Occupation: Business owner/entrepreneur - Razberries Chic Boutique, Blackberry Briar
Family: Married to Kyle Kant, children: daughter Acadia, 21, son, Kamryn, 19.
Raina Kant marked something off her bucket list Monday evening. She sat with her son, Kamryn, and watched a harvest moon rise over the Atlantic in Charleston.
“The harvest moon rising over the ocean is beautiful. Kamryn and I went out to dinner, got 20 pounds of shrimp, watched the moon rise and now we’re watching TV,” she said by phone Monday evening. “He goes to school at the College of Charleston, and I try to take any time I can get with him.”
Raina Kant was born in Knoxville and raised in Atlanta. “Dad worked for Black and Decker, and they moved him to Atlanta when I was 18 months old,” she said. “I graduated from Stone Mountain High School. I ran a bakery for two years, one year before I graduated high school and then for a year after I graduated. Then I went to Maryville College.”
She graduated with a sign language interpretation degree. “There were only 4 places in the United States teaching that when I was at Maryville College,” she said. “I was on a bus on a trip to Panama City Beach with school people, and one of guys on the bus was deaf and signed the whole time with his sister. I thought, ‘That is too cool,’ and I started doing that.”
It was at Maryville College she met the man who would become her husband, Kyle Kant.
“He cried at ‘Little House on the Prairie.’ That’s when I knew I wanted to date him,” she says. “We met in a Bible study class, and I called him and asked him out. We dated a week and decided we were getting married. We waited a month to get the ring and got engaged at Elkmont Campground. We got married nine months later so they would not think I was pregnant and, after we were married, we got pregnant two months later.”
After graduation, the couple moved to Delaware where Raina taught high school for a year and a half before she got pregnant. “Then we had a baby, and I stayed home,” she said.
Daughter Acadia was their first child and their son, Kamryn, was born 18 months later.
Raina can’t say enough about her husband, although she apparently gives him a good-natured hard time any chance she gets. “He cooks me dinner every night I’m home and is a great guy. Our relationship has always been interesting,” she says. “We just have fun together.”
Raina says that in the early 1990s, Kyle took a job with BTR and moved back to Blount County where they lived off Sam Houston School House Road next to Popes Garden Center. “At that time I was doing Pampered Chef full time. Then he realized the plant was going to shut down three years before it did, so we got out of debt and eventually he quit, and we backpacked Europe all summer with the kids,” she says. “We turned lemons into lemon icebox pie. Then Kyle got a job with BMW, and we moved to South Carolina 10 years ago.”
In 2005, Kyle and Raina opened Blackberry Briar gift shop when they went in with three partners and developed Trillium Cove Shopping Village in Townsend. In December, 2007, they opened Razberries boutique in downtown Maryville on Court Street across from the Blount County Courthouse.
Anyone who knows Raina knows she has energy to spare. “I do get it from my dad and mom. They have a lot of energy, and I’ve been very blessed with a lot of energy. It was just learning how to direct that energy correctly. Mom taught us how to use energy to the best of our ability,” she says. “When you have attention deficit disorder as a kid, it is frequently considered a problem. But as you get older, it is great because you have energy when everyone else doesn’t. But as you get older, you feel it dwindling. Kamryn has it, but Acadia, not as much. Bless her heart. She is more level like Kyle.”
Here is Raina Kant:
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
“Kathy Bates in ‘Fried Green Tomatoes,’ always says ‘Towanda’ when she needs the power to do something. She has no self-confidence and she would say, ‘Towanda,’ to be confident.”
What are you guilty of?
“Loving life and people.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“Big Bling, rings and jewelry.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“That I don’t have an embarrassing moment to answer that question. I don’t worry what people think.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“Ride upstairs on an Airbus, learn to surf and backpack Europe with my family again.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Energy. I have always been blessed with a lot of it and wish I could share or sell it.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What is your passion?
“Travel, travel and travel. Did I mention travel?”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“Really there are two people, my grandmother, G.G. Joiner - she was incredible and I really miss all our time together, and Kyle, my husband, because I never get to see him.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“The 1980s. It was such a great time in my life.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“The ring Kyle got me for the millennium. It was a shocker.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“She would always say ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen?’ Nothing is really that bad compared to life.”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“My friends. I was lucky that they were good influences.”
Do you Myspace, Facebook or Twitter?
“Only for Razberries. I have a Facebook account. I just do not have enough time to do it all.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“Dipping pipe hangers to galvanize for my Dad’s business when I was a teenager. What a mess and so heavy.”
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon and why?
‘“Bugs Bunny.’ My mom and I would just laugh and laugh and laugh.”
What irritates you?
“Bad drivers. I’m on the road 65,000 miles a year and can’t stand people who drive slow in the fast lane.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“Besides Razberries, the mountains. What a great gift in our backyard. I love hiking the Chimney’s.”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
“Save your money and buy a house now - something inexpensive.”
What is your greatest fear?
“Something happening to my family. I don’t think I could bear the pain.”
“I still can’t quite get the hang of...
“Making everyone happy. Is it possible?”