Best of Knoxville 2014: GOODS AND SERVICES

Felix and Oscar at Nostalgia

Photo by David Luttrell

Felix and Oscar at Nostalgia

Best New Business

Stock & Barrel
See Also: Best New Restaurant, Best Burger, Best Fries in Food
Runners Up: Buttermilk Sky Pie, Holly’s Corner, Scruffy City Hall

Bliss

Photo by David Luttrell

Bliss

Best Gift Shop

Best Clothing Boutique

Best Furniture

Bliss & Bliss Home
When Lisa Sorensen and Scott Schimmel opened Bliss on Market Square in 2003, who knew that it would someday become a retailing Juggernaut of Knox coolness? With the couple’s impeccable taste for stylish apparel and nifty gifts, the original Bliss soon became a go-to shop for finding “just the right thing” for loved ones. Then, their affordable-yet-chic furniture offshoot, Bliss Home, took off—not only invading West Knoxville with a second location, but also daring to enter the Nashville market last April. Yes, that’s right: a Knoxville store cool enough for the current epicenter of Southern cool, Nashville. (C.T.)
Best Gift Shop Runners Up: Earth to Old City, Nothing Too Fancy, Southern Market
Best Clothing Boutique Runners Up: Altar’d State, Crush, Fizz
Best Furniture Runners Up: Brown Squirrel, O.P. Jenkins, Knoxville Wholesale Furniture

Felix and Oscar at Nostalgia

Photo by David Luttrell

Felix and Oscar at Nostalgia

Best Antiques Store

Best In-Store Pet

Nostalgia
Oscar & Felix at Nostalgia
Everybody loves these cats, and they love everybody back. That’s according to Nostalgia sales staffer Norma Bolding, who starts by saying that the littermate brothers, a year and a half old, are the “bosses of the store. If they’re not finished with a customer, they’ll come up to get petted.” They offer services, too: “They give kisses,” she says, “And the customers love them. Some customers who are allergic and can’t keep cats at home come down and see them for an hour each week. I’ve never seen cats like ‘em. They have the same temperament.” They look alike, too: both are white and “not orange, not beige—maybe burnt umber.” The way to differentiate between the two: “Oscar can be a bit heavier, and Felix has two round marks on the nape of his neck.” They started coming into the Homberg store with owner (of cats and store) Amie Swanson at about six weeks, and at first went back and forth with her. But don’t look for them at the Best of Knoxville party; the brothers now stay at the store 24-7. (R.K.)
Best Antiques Store Runners Up: Fountain City Antiques Market, Four Seasons Vintage, Hot Horse
Best In-Store Pet Runners Up: Asher at Rick Terry Jewelry Designs, Henry at Lost & Found Records, Napoleon at Nostalgia

Rick Terry Jewelry Design

Photo by David Luttrell

Rick Terry Jewelry Design

Best Jewelry Store

Rick Terry Jewelry Designs
One of the ironies of downtown’s much-heralded revival is that when downtown was “dead,” there were probably still half a dozen jewelers of various sorts. Then there were none. Now there’s one: Rick Terry Jewelry Designs. A legacy like that can be daunting to a jeweler who’s relatively new to downtown—Terry lives in Loudon County and has a well-known jewelry store in Farragut. But Terry and his sons Blake and Matt are true believers and take their heritage very seriously, utilizing both old and new techniques. Some of their work is so tiny they have to use microscopes to get a good look at it—or they may work on the design for some heirloom jewelry with the help of a laptop. “We’re craftsmen,” Rick Terry says. “We do things most jewelry stores have abandoned over the years.” (J.N.)
Runners Up: Kimball’s Jewelers, Lamon Jewelers, Markmans Diamonds and Fine Jewelry

Best Bookstore

McKay’s
See Also: Best Store in Best of the Best
Runners Up: Cedar Springs Christian Store, John Coleman at Fountain City Antiques Market, Union Ave Books

Best CD/Vinyl Record Store

Disc Exchange
Runners Up: Lost & Found Records, McKay Used Books, CDs and More, Raven Records & Rarities

Best Hair Salon

Salon Visage
Knoxville is full of excellent hair salons, but Best of Knoxville Voters continue to believe that Salon Visage is the best. Part of what keeps the salon at the top of the vote getters is its insistence on specialization. Like great chefs and artists of the East, their colorists and stylists concentrate on one area of expertise and aim to achieve perfection. When you consider how many times people see your hair, it’s nice to know that Salon Visage concentrates on precisely what makes you and your locks look fabulous. (D.P.)
Runners Up: Aveda Natural Alternatives Salon and Spa, Chop Shop, Lox Salon

Frank's Barber Shop

Photo by David Luttrell

Frank's Barber Shop

Best Traditional Barber Shop

Frank’s Barbershop
Frank’s offers impeccable grooming, and the incomparably smooth feel of a hot towel shave; but one of the finest attractions about this old fashioned barbershop is that it just feels masculine. You can show up early, relax in the men’s lounge, shoot a game of pool and talk about guy stuff. (D.P.)
Runners Up: Mr. George’s, Sport Clips, Union Avenue Barber Shop

Best Nail Salon

Spa Visage
Runners Up: Belleza, California Nails, Laura’s Nails

Best Foreign Foods Grocery

Holy Land Market & Deli
See also: Best Middle-Eastern in Food
Runners Up: El Girasol, Oriental Supermarket, Sunrise Supermarket

Best Health Food Shop/Grocery

Best Green Business

Three Rivers Market
Once located in a creaky little house on Broadway, the venerable old food co-op, which really is owned by its customers, went all Supermarket on us about three years ago. If you build a big modern store with multiple checkout lanes and a big parking lot, but build it in Happy Holler, you’ll lose none of your street cred. Three Rivers has become arguably Knoxville’s biggest and best one-stop source of a variety of local and organic produce, meats, and dairy products, as well as several aisles of special-diet products from around the world. Do you still get your breakfast cereal, popcorn, or rice in a box? Why, when it’s so much more fun to open a hopper and let it cascade right into your bag! They also prepare an eccentric array of interesting ready-to-eat dishes, from sushi to Indian specialties to PB&J, that you can enjoy there or take home and awe your friends and family by pretending you fixed it yourself. (J.N.)
Best Health Food Shop/Grocery Runners Up: Benefit Your Life, Eddie’s Health Shoppe, Just Ripe
Best Green Business Runners Up: Just Ripe, Knox Urban Homesteads, Stanley’s Greenhouse

Best Caterer

Holly’s Eventful Dining
Catering is really a risky business of performance art. Menus and samples might delight, but really, it’s execution that wins the day. It’s no wonder, then, that Holly Hambright’s catering acumen is constantly in demand—her food is beautiful, inventive and delicious in both theory and practice. Whether it’s old-school fare like perfectly cooked lamb chops or house-cured gravlax, or a high-wire act from modern cooking like balsamic “caviar,” Holly artfully manages to deliver in style and on time for intimate events as well as mega parties of 500 or more. (D.P.)
Runners Up: Brown Bag Catering, Dead End BBQ, Sweet P’s BBQ and Soul House

Best Outdoor Sports Store

River Sports Outfitters
Runners Up: Pluto Sports, Three Rivers Angler, Uncle Lem’s Mountain Outfitters

Best Skate/Snowboard Shop

Pluto Sports
Runners Up: Alpine Ski Center, The Board Room, HeadQuarters

Best Adult Store

Adult Video Super Store
A single visit to this huge store will tell you why it’s a regular winner of this category. The selection is as big as it comes and includes everything you’d imagine from toys, DVDs, print material, as well as lingerie and e-cigarettes. In fact, the shop isn’t anything like the bookstores of old—the merchandise is sexy not lurid. The customer service is friendly and matter-of-fact, which is a big plus if you’re a little shy about buying your first, um, toy. The shop was also a runner up in the Best Local Facebook Page category, partially because of that matter-of-fact approach—the page advertises the store’s wares in all its First Amendment glory sometimes with a little tongue in cheek but never a blush. (D.P.)
Runners Up: Cupid’s Outlet, Intimate Treasures, Romantic Escapades

Best Thrift/Consignment Store

KARM
Goodwill and Salvation Army might the famous names as far as charity thrift stores go, but locals know the Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries stores—all 15 of them—usually have the best finds. From couches for your dorm room to authentic 1990s grunge outfits at a fraction of the cost of Urban Outfitters to valuable antique glassware, you never know just what you’ll find at KARM. Best of all, whatever you spend is going to help feed and house Knoxville’s homeless men and women. So go ahead, buy that ugly Christmas sweater—it’s for a good cause. (C.W.G.)
Runners Up: GoodWill Industries-Knoxville, Nostalgia, Planet Exchange

Best Convenience Store

Weigel’s
Runners Up: Pilot, J’s Mega Mart, The Market

Best Dry Cleaner

Prestige Cleaners
Runners Up: Crown Cleaners, Executive Cleaners, Farragut Cleaners

Best Eyewear Shop

Luttrell’s Eyewear
Runners Up: Clancy Optical, The Eye Group, Winston Eye & Vision Center

Best Bank

ORNL Federal Credit Union
Runners Up: First Tennessee Bank, Regions Bank, TVA Employees Credit Union

Best Tattoo Studio

Saint Tattoo
The urge to ink still runs high in Knoxville, and, despite the increasing number of studios, Saint Tattoo is still the place Knoxvillians trust the most. These folks take their craft seriously, keep abreast of advancements in the industry, and guarantee satisfaction. That’s important to know—especially when you’re altering your skin for life. (D.P.)
Runners Up: Born This Way, Hard Knox, Synergy

Best Gaming Spot

Fort Sanders Yacht Club
As much paean to the passions of its late founder Jon Haas as a gaming spot per se, FSYC is a charming little “barcade” off 17th street, a narrow 9-foot-wide hovel full of motorsports memorabilia and ’80s-era video machines and pinball games and furniture handmade by Haas himself. A busy local entrepreneur/property owner and renowned raconteur, the colorful Haas died in 2013 after a long battle with cancer, but the Yacht Club is still going strong under new ownership. Noted for its impressive beer menu as well as its singular selection of vintage games, FSYC has been featured in Men’s Health and Huffington Post in those publications’ rankings of best college bars nationwide. (M.G.)
Runners Up: Battlefield Knoxville, Organized Play, Sci-Fi City

Best Tanning Salon

Sun Tan City
Runners Up: Bahia Tans, Exclusive Fitness, Speed of Light Tan

Best Auto Service

Fisher Tire Company
Runners Up: Harper’s Auto Square, Matlock Tire & Auto, MF Automotive

Best Bike Shop

Greenlee’s Bicycle Shoppe
Runners Up: Bike Zoo, Cedar Bluff Cycles, Tennessee Valley Bikes

Best Pet Supply Store

Agri Feed Pet Supply
You might go to Agri Feed because it’s close to where you live, or because it has a large variety of healthy dog and cat foods at better prices, or because it has the supplies you need for your slightly more exotic pet. But here’s the best reason to go to Agri Feed—at least, if you have a dog: Benton’s bacon dog treats. No, seriously. And they’re like 50 cents! I speak from experience here—your dog will love you more than it has ever loved you if you have these in the cupboard. (C.W.G.)
Runners Up: Natural Pet Supply, Pet Supplies Plus, River Dog Bakery

Best Lawyer

Stephen A. Burroughs
Runners Up: Don Bosch, Allison Easterday, Joseph Fanduzz

Best Insurance Agent

Cindy Doyle, State Farm
Insurance is one of those business where you want a mix of professionalism with a touch of the neighborly, too. Perhaps that’s why Cindy Doyle continues to be one of the most popular local insurance agents- she’s a consummate pro, but it’s easy to imagine yourself sitting down with her for a long chat over a glass of iced tea. You can see that pretty clearly on her website –she greets you personally, and when she calls you neighbor, you’ll believe it. (D.P.)
Runners Up: Daniel Austin (Allstate), Roscoe Bell (Allstate), Mike Lewis (State Farm)

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