Buy Local, Shop Union (Avenue)

Coffee and Chocolate: The Granddaddy Union Avenue Business

It would have been a very different experience a couple of years ago. The Daylight Building was a construction zone. Reruns was on Market Square. Coffee and Chocolate was doing good business. Even a year ago it was struggling to find it’s groove. Rala had opened and the Daylight Building had John Black Photography and the Happy Envelope.

This is the first Christmas for Union Avenue Books and Just Ripe. Reruns is now in their new location. It’s actually possible to shop this delightful corridor and check off a  good bit of your Christmas list. Park in the Locust Street Garage and work your way toward Gay Street.

Union Avenue Books Display


Knoxville-centric Books just inside the entrance to Union Avenue Books

New Fiction and Non-Fiction, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville

Charlie takes time with Customers at Union Avenue Books

Union Avenue Books features both new and used books and has a strong local flavor with books by many area authors. A display beside the entrance contains the new Knox Heritage Cookbook for twenty dollars with the profits going to that excellent organization. Jack Neely’s books about Knoxville sit beside the cookbooks quietly suggesting that you get to know your city. New hardbacks are always on display at the front, 2012 calendars are already on sale and the children’s section in the back is excellent. Throw in personable and knowledgeable staff and you’ve got the perfect place to spend the morning while taking care of your shopping.

Just Ripe Grocery Store, Union Avenue, Knoxville


Gift Baskets from Just Ripe, Knoxville


Canvas Bag and Gift Card from Just Ripe

Just Ripe is a grocery store, yes, but also a good place to shop for gifts with a local flair. Canvas Just Ripe bags and gift cards to the grocery store make a great gift for downtown friends. The gift baskets which range from around thirty dollars to sixty dollars make great gifts. They also sell downtown gift cards which I’ve bought for friends. Then there are organic cook books and even Three Bears Coffee which I’ve bought for another friend. While there on your shopping excursion you can enjoy lunch. I suggest strongly that you try a sweet potato burrito.
After lunch, stop in at Coffee and Chocolate for a warm beverage and a little something sweet. I’ve already received a box of chocolates from there as a gift. They also have insulated travel cups to carry your coffee with you as you leave. They also make nice gifts. Carry your coffee next door to Rala.

Rala: Gifts for all budgets, Union Avenue, Knoxville


Rala, Union Avenue, Knoxville


Brian Pittman Prints and Originals at Rala, Knoxville


Cynthia Markert art at Rala: $750

 Rala has been open about a year-and-a-half. Owned by Nanci Solomon, who also owns Re-runs, the shop features art from our area and beyond. Currently featured artists include Brian Pittman whose cathedral drawings are helping fund the renovation of the Mary Boyce Temple home a few blocks to the south. Also featured are beautiful new creations from Cynthia Markert whose art has become synonymous with the city. I’ve got my eye on one of these, myself.

Window displays, Union Avenue, Knoxville

Window Displays at night, Arnstein Building, Union Avenue

So, evening is approaching and you haven’t made it to Mast General Store or other shops on Gay Street and Market Square. Sorry, you aren’t finished. Walk back toward your car and enjoy the beautiful window displays in the Arnstein Building. The Reruns display was put together by Paris with help from Brianna. Tell them how beautiful they are when you stop in at Reruns where you can end your day by purchasing one of their gorgeous ensembles.

Ensemble outside Reruns, Union Avenue, Knoxville


Reruns, Daylight Building, Union Avenue, Knoxville

Ensemble outside Reruns, Union Avenue, Knoxville

It’s a pretty full day and it’s a day you could not have had just a few months ago. We’re so fortunate to have these good people making life in the city so much better for so many of us. Support them if you want to keep them.