Bees on a Bicycle, a new 'urban garden center,' to open on Southside

Catherine "Cath" Shaw will open Bees on a Bicycle, her new 'urban garden center' at 1909 Market St., on June 21 — the summer solstice.
Catherine "Cath" Shaw will open Bees on a Bicycle, her new 'urban garden center' at 1909 Market St., on June 21 — the summer solstice.
photo Some of the indoor decorative items to be offered at Bees on a Bicycle on June 21.

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Another hip, new business will open on Chattanooga's Southside neighborhood: Bees on a Bicycle, an "urban garden center" at 1909 Market St. that will offer native flowers sourced from Tennessee forests, a "curated" selection of outdoor and indoor decorative items and advice about creating small, urban gardens.

"You can create a whole garden in a pot that size," said the business' owner Catherine "Cath" Shaw as she pointed to a handmade pottery planter that will be for sale when Bees on a Bicycle opens on June 21 - the summer solstice.

Shaw knows small gardens. As a grad student in the mid-1990s in Washington, D.C., she launched a landscaping business, the Garden of Urban, that specialized in under-200-square-foot gardens, many of which were in front of row houses.

Shaw sold that business, and then went on to found - and eventually sell - a 10-employee marketing business in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C.

Shaw and her fiancé, Graham Truelove, moved to Chattanooga from Virginia just over a year ago. They chose Chattanooga over other cities that Shaw said are walkable, affordable and have a growing craft beer scene, including Asheville, N.C., Tampa, Fla., and Austin, Texas.

Shaw bought her building, a former meat market, in February at auction for $225,000, according to property assessor records. She beat out a half dozen other bidders.

Chattanooga's Southside neighborhood has new homes built close together in neighborhoods with sidewalks, and Shaw expects that customers will walk to her store.

"I'm trying to get things that you can't find at [big box stores]," she said.

Bees on a Bicycle is the latest new business at the developing edge of Market Street near 20th Street. Also nearby are the Chatter Box Cafe barbecue and the All City Barber Co. Meanwhile, a new restaurant and retail store are due to open across Market Street in vacant buildings under renovation, said Shaw.

One thing Shaw hopes to do during the holiday season is find someone who'll sell Christmas trees at her business.

"Somebody else can sell the trees - I'll rent the space," she said.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at or www. or on Twitter @meetforbusiness or 423-757-6651.