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Sarah "Tata" White Kellam

In 1976 at the age of 33 Sarah “Tata” White started selling plants from her greenhouse in a vacant lot on Virginia Beach’s Shore Drive. It was then when she knew she wanted to start an interior plantscaping business.

After lots of family input, Tata decided on the name “Mr Greenjeans”. With hard work over many years, Mr. Greenjeans evolved into a Tidewater-based company selling plants to corporations as well as individuals. The company offered fresh flowers, orchid rentals, outside container gardening and plant rentals for weddings and community events, as well as a weekly service to keep the plants healthy and beautiful. With Tata at the helm of the expanding operations, this growth was nurtured by a team of green-thumbs that, over time, grew to 50 employees. In equal measure, Tata sought to foster the growth of her employees by providing financial support for college night school enrollment

In 1990, Tata was selected by Virginia’s SBA program to mentor another woman business owner, Pamela Barefoot, who started Blue Crab Bay Company on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Pam enjoyed strong public acceptance of her, rapidly growing, specialty food products. Over the years Tata helped to enhance Pam’s leadership skills as well as the positive corporate culture at her business, while she continued to grow sales.

Eventually, Tata was selected by Virginia’s SBA program to mentor another woman business owner, Pamela Barefoot, who started Blue Crab Bay Company on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Pam enjoyed strong public acceptance of her, rapidly growing, specialty food products. Over the years Tata helped to enhance Pam’s leadership skills as well as the positive corporate culture at her business, while she continued to grow sales.

Eventually, Tata was named Outstanding Professional Woman of Hampton Roads and asked to join Who’s Who of America. Mr. Greenjeans was awarded Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year. Over the course of her career as an entrepreneur, Tata has also been involved in Leadership Hampton Roads, D’Art Center, and has served on the board of the National Interior Plantscape Association, among various other community organizations.

Her protégé, Pam, introduced Tata to her future husband, Lucius Kellam, and they were married in 1992. Mr. Greenjeans was sold in 1993.