I first mentioned Bryce Caldwell in an article last summer about a business headed by Nina Ash, called Green Ash Design. At the time, Bryce told me he had a young business that he planned to bring to the center city. Called Smoky Mountain Vintage Lumber, he and partner Andrew Edens have made the move and they are open for business at 937 N. Central Street. It’s almost in sight of Broadway and before you reach Happy Holler proper – if you can use the word “proper” in the same sentence with “Happy Holler.” Look closely: I drove past it the first time.
In my defense, the great mural was blocked from view by a truck containing a large number of Tennessee grown Christmas trees. The trees are now unloaded and are available for purchase starting today. The trees are grown by Roan Valley Tree Farm near Johnson City and include Fraser Firs, which are not grown extensively on this side of the state border with North Carolina. Roan Valley is a venerable establishment that placed a tree in the White House in 1993 and more recently provided a tree for the warehouse shots on Duck Dynasty. That’s some serious tree cred.
In addition to sharing a Tennessee grown tree with the fellows on Duck Dynasty, you also have an option of having ten percent of the purchase price donated to any of several charities. The list includes the Helen Ross McNabb Center, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Catholic Charities, Tru-Dog Network (my friend Tyna’s dog rescue service), East Tennessee Kidney Foundation and Faith Promise Church.
Fraser Firs is only the beginning, they also have Blue Spruce, Grand Firs, Concolor Firs and White Pines all ranging from four to twelve feet tall. Wreaths and garland will also be available and they invite you to enjoy some free hot chocolate or apple cider while you browse. The kids will likely enjoy the two-story tall inflatable Santa.
The lumber business sits behind the Christmas trees and offers a wide range of wood as well as services. It’s fascinating to explore what they have on site and that represents only about twenty percent of their inventory, though gradually it is migrating to Central Avenue from the original site in Claxton. The two started collecting the wood, primarily from old barns, in 2010 and originally had a location in Claxton. Really set up more to provide wood for large jobs, they realized quickly that many people really need smaller amounts of the recycled wood.
Both Andrew and Bryce work near downtown, so they decided to bring the business to the city. The space beside Hard Knox Marketing seemed to fit their needs and so they leased it. With a refurbished workshop, they are able to offer finishes for the wood appropriate to the use whether it be for outdoor or indoor siding, flooring or other specialized uses. They are working up architectural sample boards to highlight the available stock.
And the options are pretty amazing. Not only do they have heart Pine, hand-hewn beams, maple, chesnut and cedar, they also have specific architectural pieces, such as barn doors, horse doors and tobacco baskets in near-perfect condition. Extremely large jobs that might be larger than their existing stock can easily be filled through the networks to which they belong. It was enough to make me wish I could do a project with vintage wood.
So, if you want to support a downtown business and buy a Tennessee grown Christmas tree, this is likely your only option. While you are there you might just be inspired to begin a construction project in your home. I know you won’t find nicer people to do business with and I can’t imagine why you’d want to when you have this great, new option.