Wild Iris Florals Coming to 629 North Central Street

Future Home of Wild Iris Florals, 629 North Central Street, Knoxville, October 2022
Future Home of Wild Iris Florals, 629 North Central Street, Knoxville, October 2022

It’s an address you might not have noticed before. As far as new owner Megan Wright knows, it has been used mostly for storage for at least the last twenty years. She has big plans to change all that with Wild Iris Florals, making the address pop as downtown’s nearest florist.

Megan is from around Greensboro, North Carolina, and has been moving westward ever since. She attended college at Appalachian State, in Boone, North Carolina where she studied Tourism and Hospitality Management. After graduation, seven years ago. She says Knoxville is where it stops for her.

I love it here. My sister was here, and it was a great place to land after school with affordable housing and lots of jobs. I thought it was going to be a steppingstone, but we really loved it and seven years later have a house and a business and the whole thing.

The “we” in this case includes her husband, Jake, who is a school counselor at Emerald Academy. She said without him her dream of a brick-and-mortar shop would not be happening.

She said she started school as an art major but became nervous about making a living and switched her major. She felt the business and management portion of that degree would be helpful no matter what her ultimate career. The idea of owning her own business was a seed that had been planted years before as she and her father often talked about what business they might one day open. Sadly, he did not live to see her bring that dream to fruition.

Future Home of Wild Iris Florals, 629 North Central Street, Knoxville, October 2022

Upon arriving in Knoxville, she worked with a series of non-profits for about six years. She said she’d always “done a lot of volunteer work, and I got really lucky and landed a job with the Girl Scouts . . . That helped me get to know the community . . . community is really important here and your neighborhood is important.”

Next, she worked with the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce for almost three years, working in marking and small business development. She did youth programs and other “community engagement.” She said it was another step in helping her understand the city and it also introduced her to the Makers in the area as that is when that movement was taking hold.

Eventually she was ready to move from the non-profit world and let that go, taking a job in Halls Flower Shop, which she said was wonderful, while she tried to figure out her next move. She was surprised to find that it tied in with her artistic side and she “just loved it.” She said her background in marketing was also useful, while they helped her learn the technical side of floral arrangement.

She also worked for a time with Flourish Flowers. She had the opportunity to work on their farm and “that really helped me appreciate the local flowers and local farmers.” Throughout this time, she freelanced. “We’ve got a really great flower community where everyone is helpful and cooperative.”

As she worked in the floral field for a while and realizing how much she enjoyed it, “I wanted a little more of that creative freedom to do the types of designs I love to do . . . I’m really interested in local flowers and more sustainable practices. I started feeling that itch to stretch myself.”

Future Home of Wild Iris Florals, 629 North Central Street, Knoxville, October 2022

She started Wild Iris about a year ago, working out of her house. “I’ve hit max capacity in my tiny little basement.” As the business built and she had some large weekend events, she and her husband agreed the business needed its own dedicated location. “I knew I wanted to stay in north-central Knoxville . . . I loved my time working downtown with the Chamber and this past year while getting my business on its feet I had worked at Magpies down the street, and I’ve always loved this strip.”

She also noted that downtown has lost two florists for different reasons in recent years and felt there was a gap in services there. She knows she’s just out of what some people think of as downtown, but she thinks the area has some of that energy. She’s watched it connect as breweries and other businesses have opened.

She’s excited about the space she found, feeling it gives her a chance to do some things she’d hoped to do, like host community workshops and meetings. A small room to one side of the space will allow that, as well as floral design classes she’s happy to be able to offer. With her location, she’s also excited to be a part of First Friday. She’s happy to be near the new galleries in Emory Place.

She’s picked up momentum with weddings and she’s happy about that, “but my passion’s always been with the retail side of it, the home deliveries and pickups . . . I think you get the one-to-one connections with that; you get to know customers.” The front half of the space will include retail items such as chocolates, candles, art, and cards. The back half will be studio design space, which she’s excited is “about five times the size of the space at the house.”

She’ll have a small cooler for flowers and people will be able to call ahead and order flowers, as well as drop in. Anyone wishing to order picks a price point, a color palette and design style, and, finally, add any “design notes.” The space will be open so people can easily see what is available. “Sometimes people know what they want when they see it, but they may not know it until they see it.”

Future Home of Wild Iris Florals, 629 North Central Street, Knoxville, October 2022

She’ll have as many local and seasonal flowers as possible. “From a design side it’s more interesting. You get to see things you aren’t used to working with. Beyond that, you get to support local farms and it is more sustainable.” She’s been working with Sevier Blumen, who you’ll also find at the Market Square Farmers’ Market, and she plans to work with others.

You can learn more and make your orders through the website, see the latest developments on Facebook and follow along on Instagram.

Kaiser Restorations is helping with the clean out, doing the “heavy lifting, like grinding down the concrete.” She’s also been helped, she said, by “very loving friends and family.” She’s hoping to open in early November, hopefully in time for First Friday. Hours will be Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00 am – 5:30 pm on weekdays and 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm on the weekends.

Discover more from Inside of Knoxville

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading