Fresh flowers and coffee businesses blend on North Broadway in Fountain City

Ali James
 |  Shopper News

Two days before the grand opening of Cultivate Coffee + Flowers, a cold front was moving in. But the new Fountain City business was warm and inviting inside.

Savannah Pannell, owner of Flourish Flower Truck, had been looking to move her burgeoning business into a brick and mortar for over a year, but for one reason or another nothing panned out until she and her husband, Isaac, found the former Fifth Third bank building at 5221 N. Broadway.

“There aren’t many local things in Fountain City; a central gathering space was really missing,” said Pannell. The location, just south of the lake, is ideally situated for the morning traffic flow, and a turn lane and existing drive-thru provide easy access.

All they needed was a coffee shop partner. Enter Katie and Will Boggs, who opened Likewise Coffee at 1209 East Magnolia Ave. in November 2020.  

Likewise Coffee is technically owned by their nonprofit Raising a Voice, with 100% percent of sales going to fight human trafficking abroad and to help local women in sexually abusive situations. 

“It wasn’t so much which coffee shop was the most successful, we looked for the right people to partner with and we love what Raising a Voice is doing,” said Pannell.

The two businesses considered multiple names for their new venture. “We wanted to tie coffee and flowers together. Both are organic, both grow and that is what we want this space to be,” said Isaac Pannell. “Katie said, ‘Cultivate community, conversations and creativity’. It stuck.”

Savannah Pannell launched her mobile flower shop out of the back of a 1961 Ford Econoline in 2018 and has since added a second truck and full-time wedding flower designer to her business.

At Cultivate, Flourish will continue to provide stems to create your own bouquet in addition to premade arrangements.

“Even if you aren’t buying you can see them putting arrangements together,” said Isaac Pannell. “Most florists have a back workspace; we wanted to provide a window in. We are going to do drive-thru bouquets. It’s a cool touch.”

There are grab-and-go bouquets next to the coffee counter, and they will sell each other’s items.

“We do your usual lattes, Americanos and Capps — hot or iced,” said Boggs. “You can substitute Matcha in any drink. We have seen great success in it at Likewise.”

Cultivate will have homemade syrups, including a rose syrup, which is a play off Flourish, according to Boggs.

Likewise manager Caleb Newman has been busy training the new team at Cultivate.

“People push people away if they don’t have coffee experience,” said Newman. “We have some great new people. You have to have patience in training them, but it pays off.”

Flourish Flower Truck has moved their main operation to Cultivate Coffee + Flowers so that people can assemble their own bouquets or watch the team assemble arrangements. Jan. 6, 2022.

Coffee roasting will still be based on Magnolia Avenue, but Cultivate will have bags of beans for sale, too.

To start, Cultivate will offer grab-and-go food, biscuits and pastries with a more comprehensive menu launching this spring.

When construction began for Cultivate Coffee + Flowers, Boggs said it really looked like a bank.

Isaac Pannell is a general contractor and has been hard at work converting the old disused bank since October. “The main goal there (is) getting the floral team a space to work through the winter months,” said Savannah Pannell.

“We kept the two offices, but the vault was in the middle of the kitchen so we had to plasma cut that out,” said Isaac Pannell. “There was only plumbing in the two bathrooms; we had to remove the drop down ceiling, work with support columns and add half-walls and decorative touches.”

Cultivate Coffee + Flowers. Jan. 6, 2022.

While planning the layout they settled on a blend of comfortable seating from bar seating, comfy armchairs to office-style seating. Cultivate can accommodate up to 49 customers.

An additional room with 8-foot-long conference tables will be available for workshops and event rental.

The coffee shop will be open 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. The flower counter hours may vary, and coffee and flower purchases can be made at either counter, through the drive-thru or via the website at cultivateknox.com/order-now.

Flourish Flower Trucks will still be on the road, but may concentrate on West Knoxville pop-up locations.