Six months ago, almost to the day, Creekside Garden Center’s Todd Estepp awoke to the sound of an urgent phone call pleading with him to hurry down to the garden center. Alarmed, Todd met his business partner and co-owner Philip Gentry to see that the entire greenhouse and indoor building were fully engulfed in flames, and it was clear it would be a total loss.
In the months since the heartbreaking damage, Philip and Todd have rebuilt the gardening resource that is beloved by so many Nashvillians. We checked in to see how they were doing, and we’re happy to report that the team is back and better than ever.
“After the fire, we had to roll up our sleeves and get to work immediately,” Todd, co-owner of Creekside Garden Center, tells us. “We had to run generators and basically work out of tents and our old barn for shelter.” They had experienced damaging effects from the 2010 flood, so they were familiar with the less-than-ideal conditions caused by Mother Nature. Never closing up shop (for even one day!), the Creekside Garden Center relied on the support of the community, and it’s arguably the way they were able to survive.
“The community was so supportive,” Todd explains. “For weeks, people would bring us lunch. And at 4 p.m., they’d show up with booze.” While they had always felt embraced and important to the Nashville community, it was in these adverse times that they realized the role they played. “People would walk up and hand us money saying, ‘Please don’t leave,'” Todd recalls. And they certainly aren’t going anywhere. After selling through their Christmas stock like never before, an opportunity presented itself when their landlord offered them the building across the street – for the same price. Now, they run operations on each side of the street. The old barn was closed off and some sales are run there, and the new store across the street is now open, too.
Todd’s girlfriend Anne Marie Clay and his co-owner Philip Gentry have worked to create a beautiful store and have taken it to a new level. The two took the space under their wings, says Todd, and built something special, quite literally, out of the ashes. The store across the street is contemporary and updated, filled with gifts and accessories that are fun to browse.
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In the original space, the barn, Todd holds the reins with one very notable member missing: their house cat, Scout. “News crews ran stories about her,” Todd says, “and everyone was asking about her.” Sadly, Scout was unable to escape the fire on the night of September 19. Since then, a customer has painted a ceramic cat that looks just like Scout and gifted it to the team. That cat, along with a portrait of Scout, now live in the barn. “It was so sad,” Todd tells us, “but it’s so touching that there are people who care that much.”
Another noteworthy story stands out from the fire. “We had another customer who came in and was really worried about us being without power,” Todd says. “It was right when it was getting really cold, so she spearheaded this thing on Facebook explaining that we were having issues with NES and codes.” Todd explained that there had been miscommunications between the electrician and NES, and they couldn’t get through the red tape. This woman, Colleen Whitver, posted on Facebook, the community banded behind it, and the next day there were contractors onsite. “It was a very nice, unbelievable thing she did. She took it upon herself without anyone asking her to do it,” Todd gratefully explains.
And the support can continue! We asked Todd what we could do to best help them continue recovery from the shocking and devastating loss. “Just let everybody know we’re still open! Come in and shop like you always did,” he says. “We still have everything we always have.” Creekside is a full-service garden center offering trees and shrubs, pottery, flowers, perennials, annuals, indoor plants and other gifts and accessories. “If you need somebody to escort you across the street, we’ll do it,” Todd adds. “Keep shopping. We’re not going anywhere … we’re here to stay!”
Creekside Garden Center is located at 106 Harding Pl, Nashville, TN 37205. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit creekside106.com or call (615) 356-2201.
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