Occupation: Owner of Dandy Lions Gifts
Family: Married to Will Carver, son Drew, 3, and daughter Caroline, 1.
Joy Forster Carver’s dream of owning a stationary and gift shop here in Maryville began while the Maryville native was working her way through college at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
“I worked retail while I was there and loved it. I liked helping people and being creative but didn’t know how to pursue that further. I thought if I liked helping people and being creative, I should go into education,” she says. “I did urban education in a Hispanic school and loved it. Then I went to the University of Tennessee and pursued a master’s degree in counseling.”
It was at UT about 10 years ago as she was starting graduate school that she met Will Carver. He was starting at UT Law School. “We met our very first day on campus, but we didn’t start dating until a year later.”
The dating led to marriage, and Joy worked a few years in the Knox County school system. When they decided to have children, Joy started a stationary business in their home.
The idea was to be at home with their son, Drew, but the business kept growing and was taking more and more time.
“We had so many brides in our home! I was selling stationary and working with brides when one day Will came upstairs and told me Drew was just rolling over for the first time. I realized I was at home, but it was so busy that our home was becoming a store. I thought it would just be better to have a store, so I took a leap of faith and God has blessed what we’ve done,” she says.
Joy has also followed in the footsteps of her parents, Carolyn and Fred Forster, who are very well known for being active in the community. Joe says she enjoys being on committees with them and seeing them at non-profit community events.
“We’re not unique,” she says. “There are lots of Blount County families who are so invested here. They had a great experience growing up, and they want that for their families.”
Here is Joy Carver:
Who are you most like, your mother or your father and why?
“If I am anything like either my mother or father, I will feel very lucky. I hope that I have inherited some of their passion for their hometown. I know that Maryville means so much to them, and I have watched them give fully of their time and efforts to making this a great place for families to grow and industry to thrive. If I can be a good steward of Blount County and leave it a little better each day, like they do, then I will feel very accomplished.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“I have a simple wooden dough bowl from my grandparents’ farm house. It always sat in their kitchen with fresh fruit in it.”
What are you reading currently?
“Oh dear, I’m not much of a reader of literature, but I sure do love Wikipedia. Instant gratification with information- technology is grand.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“I think it would be great to learn PhotoShop. I do a lot of design work, but don’t know a thing about photography. To combine the two would be a fun hobby.
Secondly, I would love to travel internationally with my husband. We each traveled and did study abroad in college, but have never done that as a couple.
Finally, I have always wanted to fly in a small plane with my dad. He was a career pilot, but I have never flown with him. To see the world from his view would be a dream.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I would love to be more punctual. It drives me crazy when I am late, but I can’t seem to change this about myself - yet.”
What is your passion?
“Relationships. Family and friendships are such treasures. I learn so much from real conversations and all the neat individuals that I get to meet in my work. The neat thing is people come here to celebrate a milestone in their lives. It is truly an honor to be a small part of that.”
If a movie were made about your life, who would play you and why?
“I’d want it to be somebody with bright red hair and a feisty spirit.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“Though I love my engagement ring, I treasure a charm bracelet that Will gave me when our daughter was born. There are only two charms, one for each child and their birth dates. It is my little way to have them with me wherever I go.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
‘“This, too, shall pass.’ If I heard it once, I’ve heard it hundreds of times. How can anything get you down or steal your spirit if you know it will pass? Everyone gets to some point in their life where they don’t feel ideal or question the journey they are on, but you know it’s a fleeting time in the grand scheme of our life. Knowing ‘This too shall pass’ is the promise and hope of something new around the corner.”
What is one word others often use to describe you?
“With a name like Joy, I guess that is an easy target for conversation. It keeps me accountable to being nice, that is for sure.”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“My grandmother, Tommie Joyce Hitch DeLozier. She is 80-plus years old and lives daily with the joy of the Lord truly in her life. When you watch someone who can be a 25-year terminal cancer survivor and be very elderly now and still have joy in her heart, you know that comes from something bigger.”
Do you Myspace, Facebook or Twitter?
“I’ve never been on MySpace and can’t figure out ‘tweeting,’ but have grown to really love Facebook. What an amazing tool to link families, friends, and businesses.”
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
“Currently, the Carver house is pet-free, but if we were in the market for a new addition, I would choose a dog. I just don’t think a cat could keep up with two toddlers the way a dog could.”
What irritates you?
“I can’t understand why people don’t put their shopping buggies back in the ‘Return Carts Here’ place. It is such a simple concept of putting things back where they belong.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“Dandy Lions Gifts - it’s a wonderful gift and stationery store in the original Historic Harper Memorial Library. Located on 300 East Church Avenue in Downtown Maryville, the charm of the building and the friendly atmosphere make for a great visit. Shameless promotion, I know.”