Bees on a Bicycle will close Sunday on Chattanooga's Southside

Staff Photo by Dave Flessner / The 1,152-square-foot Bees on a Bicycle shop on south Market Street in downtown Chattanooga, seen Wednesday, is closing Sunday after five years. The store specialized in sustainable gardening with pots, plants and gifts.

Bees on a Bicycle, an urban garden center that opened five years ago on Chattanooga's Southside, is shutting down.

Catherine "Cath" Shaw, a business consultant who has previously operated three other businesses, came to Chattanooga in 2017 to open the plant and gift shop at 1909 Market St. Although the business is doing fine, Shaw said she decided to close the business Sunday after a weekend clearance sale.

"Businesses have a beginning, a middle and an end, and I just knew this was the time to end on a high note," Shaw said in a telephone interview, noting that Bees on a Bicycle was just named the best garden center in the WDEF-TV viewers' choice awards. "We wish to end with a sense of grace and dignity. It will be a difficult to close, but this is the time."

Shaw said she and her husband chose Chattanooga as a business site after previously working in a Washington, D.C., suburb because she saw Chattanooga as a walkable and affordable city. She has worked to promote sustainable, organic practices at her business, which she named for an art mural by Matt Lively.

Bees on a Bicycle is in a 1,152-square-foot former meat market, which Shaw bought for $225,000 and has since upgraded, according to property assessor records. Bees on a Bicycle is also the name of a book authored by Shaw, which includes the subtitle "finding home and hearth in significant ways."

Shaw said she has applied for another job, but that is not necessarily why she is closing the business.

"Chattanooga is a really strong community, and I have really seen the volunteer spirit here," she said, noting she plans to stay in town and is looking for new uses of her building. "Our business motto was "foster community, create beauty," and that truly happened."

Shaw has focused on sustainable, organic practices and educating the community on topics from native plants and regenerative farming to childhood nutrition.

"There are a lot of people who were only slightly aware of pollinator-friendly yards and regenerative gardening in the past who, hopefully, we were able to help educate and encourage, and I'm really inspired by that," she said.

To clear out the remaining merchandise, including shelves, tables and furnishings, Bees on a Bicycle will be open 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, with merchandise marked down 70%, Shaw said.

Contact Dave Flessner at or at 423-757-6340. Follow him on Twitter @dflessner1.