One of the best things about living in East Tennessee is the community, and there is no better way to support our local community than supporting all of the small businesses that call Knoxville home. This November, consider shopping small!
Shopping at small businesses puts money directly back into the local community, boosts the local economy, increases job opportunities, and provides the best customer service and product quality out there. That’s a win for everyone involved, right?
Small Business Saturday is all about supporting these local businesses that give so much back to our community, and this year we are highlighting three small businesses in the East Tennessee area that do just that.
Uncle Lem’s Outfitters
Uncle Lem’s Outfitters is an outdoor retailer nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. Owner Kevin Hill, along with his wife Cheryl, founded the first Uncle Lem’s Outfitters in 2010.
The store is the namesake of Kevin’s great-great uncle Lem Ownby, who was the last leaseholder in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Lem loved the Smoky Mountains and loved sharing his wisdom with all who came to visit his mountain home, and the Hills hopes to share his love and wisdom of the mountains with their customers.
The first Uncle Lem’s Outfitters opened in West Knoxville, just minutes from where Kevin Hill grew up. In February 2019, the store moved to Pigeon Forge and the family continues to share the story of Uncle Lem with both locals and tourists.
Uncle Lem’s Outfitters prides itself on its knowledgeable and friendly staff and offers hiking gear, camping gear, shoes, and apparel. They carry popular outdoor brands like Patagonia, Chaco, and Kavu. They even carry their own local honey to honor Uncle Lem - who kept bees on his Smoky Mountain property.
Kevin and Cheryl Hill love providing jobs to locals and employ about 15-20 people seasonally, allowing the store to foster a close-knit community. Uncle Lem’s Outfitters also gives about 50 cents from every dollar spent locally in the store back to the Pigeon Forge community.
You can find Uncle Lem’s Outfitters online and in-store at 2450 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.
Harper’s Naturals is an all-natural skincare company that provides customers with pure, wholesome ingredients in every product. The skincare company was founded in 2014 by Tanika Harper who started making her own skincare products in her kitchen.
Tanika began making all-natural skin care products for herself after being diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder called Sjögren's Syndrome, which dries up the body’s mucus-producing glands, causing her pain and suffering. Doctors told her there was no cure, but after doing her own research, she learned that she could lessen her symptoms by completely eliminating chemical products from her skincare. She began to share her products with family and friends, and as the demand grew Harper’s Naturals was born.
Harper’s Naturals sells everything from natural body and hair care products to candles. Each product has been created out of a need to live a healthier lifestyle, and they make fantastic holiday gifts!
Tanika is a single mother and is Harper’s Naturals' one and only employee. She strives to give her best to her daughter every single day through what she does with Harper’s Naturals and appreciates everyone who supports her business and allows her to do so.
You can find Harper’s Naturals online and in Mast General Store at 402 S Gay St Suite 202, Knoxville, TN 37902.
Fable Hollow Coffee & Bookshoppe
Fable Hollow Coffee & Bookshoppe, set to open in December 2022 with a Grand Opening in the new year, is a fiction/fantasy-themed book store for readers and coffee lovers alike. The store will feature books of all genres and a coffee bar with space for customers to read, relax, or get work done.
Fable Hollow is co-owned by Casey Jessen and Alyssa Stewart. They are both writers and are working with their team of eight to make their dream a reality. They cross-train their employees, giving them valuable insight into the various aspects of their business.
Casey and Alyssa believe that having a community that supports the wins of local businesses is the most important aspect of shopping small. They have already cultivated a large community of book lovers who are excitedly anticipating their opening and are looking forward to supporting the local Fountain City economy. Fable Hollow also offers their Knighthood Loyalty Program, which offers customers 10% off all purchases, free coffee days, and more.
They have run into renovation issues but are hoping to open before the Christmas holiday. However, you can currently shop online and keep up with their social media to stay updated on their opening dates.
Once they open, you will be able to shop in-store at 2910 Tazewell Pike, Suites A & B, Knoxville, TN 37918.
Bet on Small Business
These three small businesses, as well as countless others in the East Tennessee area, provide for the local economy. By shopping small and showing your support, you are allowing these local, small-business owners to pursue their dreams, you are supporting your local economy, and you are enjoying the fruits of their passion and labor. Everyone’s a winner when you shop small.