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Shopping in ‘The District’


Recently, Bearden streetlights from Western Plaza to Northshore Drive have been sporting banners that proclaim “The District in Bearden.”

The District is a not-for-profit ad co-op of 15 businesses along Kingston Pike.

Members are made up of locally owned boutiques, galleries and restaurants, which includes the Lyon’s View, Bennett and Hanson galleries, Bella Sera Fine Linens, E Group, Spex, Gifts and Gourmet, Obligato, Kristi, M.S. McClellan’s, Southern Market, Talloni Shoes, Taylor and Huie, Nouveau Classics and Westwood Antiques and Design Market.

“In the fall of 2006, I approached the participating businesses to join together and form an ad co-op. After working together on a holiday open house in November of 2006, this same group decided to continue to work together and make our ad co-op a formal group,” said Paula Clancy, president of the group and owner of Nouveau Classics.

“The District’s focus is to highlight and promote local and independent merchants within Bearden,” Clancy added. The boutiques and galleries of the District put special emphasis on art, fashion and design from local and independent artists and designers.

“We are pooling our finances for an effective advertising campaign to maintain and increase our customer base,” which consists of “upscale clientele,” Clancy said, adding that she hoped to increase that base through the co-op.

“We get our name out there much more as a group advertising than I would be able to afford by myself,” said Steve Clancy, Paula Clancy’s husband and owner of Spex.

“The small businesses definitely need to band together to compete against the big box retail companies and corporate America,” Susan Worthington, co-owner of Southern Market, said.

Paula Clancy said that she wants to portray the District “as the most unique shopping destination in Knoxville.”

“We believe in the Bearden District here in its uniqueness and benefits to the community and small businesses,” Worthington said.

“I think we’re all compatible businesses and not necessarily competitive; I think it’s a pleasant experience for the customer to come here to the District and find unique things they can’t get anywhere else,” she added.

The ad co-op also has increased business for members of The District. “I feel like we are bringing in some new clientele; we’re seeing new people, which was definitely one of our goals,” Paula Clancy said.

“I think overall, The District has seen an increase in traffic,” Worthington said.

Steve Clancy agrees: “I think it has helped, having special events that bring people out that wouldn’t normally come into our place. We’ve gotten them through the door with special events.”

In addition to collective events, the independent merchants, especially the art galleries, have specials “at least every month and sometimes every week,” Paula Clancy said.

According to Paula Clancy, The District hopes to launch their web site, www.thedistrictinbearden.com, in the next few weeks. The web site will feature a calendar showing collective and individual special events.

They also are in the planning stages for special events throughout the year. There will be a holiday open house event at the end of the year following the success of previous holiday specials.

For more information, visit www.thedistrictinbearden.com or call the respective individual merchants.

 

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