Full steam ahead

Closets by McKenry re-opens showroom, debuts design software

After passing the initial stage of the Phase I Re-Opening plan, the showroom doors at Closets by McKenry are open — and new design software has just debuted.

“Our showroom manager is back from layoff, and I just sold a big project, so we’re working full steam,” said Chris McKenry, Farragut High School Class of 1977 graduate and owner/chief organizing officer of Closets by McKenry, 201 Center Park Drive, just east of Farragut.

Closets by McKenry designs and installs custom closets. “We also do garages, laundry rooms, pantries, home offices, entertainment centers — any type of storage for the home,” McKenry said.

“We also are offering virtual appointments,” he added, noting whether a customer is concerned about COVID-19 or simply does not want to take the time to meet in person, “We can meet virtually over the computer and gather their information.”

Additionally, his company premiered software at a Tuesday, June 2, vendor meeting in Sevierville that would enable McKenry and his staff to design customers’ closets and other storage areas virtually.

“You can see it being designed on the computer, or we can design your closet in your home,” McKenry said, adding the software “allows us to more easily create the designs, and clients can actually see virtually what their new storage system will look like right then and there.”

Despite COVID-19, McKenry has been able to keep his business operating since it was considered “essential.”

“Because we are construction, we really never shut down,” the owner said. “We did have a period where I did lay off half of my staff, but they’re all back now.

“We were working safely, and we are still working safely,” he added while wearing a mask.

McKenry grew up next to Fox Road Marina, near Fort Loudoun Lake, and after high school he attended Carson-Newman University, from where he graduated in 1981.

“My family was in the poultry business,” he said.

But McKenry had other aspirations, and left for Los Angeles in 2000.

“I always had an interest in design. I don’t think I quite had it in me to an interior designer, but I enjoyed being a professional organizer when I moved to LA.” he said. “We would help them organize closets and their pantries, (but) I always felt like I could do a better job designing those spaces … so I knew when I came back to Knoxville that I would really like to open my own closet business.”

McKenry returned to Knoxville at the end of 2014 and started Closets by McKenry in his home in 2015, then moved the business to his showroom space at Center Park Drive in August 2019.

Hours are from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and and by appointment on Saturday.

For more information, call 865-249-3682, send an e-mail to chris@closetsbymckenry.com or visit the company’s website at ClosetsByMcKenry.com/. There’s a contact page on its website.

“We will respond to everything except smoke signals,” McKenry said and laughed.