When Coldstream Marketopened in September of 2013 at 34 Market Square, it stirred quite a bit of conversation around town. Could a second floor store survive in downtown Knoxville? Would people overlook it? Early comments about the store were positive, but long-time reader and commenter, Greg, wins the pool for best prediction. In a comment on that original article, he said, “Second story retail is rare even in New York. But like you we wandered up there on Saturday and bought something. I won’t be surprised if she thrives and eventually expands into a first floor space.” That is precisely what has happened: the store is expanding to a second location in the Daylight Building on Union Avenue.
I asked owner Sandy Havener about the second floor issue. She told me, “People come up the stairs readily. It’s not been a negative. We make sure customers can have their items carried out and delivered to their homes as necessary.” One interesting observation she made is that tourists seem to find it more quickly than local visitors to downtown. She noted that they don’t have any pre-conceived notions about what they might find in the city, so they notice more. A significant portion of her business has been from tourists. She also credits the display in front of her door as helping the cause.
The fall and, particularly, Christmas season have been very good to the business. Sandy credits some of this to the city’s window-display contest. She points out that downtown needs more retail as people often ask her to tell them other places nearby they might shop. She also still gets people wandering in after two years and expressing amazement that she is there. Still, she says she is very glad she moved the business here from Clinton.
The stairs have been an issue, however, for getting heavy furniture in and out of the location. One of the biggest sellers has been the heavy, industrial-style tables built by Sandy’s husband, Charlie. They aren’t bought so much by tourists, of course, but are very popular in homes and offices downtown because they fit with the exposed beams and brick of many of the renovated offices, lofts, apartments and condos found in the center city. The demand has been so great that Charlie has done custom jobs as often as not and his latest table didn’t make it into the store before it was purchased for an office space on the 700 block of Gay Street.
Since that has been such a big part of the business and since it would be much easier to handle those at street-level, Sandy had been keeping her eye out for a space that would allow delivery and pick-up at the door. The space she found was next to one she had fallen in love with two years ago, but narrowly missed getting when Happy Envelope moved to Jackson Avenue and Knoxville Magazine moved in. She’s always loved the Daylight Building and Union Avenue, saying that she likes that, “there are no chain stores, all small business owners and it’s such a beautiful building.
She’s very excited about moving into the building because she thinks it offers a quaint shopping experience, which is more intimate and charming that most places. She cites the tree-lined streets and talks about how much she enjoyed the windows at her new address when Reruns had the space and she looks forward to making them beautiful once more.
As you might expect from the above comments, most of the heavy furniture will be located at the new address, which offers about 800 square feet. Also included will be more of what Coldstream Market has become known for: An eclectic mix of old, new and re-purposed goods. It’s not a traditional antique store, though it has some of that element. She points out that while re-purposed goods are a trend, she and her husband have been doing that for years.
She also has a new feature that is something of a surprise. She is a gardener and she plans to expand her collection of terrariums, which she’s carried for some time. She will be including fresh-cut flowers whenever they are available. She will grow some of the flowers herself and has at least two vendors lined up who grow and harvest flowers locally. She says flowers should be available through the winter.
Her expansion plans call for hiring more employees. She’s already added two additional part-time people to the staff, bringing it to three. She says she’ll probably hire three more. Her time will be split between the two locations. While she’d hoped to open the second location this week, an issue with the floor caused a delay, so next week is the new target.
So, this gives each of you multiple reasons to be stopping by the Daylight Building. With Union Avenue Books anchoring the established retail and Wild Lavender Spa opening next week along with the second location of Coldstream Market, a good retail nucleus has been formed. The advent of chef Joseph Lenn’s restaurant this winter will only make the block more lively. Stop in and say, “hello,” to Sandy and welcome her to the new neighborhood. Also, stop by the Coldstream Market Facebook page and give her a “like.”
Incidentally, there is an available space just across the street on the ground floor of the Pembroke which has house offices. I would love for one of you to snag that place for your retail business. It would really make the block pop. Spread the word and support these great new businesses.