It’s the shops, but more accurately, it’s the people

Anne at Bliss Home, 29 Market Square, Knoxville

I recently wrote a post about Morelock Music and I talked about how comfortable it feels as a place to just hang out. It’s true, the shop is cool, and I do love music and musical instruments, but really, the places that I enjoy going most downtown are places, like Morelock’s, where I will see familiar and friendly faces. In that post I mentioned Just Ripe and Union Avenue Books as two other examples.

There’s another thought that occurred to me recently: I realized some of the places I really enjoy wouldn’t necessarily be on my radar if Urban Woman didn’t want to frequent them, but I’ve become fond of them, as well. I had this thought when I needed to pick up a couple of glasses to go with a set we bought at Bliss Home. It’s a great store for home goods, but I’m not a big home goods kind of guy, necessarily.

Bliss Home, 29 Market Square, Knoxville

The store features some furnishings, some of which we love, but have so far been out of our budget. They also have photographs of Knoxville which I always enjoy looking at and we’ve bought a number of smaller items, such as glasses and bowls. The furnishings often have a modern twist, which isn’t usually our style, but then we see a number of items that can easily integrate into our style and augment it nicely.

So, if I’m not so big on home furnishing shopping trips, what gave me a spring in my step as I headed that way to buy my glasses? The same reason I ever have a spring in my step: people I enjoy. In this case, it is the store manager, Anne. Urban Woman and I got to know her early in our time as downtown residents and we each enjoy talking to her. Urban Toddler even seemed to be receptive and she’s a hard one to win over.

Inside Bliss Home, 29 Market Square, Knoxville

Urban Woman talked to Anne about our dog, Eudora, who needed a new home and Anne tried to help us find some new owners. We talked to Anne about the store and she made suggestions. We talked about life on Market Square and the various stages it has been through. I turned to Anne when I needed a small gift to finish my Christmas purchases for Urban Woman last December and, without hesitation, she went directly to what I needed and it was perfect.

It was nearly two years before I put together that one of my other favorite people downtown, Matt at Downtown Wine, is her husband. By then I understood that it is the people inside the shops that make the shops worth going to. Knowing that you’ll have a warm, friendly welcome and a smile when you enter is far more important than the items for sale. The merchandise is just a bonus. Go to Bliss Home and meet Anne and you will completely understand what I’m talking about.

Anne at Bliss Home