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While the article is funny and points out the uniqueness that is J's, I feel that what Knoxville really needs downtown is a grocery store. Not a quickie mart (we have one already), but a real grocery store that sells real groceries.
And I don't mean one of those high end organic stores like Whole Foods or Earth Fare, I mean something that everyone can afford and would actually use on a regular basis.
After we moved from Boston, my wife and I used to live in the 411 Building. Used to city living, we were delighted to find that Knoxville had most everything we needed within reach: restaurants, movie theater, park, outdoor entertainment, etc...except we always had to get in our car and drive across town to Walmart or Food City or wherever to get groceries. We both work right downtown so it seemed pretty silly that the majority of the time we got in the car was to make a run to Food City or Walmart for groceries.
Sure, you could get milk and eggs at J's, but what about canned goods, produce, frozen meals, meats, etc? As KnoxvilleUrbanGuy said, the market for downtown wigs is likely not that high relative to the market for frozen pizzas, soda, and potato chips.
Living downtown is great, but given the space and existing layout of J's, a real grocery store seems a no-brainer. If the Central Business Improvement District seriously wants people to move downtown, this would be the final piece of the puzzle.
Also, for those green-minded folk, using a small handcart to grab your groceries and walking them back to your apartment / condo is a lot better than driving your car back and forth to the grocery store. The closet is the Food City on Western and that's a few miles away.
Just think about all the people in the Sterchi building, the folks over in the Phoenix, etc, hopping in their car every week or two for no other reason than to pick up food. Not to mention the increase in traffic in what is fast becoming a pretty thick area already.
So, if the sale isn't final, my vote would be to get a grocery store in there instead of a cosmetology school.
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