About SPNA

The Sylvan Park Neighborhood Association (SPNA) is the collective community voice for addressing neighborhood issues such as zoning, security, beautification, traffic, metropolitan services, and environment.

SPNA members meet on the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Senior Renaissance Center of Cohn Adult Learning Center at 4805 Park Avenue.

About Sylvan Park

Welcome to Sylvan Park! We hope you love this neighborhood as much as we do. Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for newcomers to learn more.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Stop in at the Gateway to Sylvan Park

Top Left: Lou Farrell, Founder of Import Flowers
Even though it doesn't look very big from the outside, Import Flowers is the kind of place where you can get lost for a long time.

"We probably have 50 to 70 thousand stems of flowers in here at any given time," says Lou Farrell, who started the business in 1977. "I never thought this was going to happen."

Farrell didn't think it was going to happen because when he first started his wholesale flower business, he was the only employee, not sure whether he would be able to make enough money to keep going, let alone expand.

"I had a kerosene heater in the middle of the floor and I’d call and sell flowers, put the phone on hold, go and deliver the flowers, come back take the phone off and sell some more flowers," remembers Farrell. "That went on for a year or two. Then, I got one employee that could drive the truck and we’ve gradually worked our way up, and we’ve been this size now for three or four years."

The businesses bloomed out of Farrell's love of flowers and has been a fixture at its current location in Sylvan Park (3636 Murphy Rd.) since 1983. As far as the building's sparse interior? Farrell says that's not by accident.

"A customer of mine said you need to leave it looking ugly," says Farrell, " He said it needs to be a warehouse when they walk in where the flower is the only good looking thing in there."

And the bright murals on the outside of the building are thanks to some unique neighborhood artists.

"I told them I wouldn’t put my name out there, I didn’t say I wouldn’t paint it," laughs Farrell, referring to a promise he made with flower shops in town when he first opened his business, "Actually, some kids, some eighth graders at one of the middle schools came to me and said 'We’d like to paint on your building'. I said 'Why', and they said they got caught tagging. They were taggers, right. So I asked my police friend here in the neighborhood and he said sure enough, 'We caught them a few times, but they want to do something honest'. So I let them paint that building and they did it with spray paint. They tagged my building in a big way. They all went onto the metro art magnet school and are successful kids. That did that when they were eighth graders five to seven years ago."

Farrell says his business has thrived on the customer-base in Sylvan Park and the relationships they've created all over Nashville. Whatever flowers they don't sell get donated to various non-profits around town and Farrell says their business is happy right where it is.

"We feel very much a part of the neighborhood and we love having our neighbors come in and visit," says Farrell.

"Easy Summer Arrangement" by Import Flowers' design specialist, Ashley Walters

What to buy: Peonies, salal tips, larkspur, purple larksburg, and astilbe

1. Start with the greens to hold the other flowers in place while you work.
2. Trim off leaves that would be below water line.
3. Add in the peonies (the main flower) at varying heights.
4.  Fill in with remaining flowers at remaining height.
5. Enjoy!

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