Inside Germantown Business
The success stories of four Germantown Area Chamber members.
Millstone Market & Nursery
6993 Poplar Avenue
Located on eight acres and boasting a 4,000-square-foot greenhouse,
Millstone Market & Nursery offers a huge selection of plants — in fact, according to its website, the largest in the Memphis area year-round.
“We started out with the market that sold cast-stone products and gardening gifts,” says Tricia S. Hunt, who bought Millstone with her brother, Skip Shropshire, seven years ago. Then they expanded into the nursery and landscaping business, and today Millstone provides design and planting services, irrigation work, mulching and trimming services, and retaining-wall installation.
Naturally, it also sells a host of landscape and hardscape materials: pavers and natural stone materials from Tennessee and Arkansas quarries and decorative products such as benches and fountains. Moreover, two full-time floral designers prepare custom arrangements during any season.
Hunt says Millstone’s Germantown location is ideal for many reasons. “Germantown is accessible,” she says. “Poplar Avenue out here is different from Poplar Avenue in East Memphis because we have more greenspace; that’s why we can stock such a big plant selection. Also, Germantown offers most every commodity. If you want it, you can find it here.” Beyond those assets she cites the town’s history, its attractive homes, and even such touches as the painted horses around town that reflect its involvement with the Germantown Charity Horse Show.
The Germantown Area Chamber, too, gets high marks from Hunt. “Events like Business After Hours allow members to get to know each other. Germantown businesses really support each other. That’s a big plus.”
School of Rock
9309 Poplar Avenue
Ken Hall is living his dream. With a lifelong passion for music and
teaching, he sought a career that combined both: one that not only sparked excitement but also delivered a valuable product. He got all that and more when he and his wife, Sallie Hall, opened School of Rock in Germantown.
While waiting in an airport, the former Pepsico executive saw an ad in a guitar magazine and learned about School of Rock, the Chicago-based company with franchises around the U.S. Taking a “leap of faith,” he and his wife signed the franchise agreement in April 2012 and opened the school that August.
Now, with the help of trained instructors, students ages 7 to 18 can learn guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and vocals. “What makes the school unique,” says Hall, a guitarist, “is that kids learn not only how to play their instruments but how to actually make music in a group.”
Students at the Performance level are booked at such rock venues as the Hard Rock Cafe and B.B. King’s. In addition, the school has a house band made up of Performance students who have passed an audition; this band performs 15 to 20 times a year at local and national festivals.
The school also has programs for children — Little Rocker and Little Wing — that teach rhythmic patterns, song structure, and exposure to instruments. “And it’s all set to awesome music by the Beatles, Queen, and Rolling Stone,” says Hall.
He’s not only excited about the school but about “bringing a unique approach to music education to this area of the city,” he explains. “Being on the border of Germantown and Collierville has made it convenient for those residents to get to us.”
He praises the City of Germantown for helping with the school’s grand opening. And the Germantown Area Chamber, he adds, has been “special friend,” helping to secure radio spots and other opportunities to “build brand awareness.”
The whole experience, says Hall — especially the opportunity to have an impact on kids — “makes for an awesome day at the office every day.”
The Solana Germantown — Brookdale Senior Living
8199 Poplar Avenue
Take a tour through The Solana Germantown and you can’t miss its
many luxurious amenities — an indoor salt-water pool, courtyard, movie theater, wine bar, and restaurant with a professional chef, to name just a few. But ask Autumn Coughlin-Pope, The Solana’s sales and marketing director, what really makes this facility stand out, and she will tell you, “We offer independent living, assisted living, memory care, and physical therapy all on one campus and without a buy-in requirement.” At this writing, the facility is at approximately 90 percent capacity and has close to 200 residents.
In addition to an array of special features, The Solana maintains a varied social schedule. Residents enjoy Ai Chi water aerobics, continuing education classes at The Solana University, a woodworking shop, and an art studio.
They also take advantage of Daniel Shay Salon’s spa services as well as concierge services such as personal shopping. Each day residents can choose from various activities, from a book club and an iPhone class to fitness lessons.
Location in Germantown provides numerous benefits, says Coughlin-Pope, including easy access to local hospitals and to venues for shopping, banking, and dining. “The fact that we are located in the most desirable area of Shelby County is certainly a plus.”
Looking back to The Solana’s opening, Coughlin-Pope recalls the support of the Germantown Area Chamber. “They assisted us when we hosted a Business After Hours. That has helped us establish solid business relationships within the community.” Ultimately, she concludes, Chamber networking has helped spread the word about The Solana. “It has really encouraged more people to visit and see what we have to offer.”
The Shops of Saddle Creek
7509 Poplar Avenue
When Saddle Creek opened in 1987, it was the first shopping center
developed as a lifestyle center in the Memphis region. Once its sister locations — Saddle Creek South and Saddle Creek West — opened in 1989 and 1995, respectively, The Shops of Saddle Creek collectively has become the highest performing shopping center on a sales-per-square-foot basis in all of greater Memphis.
Kenneth Taylor, who has been general manager since 2002, cites several reasons for its success: The 38139 Germantown zip code is ranked the wealthiest in Tennessee based on median household income;
the 38138 Germantown zip code is ranked sixth in the state; 44 percent of Saddle Creek shoppers’ household income is more than $100,000, and 25 percent of shoppers recently surveyed have incomes greater than $150,000.
Nearly half the shops are unique to the Memphis-area market. Among these are Anthropologie, Apple, and J. Crew. Taylor is especially excited about such high-end clothiers as Brooks Brothers, Free People, and Madewell, which were all recently added to the mix of shops.
Just as the City of Germantown has partnered with the lifestyle center on past projects, Taylor says he anticipates more joint involvement in 2014 and 2015, as Saddle Creek kicks off an expansion and renovation.
He adds that he and the merchants “are thankful for the Germantown Area Chamber as it strives for the growth of the city, including Saddle Creek.”
A version of this story originally appeared in the 2014 edition of Germantown magazine.