Local Collective Knox, a welcoming space for a wide range of creatives
Carol Z. Shane, Shopper News
There’s a new space for young creatives in town – one that expands upon the traditional idea of an artists’ collective.
Local Collective Knox (LCK), which had its grand opening on Sept. 2, offers “creative spaces that are comfortable, memorable and inspiring,” according to its website.
It’s owned and operated by Nick Moran, who is also the owner/operator of Riverside Tattoo in downtown Knoxville. So he knows a thing or two about the beauty/cosmetic/ink industry. And he wants to include others, like himself, who are artists in those fields.
“I wanted to keep options open,” says Moran. “Since I haven’t branded LCK as one specific genre of medium or art, I felt it would be fair to expand it to any type of beauty industry. Building photography sets, doing hair – even just a fun place to be away from home or have an office or curate a small boutique. Anything that could be considered an art. I want to keep definition open.”
Each of the seven unique studios at LCK is equipped with running water and ventilation. “I rented the space and paid for development,” says Moran. “I want to make it as simple and as easy as possible. And all the creators get to keep 100% of the money they make.”
So far, two studios are leased, both hair salons: Sleek and Destroy, run by Lilly Winburn, and The Green Room, run by Ashley Deatherage.
At the grand opening, another artist was featured – Kelsey McMurry, who is well known as a professional photographer who runs Kelsey Shea Photography, specializing in weddings, and Kelsey McMurry Photography. Recently, however, she’s branched out.
“During COVID, she started painting,” says Moran. “She needed a creative outlet. She told me that she had fallen in love with it.
“I purchased one of her paintings in 2020, and when I was thinking about who I wanted to feature for LCK’s first First Friday, I wanted to bring her in.”
Moran decided he wanted to open the collective after some eye-opening conversations.
“The demand was brought to my attention by a few friends of mine. They wished they could do hair in a place that feels like my tattoo shop. It took me a year to get LCK open; it was close to my downtown neighborhood, I know the area, I was seeing growth moving eastward.”
Moran is only 30 but has moved “over 100 times” – first as the son of Air Force parents, then as a young adult following his own creative journey, including time spent in several bands “playing everything but the drums.” A professional tattoo artist since 2014, he’s started, run and sold several businesses and has run Riverside since 2020.
He hopes to fill the space at LCK by the end of this month and is gathering applications now – even as he and his girlfriend, hair stylist Chynna Longo, enjoy a first-time trip to Italy. He is, he says, indebted to his social media manager, Sacha Keenan, and is grateful to both women for their insight and support.
Local Collective Knox is at 110 East Fifth Ave., though the building’s address is also listed as 104 East Fifth Ave. Info: instagram.com/localcollectiveknox.
The party continues at Fountain City Social
Ali James, Shopper News
Lindsey Chapman is preparing to celebrate the first anniversary of her ’80s-themed cocktail bar, Fountain City Social.
“We did a simple cheers for our first anniversary on the Labor Day weekend,” said Chapman. “On Friday, Sept. 16, we are going to celebrate with a western-themed party and on Saturday, Sept. 17, a glow themed party and a bunch of giveaways.”
Fountain City Social was always going to be more than just a local bar.
“I definitely think we have for sure surpassed all of the checked boxes,” said Chapman of her original plans for Fountain City Social, which opened last fall in what used to be a Casual Pint location at 4842 Harvest Mill Way.
“It seems like we are always doing something, whether it be trivia or Singo or karaoke. Sometimes we will throw in a themed night. We had a whiteout this past Saturday that was super fun. We have had luaus and pirate parties. We come up with themes and post about them so that people have time to get a costume and show up.”
Chapman has hosted car club nights, Fun with Friends, and birthday parties, too.
“When we first started our dance nights didn’t take off well,” said Chapman. “So we incorporated a dance night with karaoke. In between the karaoke we have a slow or hip-hop dance song or a singalong.” Chapman said they attract a slightly older demographic than clubs and bars in the Old City.
To coincide with its first birthday celebration, Fountain City Social is releasing its new fall menu.
“We are going to have an apple spice cocktail, a couple of Old Fashioneds,” said Chapman. “Recently we implemented some smoked tequila and bourbon; it’s really fun to do and takes it to another level. There will be The Social Sour, a caramel apple martini, and a brown sugar Old Fashioned.”
Fountain City Social has 22 beers on tap as well as Prosecco, lemon drop and green tea shots, and margaritas. “They can pick their own margarita flavor – strawberry, peach, mango or pineapple,” said Chapman. “Same thing for our Prosecco, they can choose watermelon, orange, cranberry, etc.”
Instead of regularly scheduled food trucks, Fountain City Social offers pizza and pretzel bites, meat and cheese trays and allows paying customers to bring in outside food.
“Every now and again we will do free food – hot dogs, sandwiches, a fruit or meat tray,” added Chapman.
A Halloween party is planned for Oct. 29, and Fountain City Social is expanding its hours for customers to hang out and watch Monday Night Football.
“People really enjoy being here because they meet other new people,” said Chapman. “They appreciate that we take the time to say hello and communicate with them.”
Fountain City Social worked with the City of Knoxville to become a certified “Safe Bar.” The initiative trains workers to help them identify and prevent sexual violence.
“They sit down and talk with your employees about things to look for to keep your customers safe and what to do in a situation,” said Chapman. “That is really important to us, because we get women telling us that they feel so safe with us. It just lets our patrons – men go through it, too – know that we watch out for things like that.
“We are finalists for Knoxnews.com’s Knox Stars for Best Bar in Knoxville. Best Cocktails, Best Karaoke, Best Happy Hour,” said Chapman. “I think it's our consistency. People know we will have the pitchers and our regular Sunday happy hour.
“We've been approached about doing more locations,” said Chapman. The Kerns building has approached us about doing a similar concept there. Fortunately, we have done really, really well in the year we have been open. We are very grateful.”
Barre None Dance Shop outfits dancers from top to toe
Al Lesar, Shopper News
Gwendolyn Johnson Delaney made the clever move last year to open Barre None Dance Shop at the Tennessee Conservatory of Fine Arts (TCFA) in North Knoxville.
“This time of the year we go through products more quickly, because they have outgrown their shoes and I have to order new shoes, leotards and tights every week,” said Delaney.
TCFA has been a mainstay for both new and experienced dancers for more than 26 years.
“We are a classically based dance studio, and we offer ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, modern, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop,” said Delaney. “We have tracks for both the recreational student and the aspiring professional.” TCFA is also a certified Acrobatic Arts studio that offers all levels of acro dance and a home to Ballet Gloria, so TCFA provides students the opportunity to audition for the Junior Companies.
“We opened the dance shop because there is nothing like that on this side of town and there has been a need for as long as I can remember,” said Delaney. “We wanted to start filling that need for artists and even athletes, with a small accompaniment of yoga attire, flexor stretcher accessories and foam rollers.”
Barre None Dance Shop at TCFA covers the basics with a variety of ballet, jazz and tap shoes, leotards, and tights, and even cute ballerina-themed knickknacks from jewelry containers to necklaces.
“We feature the RP Collection and Revolution dancewear brands,” she said. “We sell leotards, tights and dance shoes the most.”
Since opening a year ago, Delaney said they have added a range of performance jewelry. “They are all sparkly to enhance the costume,” she said – “hair accessories, earrings, necklaces and a variety of combs for competitive dancers, twirlers and people in pageantry.”
Supporting local musical theater and show choir groups is also important to Delaney.
“If local community or school show directors have specific needs, I would love them to reach out to me,” she said. “I can help them with tan jazz shoes, tan or fishnet tights; I have fitted out several performances over the years.”
Delaney’s husband, Jeff, also designs a range of vintage-inspired custom T-shirts for the shop.
“He calls them Knoxtalgia, with the World’s Fair, the local putt-putt, and other local businesses from the past 50-60 years that give people a feeling of nostalgia,” she explained. “They come in tanks, wide neck shirts. Some are plain and some say things, but they are designed specifically for the dancer in all genres.”
An online shop is under construction, and Delaney hopes to have it open by the end of September. For now, the shop is open 5-8 p.m. Mondays, 4:30-7:30 on Wednesdays, 4:30-8 p.m. Fridays and 9:30 a.m.-noon on Saturdays.
Delaney has recruited someone to help run the store and will slowly start expanding those hours. “Right now, they can call the studio to schedule an appointment to shop,” said Delaney.
Expect to find some new fall décor including throws, pillows and other holiday items such as nutcrackers over the coming months. “We are constantly expanding offerings; we are building that inventory,” said Delaney.
Barre None Dance Shop is at 2906 Tazewell Pike # A.
Keep the voices in your head close
Leslie Snow, Shopper News
It should have been an ordinary conversation, but it wasn’t. I should have run into an old neighbor at the grocery store, exchanged pleasantries, and carried on with the rest of my day without giving the incident a second thought.
But something about the encounter bothers me. Something about the conversation triggers a negative reaction that I can’t quite pinpoint.
I reach for my phone to talk to my friend Cheri about it. She has a way of finding the nugget of truth in a situation and dissecting it.
But then I remember. Cheri is out of town for the week. I consider calling her anyway. I don’t think she would mind, but then I decide it isn’t that important. I put my phone and my worry away and try to shift my focus.
But driving home from the store, I feel my mind reaching out for that moment again. The one with my neighbor. The one that bothered me. I replay it again, looking for the source of my discomfort, but it doesn’t come to me. I need my people to help me sort through my emotions.
So I start talking to Cheri. Not on the phone, but in my head.
I tell her the story like I would if we were on one of our walks. And I can hear her soothing voice clearly when she replies. “Les, I’m not sure she meant it, but it sounds like she was being critical of you in an offhand way. Her words could be taken in so many ways, but what you heard was blame. Do you think you were being sensitive, or do you think her intent was to be unkind?”
I think back to the conversation again, trying to decipher the woman’s tone. I wonder what she was thinking when she spoke. I talk about it in my head, but this time it’s my husband who responds, not Cheri.
He tells me to put the moment away, that it doesn’t matter. He says I have enough on my plate, that I don’t need to borrow trouble where there is none. And I know that he’s right, even if he’s only a voice in my head.
Before I know it, my daughter Jordan chimes in. She tells me that I have every right to be upset. “You felt bad after the conversation because someone was mean to you. Case closed.” I smile because Jordan is always my fiercest defender. Even when I’m wrong.
As I pull into my driveway, my mother picks up where Jordan left off. Her voice is soft and gentle, and I feel the hug mixed in with her words. “It’s OK to be upset,” she says, “but put it behind you. You don’t need to carry any more weight. Nothing that happened in the grocery store changes anything. You’re good just the way you are. You are loved.”
My head is a busy place. I quiet all the voices while I bring in my groceries, and I realize I feel better. I’ve worked through my emotions with the help of my friends and my family. They didn’t even need to be there. I put the last of the groceries away feeling grateful to the people I’m closest to, the ones who are part of me.
Later that evening, I think about that old saying, that “it takes a village.” It turns out, the phrase is true. I just never realized all those villagers would be in my head.
Leslie Snow may be reached at snow firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Shopper News brings you the latest happenings in your community