Closing after 13 years

Popes at the Junction loses lease at Dixie-Lee; property sold

Shoppers living near or traveling through Dixie Lee Junction soon will have to get their produce and plants elsewhere.

Pope’s Plant Farm will be closing Popes at the Junction Thursday, July 25.

“We lost our lease,” Pope’s general manager Ben Blackburn said. “We’ve leased that property (at 19770 Highway 11E just west of Farragut town limit) for 13 years.”

He explained the property owners, the Sharp family, decided to sell.

“I understand,” Blackburn said. “It’s very valuable property, but we weren’t given any notice of this until six to eight weeks ago, and we never heard from them at all. We heard from the new owners.

“(The new owner) asked, ‘when are you going to move out?’ He was as surprised as we were (that Pope’s was not notified),” the general manager added. “We didn’t have any bad history with the Sharps.

“That (lack of notification) put us in a bind to find a new spot.”

However, Blackburn noted the new owners have “been very generous to give us time to move everything out … but I understand they can only be so patient.”

A three-generation business dating back to the 1970s also serving Knoxville, Maryville and Greenback, Pope’s is looking for a new location to serve the Farragut, Lenoir City, West Knox County and Tellico Village area.

“We were very successful for years and have loyal customers,” Blackburn said. “It’s very disappointing to us and our customer base.

“It’s unfortunate for our employees, but we’re going to shuffle them around (to the two other locations) as best we can,” he added.

Before closing, Blackburn said their business “will be running sales starting at half price.”

Other Pope’s Plant Farm locations where its customers can shop: Popes at Creekside, 8718 S. Northshore Drive, Knoxville, and Popes at Ginger’s, 244 S. Old Glory Road, Maryville.

Appreciating his loyal customer base, “We’re definitely going to open another spot in the area just as soon as we can,” Blackburn said.

All locations are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday.

For more information, call 865-986-0157. For Popes at Creekside, call 865-313-2473, or for Pope’s at Ginger’s, call 865-984-3574.