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Ethan Allen, ‘Wilde’ about furniture


Ethan Allen Inc. has experienced many changes since the company began in the 1930s and the Ethan Allen gallery at Turkey Creek is no exception.

Owner Patti Wilde said, “Ethan Allen has changed dramatically since I started out with them. It was very much known as early American, maples, pines, very country, spindle beds, ladder-backed chairs, and that’s really what started the Ethan Allen line, but over the years it has changed, and in the last ten years it has dramatically changed to cover any area in design.

“Our big thing is that we show a little bit of all styles which we now can do. People are very surprised if they haven’t been in Ethan Allen for a long time because we were so early American and colonial.”


Wilde added she also owns a gallery in Chattanooga, so if customers do not see what they want in the Knoxville store, they can visit Chattanooga to see more of the Ethan Allen line.

Ethan Allen is more than a furniture store.

“We do anything from paint to the last fingertip towel for any room in the home. We are even now in the linen business, we can go as far with the consumer as the consumer wants to go,” Wilde said.

People who shop at Ethan Allen are not just called customers.

“We like to call them Ethan Allen friends, because this is a very happy, wild, wild place. We laugh and giggle and work hard and we like our customers to feel like they are coming in to visit us at home,” Wilde added.

Wilde said when customers first enter the store, her designers spend time getting to know their new “friends” and building a rapport so the designers can figure out exactly what the consumer wants to add to his or her home.

“It’s not like a dress. You don’t like a dress, you don’t wear it, you hang it back in the closet. It’s pretty hard to hide a sofa you don’t like,” Wilde added.

Ethan Allen offers complimentary design service at no charge.

“It helps us make your selection,” Wilde said. “You’re spending money, you want to know that you can live with it. You might be interested in a one hundred-fifty dollar lamp or you might be interested in a ten thousand-dollar room, but we still love to come out to the home.

“The biggest thing we love to hear from a consumer after the truck goes out, we take our accessories out, we put the whip cream on the room, then we love to hear you say, ‘It is great, we love it, it is us and we will be back,’ and I truly have to pride myself in saying they do come back.”

Wilde knows the importance of location. She relocated her store from Kingston Pike, across from Calhoun’s, to Turkey Creek when the development was in its early stages.

She said not only is Ethan Allen one-stop shopping, but the store is located next to other furniture stores, “a furniture row,” that allows people to save time when shopping for the home.

Wilde said, “They’re building a new lifestyle mall here in Turkey Creek. There are going to be linen stores, there are going to be cookware stores, everything pertaining to the home. So what better place to be than where a busy career woman can take and hit many different places in one afternoon?”

Although Wilde redecorates her gallery on a monthly basis, she said Ethan Allen friends can expect certain things: color, Wilde’s Yorkshire Terrier, Bijou, and church bells.

“I have fifteen thousand five hundred square feet, when [friends] come into the store, they can visually see different colors, they can see what it looks like on the wall, and it gives them a much better idea of dreaming up what they might like,” Wilde said while sitting in a hot pink room with Bijou lying on the bed.

“[Friends] know her. She comes to work everyday. They think she’s stuffed until she moves,” Wilde said about her “boss” whose name is French for “rare jewel.”

Wilde said that while Bijou appears to run the store, she has church bells in the store and on her roof that ring to remind her that the true CEO of her store is God.

Ethan Allen is located at 11125 Turkey Drive. For more information, visit www.ethan-allen.com or call 865-777-0842.

 

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