The history of Meadow View Greenhouse and Garden Center actually begins in Fentress County, TN on a family farm that has been in operation since the 1800’s. Four children were born to Walton and Emma Belle between 1948 and 1963. The eldest, Linda, got her degree in teaching and married Bob Washburn, who was a lawyer. The second child, Bob, became an agricultural engineer. Mike was next in line, and he settled back on the farm to take over the day to day running of the operation. The forth child, Lisa, got a degree from UT and went into the US Army.
In the early 1980s, Bob Pile married and had children, and was feeling the pull of the farm. He knew from experience that farming is a hard way to make a living, so he began to think of a way to move back without stretching the resources of the farm. He came up with the idea of a greenhouse operation. In the meantime, Mike had married Connie Hill, and they agreed that they would help. The first greenhouse was built next to Mike and Connie’s house in 1982.
Linda was also feeling the pull of the farm, and her husband was feeling the stress of being a lawyer. They decided to move back to the farm and join in the greenhouse operation. In order to keep all families afloat while the greenhouse was being established, Linda began teaching at the elementary school and Bob Pile’s wife, Margaret, got a job with the UT Extension Service in Fentress County.
Over the past 27 years, the single greenhouse has grown into 50+ houses spread across the valley. Several million plants each year are grown there and sold under the name of Wolf River Valley Growers. It is truely a family business. All children and grandchildren either work there or have worked there, and Emma Belle still does the bookkeeping. Walton passed away in 1992, but he loved seeing the greenhouses grow and he loved having his family with him.
In the mid 1990’s, the three families began talking about opening a retail operation. Lisa and her husband Rodney Grugin had left the Army and were living in Knoxville, so that seemed like a good place to start. After searching for a good location, the site in Lenoir City was picked, and constuction began in 1996. Meadow View opened in the spring of 1997. The location has proven to be wonderful, and Meadow View continues to grow and flourish. Lisa and Rodney can be found there full time.