After months of anticipation, the wait is finally over for the third new storefront in the New Union Shops downtown. Nothing Too Fancy is different from anything that’s opened so far in the city and they are aiming for an audience that has been largely overlooked in the various gift shops and stores: men.
A large portion of the inventory will focus on men’s apparel, particularly screen printed t-shirts designed and printed locally. Most will be for men, but there will be shirts for women, as well. Bands or groups of any sort may also place orders for custom t-shirts. T-shirts for bands is a niche in which owners John and Dustin Burnett have a large amount of experience through their other ongoing downtown business endeavor, Nouveau Graphics. The designs included in the store will focus on music, art, Knoxville history and a good measure of tongue-in-cheek craziness. The shirts will rotate regularly with local and regional designers doing the work.
John told me about one very interesting set of projects related to the shirts. A three-part display case near the front door will change each month. One slot will be for a shirt from which a portion of the proceeds will go to a selected charity. Another shirt will feature a local band and their CDs will be on sale for the month and hopes are for the bands to make an in-store appearance during the month they are featured. Finally, the third slot will feature the shirt-of-the-month. Patrons may pay a subscription price upfront, and then for one year they will receive this shirt. Other customers may purchase the shirts any given month, but at a higher price than the subscription price.
Beyond the apparel, other available items will include watches, locally crafted jewelry (for women), mugs and glasses, and a large supply of local art. The antiques present in the store give it a charming throw-back feel and should spark interest among a wide audience. A 1950s phone booth, a 1940s coke machine and a scale which accurately weighs up to 1000 pounds are just a few examples. The coke machine will be next to an antique Jack Daniels photo booth which should be operational in the near future. A bicycle-built-for-two hangs in the window and while many will enjoy simply seeing these objects, most are available for sale.
Joining John and his son Dustin will be Lisa Cyr with whom I’ve been corresponding. Lisa has experience downtown as teh manager of the Square Room (and one of the backers of Scruffy City Roots) and she brings that experience to bear in this new venture. If you have questions about the business, you might e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join them Saturday at 11:00 for their soft opening or drop by during the week to get to know them and this unique store. I think you’ll find each of them easy-going, interesting and excited about what they are doing. A big blow-out is planned for next week’s First Friday with a Grand Opening, live music and much more.