Some of these may be obvious to those of you who are downtown often, but I bet one or two of them might surprise a lot of people who think they know downtown very well. We all know there isn’t a full-scale grocery store or computer store downtown. But what are a few of the little things that you can find if you know where to look? Here are some of my favorites, big and small.
Did you know that you can get quality framing downtown? I mean when you’ve found that great piece of art or a great print – or even a tapestry – and you’d like to have it beautifully framed. Get in your car and drive to west Knoxville, right? Not so fast, my friend. Paula West at Earth to Old City learned framing at her father’s knee and is now very adept at framing.
She really does beautiful work as you can see from the photographs. These are items we’ve had her frame and she’s never disappointed. The large tapestry was the first tapestry she ever framed and she nailed it. We don’t even tell her what we want, anymore, we just tell her to make it beautiful – and she does. The equipment isn’t in the store, so you can’t get something done instantly. She’ll email you options if you want to check out what she’s thinking before she does the frame.
So, add framing to what you can get done downtown. It’s one of those things you don’t need often – or at least we don’t – but when you need it, it’s nice to have someone you know and trust and can walk to. If you live out of downtown, I’d encourage you to use her, anyway. She does fine work and her prices are very, very good.
Most of you know that we have a cleaner downtown, right? Prestige Cleaners in the Phoenix Building at 418 S. Gay Street does a fine job of cleaning a coat (they’ve done mine many times or taking care of other laundry needs. But did you know they re-sole shoes? Now, I know some of you are thinking, “Who gets shoes re-soled?” Well, I do. I have two pairs of identical, black Boulet boots that I love.
I’ve had one pair re-soled three times and I’m embarrassed to say the first two times were not downtown – because I had no idea Prestige Cleaners could handle it for me. Now my newest pair is being re-soled for the first time. If you have good shoes you love and you walk around on concrete as much as I do, this is an excellent service to have downtown.
Here’s another: A couple of weeks ago I ran into a friend on Market Square who wasn’t feeling well. The good news is she told me what had possessed her to get out in nasty weather: chicken soup. Why was it good news? Because the following week I was feeling pretty poorly all week and I remembered that conversation. Soccer Taco was the answer and, thankfully, Urban Woman did the pick up so I didn’t have to leave the house.
Now, it’s not chicken noodle which is what Mama would have given me, but then, she would have opened a can, right? Not these guys. This chicken soup has huge pieces of white meat so big I cut them into pieces. The soup contains a good dose of vegetables, rice, tortilla strips and chunks of avocado. It’s hot and perfect on a cold or a sickly day. And the most amazing part? It costs less than $5! I’m telling you, it’s a good meal and where else are you going to find lunch – and memories of mom – for that kind of money?
I’ll end with one more. For me, this quest started after Boomsday probably in 2010 or so. The fireworks ended and I wanted a coke. I rarely drink them, but when I want one, there is nothing else in the universe that will do. Where to go late-night for a coke? Particularly after the restaurants close?
I found my answer at the Hilton. Back then they had a couple of machines, but that has been replaced by the cooler you see in the photograph. I can look as much like a guest as the next person – especially when my boots have recently been re-soled. Sometimes it’s just the little things.
You can probably think of other examples of goods or services available downtown if a person knows where to look. What are some of your favorites? What are we most missing? I’ll have more news about a couple of gaps I could name being closed very soon.