published Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

The American dream

Victoria Meek-Underwood was 8 years old when her family left a home in Wales and moved to the United States.

Meek-Underwood’s father, Les Meek, an antiques dealer and auctioneer, made the move across the Atlantic for business reasons.

Meek-Underwood’s eclectic antique shop in Red Bank, The Insyde Outsyde Shop, is a spin-off of her father’s Meek’s Antique Auctions.

Q. Do you plan to move back to Wales in the future?

A. No. This is home now. We are American citizens. I love Chattanooga, so we are here to stay. Chattanooga actually looks like Wales with the mountains and hills. I also like that it’s not too big and not too small, and there is always something fun going on downtown.

Q. When did you open The Insyde Outsyde Shop?

  • photo
    Staff Photo by Valera Decker Profile of Victoria Meeks. Victoria is owner of the Insyde Outsyde Shop in Red Bank.

A. The Insyde Outsyde Shop started almost 10 years ago. It actually was supposed to be this little corner shop that gave us something to do on the weekends. Now, it has turned into this 7,000-square-feet shop that I have to refill (with merchandise) every week. I get most of my stuff out of Wales and France.

Q. How do you feel about the reference to your shop as eclectic and affordable?

A. I love it. I love that people can have cool, funky furniture that fits their individual style and that I can help them get it without breaking their wallets. The other thing I like is that if people are wanting to experiment with something artsy like a faux finish or something they’ve seen on HGTV, then they can try it, and it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out.

Q. Does your whole family work together?

A. Yes. My dad is super funny, so every day is entertaining. My sister Josi and I are also a real-estate team for Exit Upward Realty in Hixson. We are very close, and we like it like that. We’ll work together all day and then call each other at east twice every night.

Q. As a business owner, real-estate agent and freelance photographer, do you have time to get involved in community events?

A. I am doing the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here in Chattanooga on Sept. 26. My aunt is a breast cancer survivor in Wales, so I’m doing it for her. We (as a family) also do the Red Bank charity auction every year during the Red Bank Jubilee.

Q. As the mother of two boys under age 2, how has parenting affected you?

A .I seem to have more patience now. I have realized that there is more to life than Louis Vuitton and Chanel. I’d rather buy toys for (sons) Max and Barron so they have fun things to play with.

Q. What do you see in your future?

A. I want to be financially stable, and I just want to have fun. I want to drive a Ferrari really fast on a track, and I want to ride in a fighter jet. Other than that, I just want to hang out with my family and laugh a lot.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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