Tori Mason Shoes to Debut at 29 Market Square, Bliss Home Transitions

Bliss Home, 29 Market Square, Knoxville, July 2016

Bliss Home, 29 Market Square, Knoxville, July 2016

Quite a bit has changed since Lisa Sorensen and Scott Schimmel first opened Bliss at 24 Market Square in 2003. Back then people could be forgiven for guessing their little venture might not last. Few retail outlets were succeeding in a downtown that seemed to have been forgotten. But they succeeded. That store is going strong thirteen years later and in those years they also opened Bliss Home at 29 Market Square in 2005, a west Knoxville store in 2008 and they expanded the Bliss Home brand to Nashville in 2014.

The couple continues to evolve their businesses and have now decided to transition the original Bliss Home at 29 Market Square into Tori Mason Shoes. Lisa said, “I’ve felt for a long time downtown needed a shoe store,” and they’ve decided the space at 29 Market Square is more suited to that purpose at this time. The couple feels that Bliss Home would really benefit from a larger space and they also noted there are several other furniture stores downtown, including not only the traditional stores, Vine Furniture and O.P. Jenkins, but also Adorn in the Old City and Nest Knoxville, which opens today on the 100 block of Gay Street. But there isn’t a shoe store.

shoes 1

Shoes 4

Saying the home store has been great, they acknowledge people want a bigger selection and it felt right to transition the downtown location to something new. They’ve also added shoes to Bliss, but there isn’t really enough room to display and store them properly there, so they decided a focus on footwear made sense. Noting that they love the landlord and the space at 29, they never considered letting it go, only re-purposing it.

While it will mean the couple will have to travel to additional markets each year to select styles, they are excited about the new possibilities. The shoe store will feature only women’s shoes, but they plan to offer a range of price points. From there they intend to let the market dictate which kinds of shoes and which price points are given more space in the store.

Shoes 2

Shoes 3

They’ll also include wallets, purses and  a few other items, but the focus will be on footwear. They will offer boots and booties, dress shoes and casual styles and you might expect what Lisa looks for in a shoe: stylish comfort. Brands you might recognize include Bed Stü, Freebird by Steve Madden, Jack Rogers, Miz Mooz, Rocket Dog and Dolce Vita.

Plans call for closing the current store around August 1 with an interim of about two to four weeks before reopening as Tori Mason Shoes. (The name, a suggestion from friend Ben Barton, contains references to the names of each of their children, daughter Victoria and their son, whose middle name is Mason, a family name.) In the meantime, you’ll find some mark-downs and good deals in Bliss Home as they begin the transition.

Lisa Sorenson and Scott Schimmel, Bliss, Bliss Home and Tori Mason, Knoxville, July 2016

Lisa Sorenson and Scott Schimmel, Bliss, Bliss Home and Tori Mason, Knoxville, July 2016

The couple told me as we concluded the interview that they see a thread that connects furniture and shoes, as well as other products they offer. They are drawn to the story, the style and the fashion of it all. A few minutes with the two of them makes clear that the passion is still alive and that they will continue to innovate and make downtown Knoxville a better place to live. So, catch some sales at Bliss Home while you can and watch for the opening of Tori Mason shoes in the next few weeks. Like their Facebook page to follow updates as the opening approaches.

Comments

  1. Jeannette says:

    Please carry narrow widths.

  2. Flossie says:

    So happy for Scott and Lisa! They will do this shoe store well just like they have done Bliss and Bliss Home. Clicking my heels!

  3. John Craig says:

    I have no doubt that Lisa and Scott will make this a success like all their other ventures. Proud to call them friends.

  4. Fly London shoes, please!!!!

  5. I looked all over town for a modular sofa that fit my condo before checking in Bliss Home. They had what I was looking for, and right in my “backyard”. Are they going to reopen the home store somewhere else in Knoxville?

    PS – Nouveau Classics on the 100 block is another top-notch furniture store downtown.

  6. Makes sense to me! There are hundreds if not thousands of professionals that work downtown!

  7. Add men’s please!!

  8. So excited about this store – just a bit worried Imelda-syndrome!

  9. Another women’s apparel store! I get that it’s slightly different than the rest, but I just wonder when a business catering to the clothing needs of men will appear downtown (the piddling selections at Mast and Urban Outfitters notwithstanding).

  10. Way to go Scott & Lisa…not just successful entrepreneurs but 2 of the nicest folk one could meet.

  11. John Atkins says:

    Congrats to our neighbors and Knoxville’s urban pioneers!!!

    John Atkins

  12. Jaclyn Levy says:

    What a PERFECT plan. They’re going to kill it! Can’t wait to see the new shoe store.

  13. Super excited about this addition. Scott and Lisa’s contributions to retail…and to downtown…are significant. Look forward to seeing the growth of their newest adventure. Who doesn’t love shoes?! In addition to the furniture stores you mentioned, there’s also Adorn Decor in the Old City. Shawn Wise has created a beautiful store with a fabulous selection of furniture and home accessories.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      Good points, all, Robin, but especially your mention of Adorn in the old city. I’m amending the article to include it.

  14. Aaron Thompson says:

    Congrats y’all! Always a big fan of your work. Please consider men’s styles down the road. I pretty much only buy clothes or shoes in major markets. I’d love to have a great selection of dress and boot styles.

    • Agreed. We need more men’s stores downtown

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      You are right, Aaron, we need a men’s clothing store downtown. I would love to be able to buy a simple button-up, long-sleeve shirt downtown. Mast has a certain style of men’s clothes and I’m glad, but it’s not my style. When I’ve brought this up in the past, most retailers say 1) Knoxville men don’t exactly flock to fashion and 2) Downtown’s population will have to be larger to support it. Still, you know someone will give it a go sooner or later.

      • I think an H&m would fit nicely. Maybe on gay street where that hole between Chivo’s and the rest of the buildings.

        • I agree! Urban H&M’s do so well. Think of the one on King in Charleston. That, or we need to bring back the old department store model complete with every level of men’s clothing — something for everyone and everything. I think there’s a renewed market for that. They were really centers of the community in the past and now that downtowns are starting to thrive again, I think a large, pleasant store with a cafe inside would do so well.

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