With everything that’s been going on in the city I’ve fallen quite behind on my business news. I’ll try to sprinkle more of that across the next couple of weeks, though the pace of what’s happening in the city certainly doesn’t seem to be slowing. For today, let’s look at some of what’s happening on Union Avenue.
One of the puzzling pieces of Union Avenue for many casual observers has been the lengthy vacancy at 2 Market Square since the departure last year of Reruns to an address farther west at 521 Union Avenue in the Daylight Building. Rumors swirled of a mattress store which got a strong “unlike” from the Facebook Crowd. More months passed with no news and within the last couple of weeks a “Rococo” sign was posted in that window and this week they released a press release indicating the business is owned by Courtney Coffee and that the store will include “whimsical invitations, rare jewelry, hand painted picture frames, screen-printed ties, furniture and more! Knoxvillians can expect a personalized shopping experience in a store where art meets design.” You can read more about it on Josh Flory’s Property Scope Blog. The opening will be June 1, with grand opening celebrations planned for the following day. I hope to have more about the shop later this month.
The New Union Shops have recently hung several small posters along the store fronts noting the businesses soon to call those addresses their home. The Tree and the Vine was the first business to sign a lease in the new construction and at least initially projected an opening date of June 2012. I wrote more comprehensively about them here and here. Another recent sign indicates the advent of “Nothing Too Fancy.” Their Facebook page promises, “screen printed items, re-purposed furniture, jewelry and so much more.” I hope to have more about them soon, as well.
The other business slated for the New Union Shops, just across the alley from the Hotel Oliver and occupying the largest space in that building, will be The Casual Pint. This is actually a business with a store in west Knoxville, so there being a ready source of information, I sacrificed for you, my readers, and got in a car to drive there and investigate. I’d gotten the impression it perhaps had a grocery component. That turned out to not be the case. The store sells beer and, well, more beer.
While the west store sells t-shirts, glasses and other accessories, the downtown store, which will be a bit smaller will focus only on the beer. It will function as a retail space for carry-out as well as having extensive seating for enjoying a brew from the extensive tap. While there will not be food served, free pretzels will be available and customers are welcome to bring food from other establishments and enjoy the onsite libations while eating what they bring.
Cara, who tells me she’ll likely be working the downtown store, was very friendly and helpful in giving me the information she knew about the store. She indicated that the emphasis is on the “casual” and that the store out west enjoys patron’s bring birthday cakes and enjoying other celebrations with their libations. She also said the new store will have a store front that can be opened up to the street making every seat in the house feel like a sidewalk seat. They hope to be open by July 4, so we should soon see a raft of openings.
Finally, on a different topic, thank you to everyone who voted for me in the Metropulse Reader’s Poll. Stuck Inside of Knoxville once again won honorable mention for “best blog.” Congratulations to winner Frank Murphy.