Local Antioch business faces lease threat to its future

A local family-owned business has its back against the wall stemming from allegations that the landlord who owns the property the business is located on isn’t living up to his word.

A Greener Way, which has operated in Antioch for nearly 25 years, first under All Natural Lawns and Landscaping and now under the current name, is in danger of closing, but not from a lack of business.

According to owner Tanya Hans, the business has been operating at its four-acre location at 4088 Murfreesboro Pike under a lease-to-own agreement with landlord Mr. Shams.

Hans said that recently Mr. Hans showed up with a new lease that immediately increases the business’ rent by 40 percent and gives him permission to increase it 103 percent per month. She said he stated that he wants to sell the location for a gas station or other similar use.

He is also refusing to offer any compensation for the portion of rent that was earmarked for the possible purchase of the property and is refusing to sell to Hans and her company.

Hans said she’s tried to work with her landlord but with no avail.

“Mr. Shams will not take calls from me,” she said, adding, “Yes, I will be seeking legal council and will go to court if necessary to fight Mr. Shams.

Hans, who has lived in Southeast Nashville most of her life and has refused requests to move the community business closer to customers in Smyrna, Green Hills, Franklin, and other areas because, as she says, this is her home.

The company recently started a petition on the advice of a Metro Council Member. The goal is 9,000 signatures, and there’s quite a ways to go. At this writing, they were still under 100 signatures.

Hans said the idea of the petition is to show Shams that if he wants to go through the zoning process to place a gas station or apartments on the location, he’ll have quite a fight from the community on his hands.

“I am hoping the petition will gain enough support to make Mr. Shams realize he needs to abide by our original agreement to avoid a lengthy and expensive court battle,” Hans said.

“I do truly appreciate those that have supported us in so many ways and it warms my heart to hear they appreciate us,” Hans said. “I love my community and we have tried to support our community with donations of plants and materials over the years, and of course by offering good service and reasonable prices on safe products.”

The beginning

Hans started her business nearly quarter of a century ago after reading about a 9-year-old who was dying of a rare form of cancer. She said the parents did research and discovered the cancer was caused by chemicals being used to treat the lawn.

“When I read that story, I looked at my husband and said there has to be a better way to have a nice lawn without using chemicals,” Hans said.

She started conducting research and learned of a wide range of organic approaches. At that point, she decided to start a service business. Eventually, they expanded, building the Home and Garden Center, spending more than $100,000 and several years rezoning and creating the beautiful location you see now on Murfreesboro Pike.

Her goal is to keep low priced – her prices are often lower than those of big box stores despite being organic – organic lawn care and related products in Antioch.

The future

Hans said that she has looked at other properties in the area, but they are not properly zoned. That would result in a lengthy and expensive rezoning process – again.

“We’ve seen some decent property in Murfreesboro and Franklin, but again, we do not want to leave our community!” Hans said.

Her best guess is that if something happens and they can’t keep the Home and Garden Center, the company will operate out of Hans’ home and focus on the lawn service and landscape side of the business. Still, it is a tough pill to swallow for Hans.

“One of the things that really saddens me to think of not having a location is not being able to offer the organically grown Christmas trees to our customers,” Hans said. “It breaks my heart to think they will no longer have an organic choice and will go back to having to get a Christmas tree loaded with deadly chemicals.”

She added, “My heart truly breaks, especially for the children that will be around cancer causing chemicals on their lawns and their Christmas tree.”

Editor’s Note

Like many family small businesses, A Greener Way wasn’t started so the owners can get rich. Tanya Hans has a true passion for organic and all natural approaches to landscaping and lawn care. The business has been in our community for many years and they need your support. Now.

This isn’t about whether or not Tanya Hans stays in business. Rather, it is about what kind of Antioch do you want?

I have no qualm with big box stores, but do you want store after store and gas station after gas station? Or would you prefer a locally owned business where you are greeted by the owner, who is an expert, when you walk in the door? In the case of Hans, a local expert owner who is truly interested in what you are trying to achieve at your home and can be a strong resource as you develop a beautiful and healthy organic yard.

What kind of Antioch do you want?

You can sign the petition, which has the possibility of applying pressure to the property owner. However, the best thing you can do is become a customer. Spring is on us, so head on down to A Greener Way Garden Center at 4088 Murfreesboro Pike, check out what they’ve got, spend a few bucks, and become a new customer.