millstone Market & Nursery.
Tell us about Millstone Market & Nursery. What is your role at the market?
Millstone is my idea of what a specialty garden, nursery and gift shop should be, with particular attention to personal customer service. My team does its best every day to bring unusual plants, creative ideas and outstanding service to our clients. We’re not the biggest, but we work hard to be the best.
What were the greatest challenges in starting your own business?
Running my own business requires so much of my time that my greatest challenge is balancing my work and family life. Being involved with my children, grandchildren and husband was and still is my greatest joy, as well as time with my work family.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? What is the most challenging?
Seeing happy customers’ faces and knowing we brought joy to them is the best part of my work. We challenge ourselves every day to keep our customers returning to this happy place.
When you were starting your business, what was the best piece of advice a mentor gave to you?
One of my mentors told me I needed to learn to fly at 20,000 feet. I didn’t understand that in the beginning, but soon I realized it means I have to be the strategic planner, the leader and build a great team to support me.
Do you have a go-to piece of advice you share with other aspiring entrepreneurs now that you are a business owner?
I would encourage anyone starting a new business to consider what success means to you. Everyone measures it differently. For me it’s the journey — how it all fits together along the way.
Describe your typical day.
Coffee first! A devotional to get me shored up for the day, and then I head in to the shop to make my to-do list. After a quick meeting with my team, I dive right into creating and planting, as well as helping our customers. It’s a long 10 hours.
Do you have a favorite plant that you recommend for Memphis gardens?
I like to recommend plants that do double-duty. For example, a moon vine. It attracts lunar moths, and it blooms beautiful, fragrant white flowers at night.
Any gardening tips for this time of year?
Dead head and fertilize annuals to keep them blooming through the summer, and apply a preventative for bag worms on your arborvitae.
What are your top three words of advice?
People — take good care of them.
Plan — you won’t know where you’re going without one.
Peace — find some time for yourself.
As a mother and grandmother, you have so much going on! How do you balance and make everything work?
Sometimes it doesn’t always work out the way you planned, but your team is critical to your success and peace of mind.
What do you do to relax?
At the end of a long day, I enjoy playing backgammon and gin rummy with my husband. Needlepoint projects also take my mind off of everything.
What is the first place you take out-of-towners when they visit you?
Dinner at Pete and Sam’s. It’s an oldie but goodie.
If you could go back 10 years, what advice would you give yourself?
Try not to be so anxious about everything — with prayer and perseverance, things have worked out the way they were supposed to.
What is something people might be surprised to know about you?
I love to needlepoint, knit and listen to books on tape.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Well, I have three! Being married for 34 years, being a loving mother and being a fun and ridiculously adoring grandmother.
With the exception of faith, family and friends, what are three things you can’t live without?
Milk Duds, time alone and a good pair of shoes.
Thank you, Tricia! For more information about Millstone Market & Nursery, visit millstonenursery.com.
And thank you to Mary Kate Steele for the beautiful photos.
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