Downtown Businesses: One Closes, One Ends Storefront Retail, One Buys Another, and One has a Grand Opening

Vid'l, 111 East Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, September 2022
Vid’l, 111 East Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, September 2022

It seems business changes come in waves and downtown is having a mini-tsunami recently. This latest little rush is interesting for the range of kinds of news as much as anything. It ranges from the truly unfortunate, to the celebratory. Here’s some of what is happening:

Vid’l Closes

I first wrote about Jenna Baker and her food just a bit over four years ago. She was running a small operation, Cook to Be Well, out of the Glowing Body Studio serving up good, clean, tasty food to go. In December, 2021, she announced plans to open Vid’l in the Old City on Jackson Avenue, and just last September she opened the spot as a restaurant serving her vegetable based fresh foods. It’s all so recent, that I was startled to see she had posted to Instagram that the store would be closing:

It’s been a good ride Knoxville. Vidl is closing permanently today. We are sad to share this announcement but most of all deeply grateful for the opportunity to have shared our vision with you. Thank you to so many for showing up in steady support of the business as patrons, friends, employees, fabricators, artists and mentors. Thank you for sharing your talents, skills, kindness, resources and for showing up to eat our food!

The statement was accompanied by a video of Jenna riding her bicycle out the door and down the sidewalk to the tune of “Closing Time.” No further explanation was offered, so I reached out to Jenna and she offered the following statement:

Sharing nourishing food with a community is something close to my heart, and I am so so proud that we managed to get Vidl off the ground and had the success we did. There was a huge amount of support from our customers, and from the community at large in the Knoxville area.
At the same time, even I would have to say that Vidl is a somewhat niche concept, and we were in a location that was larger than we needed for the kind of business that we are. It is an incredible storefront property in a prime location in the Old City, and while we were thrilled to be able to move into the space thanks to the generosity of the owner, it probably wasn’t ever going to be the best long-term commercial fit for us. I’ve got no regrets at trying, and it’s been a valuable experience all round.
It’s absolutely clear to me that there is a market for what Vidl is doing, and we have consistently seen that over the year we were open. But, it’s not a classic mainstream concept that would appeal to everyone, and needed time to grow. This was always going to be a challenge in that beautiful and very large space.
I’m beyond grateful for all the support we had at Vidl, and for the kind words that people have shared since we announced that we were closing. I will be working on plans for what comes next and how we build on what we learned with Vidl in order to serve the Knoxville community even more. There is one thing I know for sure, I have something to offer and I will find a way to share that with Knoxville.
In the end, she said, there just wasn’t enough support for a niche business to survive a location that large. She’s going to take a complete break for a bit to catch her breath and recover, but she promises to be back in some form or another.
Fizz, Christmas Lights and Windows, Knoxville, December 2022
Fizz Ends Storefront Retail

After about thirteen years operating at 27 Market Square, Fizz will convert its retail location into an appointment-only space and will focus on online retail. If the fact that Vid’l closing startled me because it was so recent, this one surprised me because they’d been there so long and seemed to do so well. Large cash infusions were received from my family bank account, for sure. So why close? Here is the statement taped to the door:

Dear Fizz Customers,

Thank you!!! Fizz Boutique is now closed for business., fizzmarketsquare on ebay and fizz on etsy are open for business.

I loved serving you with fun fashion and working with so many of you has been a privilege . . . but sadly, there is no way Fizz can exist as a brick and mortar boutique on Market Square going forward. The environment has changed a lot in these 13 years and so with the ebb we must go and find the flow! Please look out for our pop up events in this location in the future.

We are expanding our web presence to offer a more unique product selection and a  better representation of our made in U.S.A. Fizz jewelry line. Wholesale inquiry also welcome . . . Stay tuned in at

I spoke to Kathryn who said she has some “strong feelings,” she’d be willing to share in the future. She said she is working on Fizz wholesale, which is focused on made in the U.S.A. casted jewelry featuring “rare and vintage crystals.” She indicated plans for the space are still fluid, but that pop-ups may be possible during “busier times.”

Michele from the store reached out and expanded a bit, “One of the things that made Fizz so unique is that we make our own jewelry. We have Wholesale accounts now and would like to expand the wholesale jewelry business. We will continue with selling one of kind Oh My Gauze, acid dyed clothing, jewelry and other items on Ebay, Fizz.faire, Etsy

Ham’n Goodys, 505 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, September 2020
Ham’n Goodys (or more accurately their owners) buys Mahalo
The surprises keep coming. This is another one I would not have predicted. Ham’n Goodys opened a downtown shop in September 2020, while Mahalo opened its downtown location just five months later. It turns out, the owners of Ham’n Goodies, Dale and Liz Harold, are friends with Trevor and Ashton Baynes, owners of Mahalo.
I spoke with Mr. Harold (who, with his wife purchased Ham’n Goodys in 2016) about how the two businesses came together. He said he and Trevor have “developed a friendship over the last several years and have been trying to find a way to collaborate, but never pinpointed it.” The obvious choice: Placing Ham’n Goodys products in Mahalo didn’t really make sense because Trevor uses Flour Head Bakery items and is happy with that.
Mahalo Coffee, 513 Union Avenue, Knoxville, January 2021
This past year, Trevor, who loves coffee, but whose first love is NASCAR, got an opportunity to join Fox Sports providing content about the sport he loves. He felt he couldn’t do that and operate the coffee shops well, so he approached Dale about the possibility of buying the small chain. Dale agreed and, as of January 2, ownership switched.
Dale said he doesn’t intend to make big changes. “I love Mahalo, it’s people, and culture. I want to maintain their culture. We’re just big fans of theirs and of the specialty coffee scene. It’s not a ‘project,’ it is its own thing.”
Spice and Tea Exchange of Knoxville, 522 South Gay Street, Knoxville, November 2022
The Spice and Tea Exchange of Knoxville celebrates its Grand Opening
Friday will feature the official ribbon cutting. The theme of the day will be Around the World Samples, and the first fifty people to spend $40 get a branded bag. Saturday the theme will be Tastes of Tennessee Samples, and customers who buy four spice blends, flip tops, or grinders, get one free. Sunday’s theme is Sweet Sips and Treats, and the feature will be a raffle basket drawing.