Cath Shaw Truelove of Bees On A Bicycle Garden Center discusses her career and book.
Few locals have lived a life quite like that of Cath Shaw Truelove. She is a wearer of many hats, with business owner, gardening expert, and published author just being a few of them. A new hat she is wearing is that of a Chattanoogan changing the community.
Cath moved to Chattanooga 4 years ago to create Bees on a Bicycle Garden Center. Before her life here, she had been the owner of a marketing agency in Washington, D.C. It was through one of her clients that she got the idea to settle in Chattanooga.
“My client planted the seed,” Cath said. “They knew that I loved gardening and encouraged me to pursue it here. That’s how Bees on a Bicycle started three years ago.”
Her passion for gardening has led her to create significant connections in the community. Cath often tells stories to her customers and is a social butterfly, always sharing with those she meets. On social media, she would often post stories of her life that her friends and customers loved to read, encouraging her to find another way to tell them. These comments encouraged her to write Bees On A Bicycle, a book filled with these stories about Cath’s life and gardening.
Bees on a Bicycle is far more than just a gardening business and a book, though. Cath utilizes her business to help the community by offering internships for local students interested in gardening and small business skills. Bees on a Bicycle also fills a unique niche in Chattanooga’s gardening circles as it focuses on regenerative practices. Avoiding polluting the water table with harmful fertilizers is something that Cath is passionate about. She makes sure to teach her customers to garden in a way that can avoid this.
“Our motto is Foster Community and Create Beauty,” Cath said. “That’s what we are here to do.”
COVID-19 has had harsh effects on Bees on a Bicycle. Cath ensured her business was taking the pandemic threat seriously by closing down for several months at the start. This made them lose their biggest sales season of the year and has forced Cath to focus on building the business back up. This has not discouraged her, though, and she still has high hopes for the future. She plans to write another book and begin focusing on becoming connected with more organic vendors in the area.