You Might not "Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows "

. . . But you may need a scorecard to know which stores have opened in downtown Knoxville and which ones have closed. There have been many closings, openings, rumors and false starts and now comes another unfortunate surprise.

This year has seen the arrival of the Black Market, Fizz, Latitude 35, Swagger and Steamboat Sandwiches on Market Square and Rala just around the corner. John Black Studios are opening this week on Union, Morelock Music opened on Gay Street and this week sees the opening of Nouveau Classics on the 100 block of Gay Street and Carleo’s on Central in the Old City. Two additional businesses seem set to open in the Daylight Building and a book store/cheese shop is taking shape on Gay Street.

During the same period, we’ve also seen the exit of stalwarts such as Manhattan’s in the Old City, Havana Moon (which may be returning after construction) on the 100 block of Gay Street and Ten Thousand Villages, Vagabondia and World Grotto on Market Square.

We’ve seen a false start with Urban Outfitters in the Arnstein Building and now we hear rumors of two different cosmetology schools coming to the Arnstein Building and the Kress Building. The Kerns Building has been purchased, but it’s coming incarnation hasn’t been announced. The Century Building was sold – then it wasn’t. The owners of the Fidelity Building have made noises about doing something different on the bottom floor of their building where “General Store” is now located. And then there was the fantastic vision (hallucination?) of Marble Alley. I’ll keep hoping on that front.

Signs were painted and posted today announcing the departure of Abode

Now comes the latest news: Abode, which has been on the square for four years, is having a farewell sale. Allison Sprouse, who along with her husband Matt owns and operates Abode, says the decision was made with great difficulty. They each have other ventures and their family has grown since they opened the doors to Abode and the time finally came to move in a different direction.

She was very kind to talk openly about the decisions and the tears. She says they have loved their time downtown, their children have grown up here and they have enjoyed watching Market Square become the exciting place it is today. Unless an interested buyer steps forward to assume the business, it will close slowly over the next weeks or months. They would prefer to sell the business as opposed to closing it.

Angela Sprouse, Abode and The Modern Hostess, Knoxville

Allison wanted to be clear that the location has been wonderful and the business has been successful, but choices had to be made. Her new business is an event design company called The Modern Hostess and she already has some major events to her credit, including Bruce Pearl’s engagement party and wedding. She’s excited about the new venture even as she is sad at the end of the old one.

Still, she knows it is time to move on and I hope everyone will wish her the best. She promises a big party this Friday, so stop by and thank her for putting herself out there for the last four years and give her your best for her future.

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