1. Reruns; 521 Union Ave
I've known about Reruns, the high end consignment store downtown, for quite a few years. I remember venturing into the store while it was still in its Market Square location and being in awe of the things they had. Although at that point I was much more into Hollister than haute couture, I knew a good thing when I saw it. I only now discovered their updated location on Union Avenue and I couldn't be happier. Reruns has hangers full of J. Crew, Banana Republic, Talbots, and even some designer pieces. Instead of paying retail price for these beautiful pieces, though, the consignment prices are great. All the clothing is in great condition and extremely well curated and organized to boot. While I love to scour a thrift store for insane deals every now and then, the people at Reruns really know how to take the pain out of bargain shopping.
Last week was actually the first time I had ever wandered into Union Avenue Books, but boy, am I glad that I did. The smell of books makes me giddy and finding the exact volume that I've been searching for- especially if its a special edition that I need to round out a collection- makes my heart race. Not only did this well stocked, local store have almost every iteration of Penguin classics that I've started collections of, but they have an interesting variety of modern books and gifts as well. I spotted a journal with Pantone swatches on it that I'm seriously hoping to get my hands on soon. Just one look at their website or store front will have you rethinking the convenience of online book vendors and hankering to experience the tactile rush that is happening upon a great new book.
I've been following the progress of Nothing Too Fancy since one of my favorite local designers, Justin Helton of Status Serigraph, mentioned the store on Facebook. I was hooked the instant I clicked his link. Although I've been following their updates on their own Facebook profile for quite some time, I just recently got a chance to make it to their store. They've only been open since last September, but folks, let me tell you, they are doing things right. They seem to have picked up on the essence of everything that is cool about Knoxville and ran with it. While many of the apparel and gift stores in the downtown area are geared towards women, this is the number one store that I'd take any of the men in my life for shopping. My dad would literally giggle at all the beer glasses and Patrick, who was with me that day, was in awe at the awesome selection of tee shirts. Personally, I can't wait to deck my walls out with the artwork they have available and find some new, handmade jewelry to boot. If you can only make it to one store on this list, go here.
Ahhhh...a happy sigh is pretty much the essence of the Bliss stores' philosophy. Although I've only got the apparel and gift store pictured here, there are two Bliss Home locations in Knoxville which are definitely worth checking out as well. I continuously rely on bliss for awesome, locally and regionally made jewelry as well as designs from independent companies. That's not to say there aren't racks of more well known brands as well, such as Tulle and Free People. As if their perfectly curated racks of apparel weren't enough, Bliss always seems to be having a sale. I find this to be one of the best perks of the more typical big box retail stores, but I never have to worry about spending too much here. Their books, gifts, and even baby items are right on par too, meaning that there is something there for every demographic. Their goal is for the customer to shop in bliss; and every time I walk in the doors that's exactly what I feel.
Knoxville is on an upswing and I hope you can see why. There are some seriously talented and wonderful people in the area, but if I haven't convinced you to take the time for a visit, maybe this aerial view of Neyland Stadium will. I know that the chances I will live here the rest of my life are very slim, but I'll still always bleed orange and beam with pride over where I'm from.