Loving Your Home with O.P. Jenkins Furniture
O.P. Jenkins Furniture and Design has been a pillar of Knoxville’s community and a vibrant member of downtown since 1907. The largest retail store downtown, O.P. Jenkins was founded to provide Knoxville with quality, affordable furniture. With the fourth and fifth generations now running the iconic store, new and old seamlessly meet to create a mecca of home furnishings and accents.
Keeping the business in the family has continued Jenkins’s original mission. Their superb service and refined design team are also to credit with the continuation of one of the oldest family-run establishments in Tennessee.
The business has stayed in the family, from the original Oliver Perry Jenkins operating the store from 1907 to the 1930s, when his son-in-law Jack Sherwood joined the team. Jack continued Oliver’s mission, carrying the store through the depression. Sherwood worked with families on a client by client basis, collaborating with the community. Bobby Sherwood assumed leadership in the 1960s, modernizing the building and the business by expanding the store’s square footage, updating the building and believing in the longevity of downtown Knoxville. His work ethic and efficiency led the store until his 2005 retirement. His son-in-law, Terry Troutman, joined the business in 1984, and with his wife Meg, Bobby’s daughter, took the reigns as owner-operators in 2005. Now their son-in-law, Brett Drummey, is on the team as well.
Family is clearly important to the O.P. Jenkins crew.
“It’s a family friendly culture,” Brett explains.
Buyer and designer Jey Stamps agrees.
“One of the best things about working here is that Meg and Terry want me to be a wife and mother first, and then an employee.”
Each generation has made their own contributions to the store. The Troutmans have grown with the downtown revitalization, expanding their showroom, increasing the design aspect and focusing on the community. Since Terry joined the family business, he has accomplished his vision to offer quality furnishings with interior design assistance: a large boutique where clients can truly experience the difference professional design and customization can make.
“This is the era of helping people love their homes. It’s not about the furniture; it’s about the people,” Terry explains.
O.P. Jenkins is continually involved with the Knoxville community. From supporting the Vols and other beloved teams with game day shirts to decorating the store in support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation each October, O.P. Jenkins is involved. If you visit the store during the International Biscuit Festival, you may just find a dining table full of biscuits.
O.P. Jenkins is an experience unto itself, with antiques and new items paired complimentarily. There are four floors of merchandise spanning 40,000 square feet. If you’re shopping for something to carry home, gift items, accessories and artwork are available. When you’re in need of larger items, quick delivery will ease your mind and let you enjoy your new purchases within the week. They sell items directly off of the floor or can custom order items to your specifications. Their free parking gives you the freedom to browse without the pressure of running out of metered time or traipsing through dark garages.
If design isn’t your strong suit, a team of 11 interior designers can tackle any project. From space planning to paint selection to custom upholstery, the design team has a myriad of specialties to guarantee satisfaction. Whether you’re looking to add just a few items to a room or refurnish from top to bottom, the design staff will work with you to create a place you’ll love to live in. They’ll ask how the room is used, what personal pieces you’d like to keep in the room, and you’ll be looking forward to doing puzzles with your family before they show you the computer composite of how it can look.
Interior designers are often requested by name, and the staff is highly capable of finding the designer to best fit your needs. An entire wall of upholstery, carpet, and wallpaper samples provide inspiration for the designer’s limitless ideas.
“My favorite thing about working here is that there are no limitations to what we can do,” interior designer Stephanie Montgomery says. “There are no boundaries to our creativity.”
Walking through O.P. Jenkins, it’s clear why this treasure has lasted 110 years. Historic accents, such as a working antique elevator, restored wood floors and architectural details abound. In one section of the showroom, fairy lights crisscross the ceiling while an antique ladder hangs as decor and an upcycled door serves as a light fixture base. This background perfectly complements the available furnishings. The style is eclectic, stylishly mixing old and new to create a cozy atmosphere where everyone feels welcome.
“We buy what we like, what we love, what we’d put in our own homes,” Jey says. “I get asked if I like a rug or item, and yes, I do. I hand-picked it for the store!”
While they know their history, they also know where they’re going. Their Nashville location opened in 2016, making them a regional asset. Their orders now extend beyond Tennessee’s borders.
What really makes this store unique is the staff. Everyone offers a smile and doesn’t rush or pressure your browsing. An air of positivity permeates the air, enabling you to take in the vast variety of beautiful items that surround you. The showroom is styled with unique and inviting furniture groupings.
“We’re trying our best to perfect [the client’s] experience,” Brett says. “It starts when they walk in and receive a warm welcome and follows through years after they’ve made their purchase. That’s where the quality of our furniture comes in and makes us stand out.”
Exhibiting local artists’ work provides a unique and varied inventory while also supporting other local businesses. During the holidays, local artists and craftsmen have pop-up boutiques showcasing jewelry, stationery and signs. Artist Julie Sterchi’s artwork is continually displayed, with seasonal and traditional canvas paintings available. The annual Lee Loves Local event is a community favorite. Local craftspeople participate, including McQueen Pottery, The Happy Envelope, Rainwater Farm, You Own the Look and Sparkle and Sawdust.
“We’re different because we’re a large furniture and design store but have the feel of a neighborhood store,” store manager Barbara Oliver says.
The O.P. Jenkins family loves Knoxville, and Knoxville loves them.
“Knoxville has a story to tell, and we feel like we’re part of it,” Meg says.
O.P. Jenkins is a part of Knoxville’s history and future. If you’ve been in the store on a Saturday, you’ve probably chatted with the owners. The families are present and engaged, interacting with the community they serve. They’re a family business, making you feel like a part of the family while you’re there.
You can visit O.P. Jenkins at their Knoxville location, 209 W. Summit Hill Drive from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday or online at OPJenkinsFurniture.com.