Business Bits

There is so much happening in the business world downtown, I could probably just report on that every day, but of course while that might thrill some of my readers, it would definitely bore others, so I try to mix it up. I’ve been trying to find a slot to slip in information about businesses on Jackson Avenue, because so much is happening there. I will get to that over the next few days, but today I have to give some additional info about the progress on other fronts downtown.

Just Ripe, Knoxville, May 2011

The biggest and best news is that Just Ripe opened their doors last Friday. They are phasing in the products as they are able, but basics like Cruze Farms milk, eggs, pasta, cheese, dried beans and coffee beans as well as a small bit of produce are now available, with more being added every day. The emphasis is on local or regional foods and organic or close to that when it is available. Kristen, Charlotte and the rest of the staff are very knowledgeable about the food they sell and will patiently answer all of your questions. I had plenty.

Charlotte explains the inventory, Just Ripe, Knoxville, May 2011

The prices more resemble Fresh Market or Earth Fare than Kroger, but the quality and methods of production are quite different. They offer food that is probably the best a city dweller can do without driving out of town to the farm to get locally and ethically produced foods. It isn’t a grocery store in the sense we’ve come to think of a grocery store as a place where you buy food, drugs (legal ones), toilet paper, detergent, cleaners and so on. It is a small food market with a dedication to local and regional products and it is probably the single development downtown in the year and a half I’ve lived here that I’m most excited about. Go see them. Learn more about the food you eat. Support this great business. You’ll be glad you did.

Other small bits I’ve picked up: Bike racks will be installed soon on the sidewalk in front of the Daylight Building (no more parking on the sidewalk for certain people I’m not naming :-)). There are also new signs in front of Rala and Coffee and Chocolate announcing that parking is limited to fifteen minutes, which is great news to go along with the newly widened sidewalk for those of us who enjoy the outdoor tables there.

Also, the city has announced it will begin single-stream recycling (you don’t have to sort) and the service will include downtown. The program launches in October, but it is unclear whether it will begin downtown at that time or sometime thereafter. Unlike residents elsewhere in the city limits, downtown residents do not have to sign-up for the service. Pickup points have been announced as follows:

  • Locust Street Garage (across from the YMCA parking)
  • Market Square Garage (west alley)
  • State Street Garage (new location behind Regal and Nama)
  • 200 block of Gay Street (existing space on right-of-way)
  • Wall Avenue (where existing Lerner Loft carts sit)
  • Willow Avenue (public parking area near the Old City)
  • State Street Parking Lot (site of the current City of Knoxville recycling convenience drop center)
  • Central Street near the Dog Park

Finally, I’ll leave you with this: Do you recognize this building?

J.C. Penny’s Building 400 Block of Gay Street

It hasn’t been visible for several years because it was covered by an increasingly tattered massive tarp with the words “New. Urban. Living.” It is owned by developer Buzz Goss, the same person who has planned “Marble Alley,” a bold 91 million dollar project. Does this mean the building will now get some attention? Is the tattered tarp simply being replaced by a new cover? The location is great, the building looks rough. Here’s hoping for development. Next we’ll look at all the activity over on Jackson Avenue.