This is not going to be an exhaustive give guide like you might find in Metropulse. I do think it is worth mentioning, however, that great shopping is waiting for you downtown – either for you gifts prior to Christmas or as a place to spend that gift money that you are hoping will be stashed in an envelope under your tree. I’ve tried to support downtown stores this season and I’ve found that to be quite an easy proposition. The variety of merchandise available downtown has blossomed this past year into quite an extensive list.
Shirts for the Lumberjack in the family: Mast General, Half Price
In the Old City a favorite store is The Unarmed Merchant featuring artist quality work at very reasonable prices. Another intriguing spot in the Old City is the Fortunate Traveler which features items from around the world some of which are similar to the much-missed 10,000 villages. New businesses such as Swagger (vintage athletic shoes), Rala (work by mostly local artists), Black Market (urban clothing), Fizz (jewelry and a little of everything) and Morelock Music (musical instruments and so much more). Of course there are the stalwarts of downtown which continue to be great for your gift-finding adventures: The Art Market, Bliss, Bliss Home, Earth to Old City and Mast General Store.
Oil Lamp: Knoxville Welcome Center
There are many other places to shop and buy gift certificates. One small place you might not consider is the Knoxville Visitor’s Center at the corner of Gay and Summit Hill (sharing space with WDVX). They have Knoxville related items as does the gift shop inside the East Tennessee History Center.
Cups with Hand Warmer Handles: Mast General Store
As you can see from the photographs, the mission of finding gifts downtown has been successful. We’ve also bought gift cards and scarves. Still, we have room for improvement. We’ve traveled out of downtown to support other good businesses, but it would be nice if downtown had a book store (go to Carpe Librum), a CD store (go to Disc Exchange) and some place with a large selection of cheap wrapping paper (a drug store, maybe?).
Perhaps some of these short comings will be addressed by someone by next Christmas. For now, there is a large selection of perfect presents waiting for you to pick up from friendly merchants downtown. I’ll look for you when I’m out.