Longtime business owners of Vine Furniture announced its closure to customers in a letter earlier this month, according to a recent article from Inside of Knoxville.
“Knoxville Urban Guy” Alan Sims interviewed Vine Furniture Owner Kelly Shinlever about the closure. The business has been open downtown since 1944. Three years ago, for its 75th anniversary, Sims wrote a feature for Inside of Knoxville, celebrating the milestone.
Shinlever told the blog that in 2019, the family had plans to re-develop a portion of the building. But as the pandemic hit, the family began to consider the future and what they wanted. Although business was good (the day they reopened for walk-in customers after the pandemic was the biggest sales day in the store’s history), the family eventually decided it was time. Shinlever’s parents, who ran Vine Furniture before him, wanted to retire. The next generation, Shinlever’s children, did not have an interest in taking over the business.
Offers began to trickle in to buy the whole property. Vine Furniture sits on three-fourths of an acre, according to the article. This includes two joined buildings and a parking lot. Although Inside of Knoxville was asked by the buyer to not mention its name in the article, the offer of $4.75 million was accepted by Shinlever’s family with a closing date of June 2. At the time, they were given 90 days to sell inventory. Shinlever told Inside of Knoxville that 95 percent of their inventory was sold shortly after the closing letter went out to customers.
If items were bought through a financing deal, the Shinlevers are continuing to operate that portion of the business in two buildings they own across the street from the Vine Furniture property.
A search on Knox County’s KGIS portal shows the Ephant Group is now the owner of the property. According to the company’s website, it works in hospitality and hotel investment management and is based in Knoxville.