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Family is all about safety

Tommy Aydellott, owner of Safety Smart, is making safety his business.

Aydellott and his family moved to Knoxville in 1997 as he pursued a career as a sales manager with Bush Brothers.

Last year, he decided to explore a different field at the request of his daughters, both college students concerned about safety on campus after dark.

“So, as a dad, I went on a hunt,” Aydellott said.

“I started doing a lot of research on our crime here in Knoxville, and I was just concerned that … sometimes there’s a false sense of security here.

“As I did research, I went around and started to interview the police department, the sheriff’s department, the fire department and I said … ‘I would like to open a safety store,’” he added.

The items and services Aydellot offers are based on the recommendations of these safety professionals: at the behest of a fire chief, Aydellott stocks a three-story escape ladder; he carries the same brand of flashlight search-and-rescue teams use.

“This is the result of time with my family to develop a store where, in particular, families and women can come without the intimidation of guns or things being shot in the room next door, and not being talked down to,” Aydellot said.

“So, I don’t pretend to be any more than I am: a dad and a husband who [opened the store] out of passion and desire

for a new challenge in our


“I didn’t see any store like this. We’re breaking new ice here; it’s a whole new concept,” he added.

“And so, after talking to my wife and my daughters and my son, we decided to move forward. We all work together here.”

Safety Smart carries items ranging from pepper spray to back-up power generators for personal electronic devices.

Aydellot family members allow customers to test the products that are “demonstratable.”

“I had a real issue buying these type products on-line because I didn’t know what I was getting … basically, the store is demonstration-based,” Aydellott said.

For example, customers can practice shooting pepper spray at “Manny” the mannequin to determine the feel and the range of the product.

“He gets sprayed often with an inert pepper spray, which is usually a water or an alcohol,” Aydellott said.

Large screen LCD televisions allow customers to see personal tasers and fire extinguishers being used.

Safety Smart also is modular-based. Safety products are separated into categories: fire, child, automobile, recreational, home and emergency safety, video security and personal defense.

Safety Smart also provides self-defense classes with instructors from The University of Tennessee Police Department.

“When people have been in the last few weeks, it’s nice to hear them say, ‘This is exactly what we’ve been waiting for,’” Aydellott said.

For more information,

contact Safety Smart at



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