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Southern Market

Your Window Into the World of Retail Shopping Bliss

An iconic retail destination since 1996 for shopping aficionados from East Tennessee and far beyond, Southern Market has become the favorite shopping venue for two generations of shoppers who appreciate their totally unique boutique style retail venue that is so difficult to duplicate in today’s “big box” style retail environment. What is even more unique about Southern Market is how two women entrepreneurs, a mother and daughter team, not only created this extraordinary business success, but also how they created a retail platform for other aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to follow their business dreams as well.

In this issue of Everything Knoxville, we are pleased to share with our readers our recent interview with Southern Market owner, Susan Worthington.

EK: Tell our readers how Southern Market first began.

Susan: More than two decades ago my mother, Frances Sexton, and I envisioned the concept of an interiors marketplace by combining more than 40 boutiques under a single roof. Southern Market was designed to provide a truly unique shopping experience inspired by the vision of intimate boutiques lining the streets of a charming village. During our travels of more than 20,000 miles throughout the Southeast, we discovered an attractive array of small business merchants and were inspired to open a boutique in Knoxville. Throughout the years, local merchants have replaced regional merchants, creating a decidedly “shop local” feel to our marketplace.

EK: Describe the types of merchandise our readers will discover at Southern Market.

Susan: Southern Market offers an interiors marketplace of more than 40 boutiques, including a gallery of 50 local Etsy artists. We have evolved into a must-visit destination for discerning shoppers seeking an ever-changing and eclectic selection of stylish decorative accessories, distinctive gifts, home décor, boutique fashions, and original art. Whether you are seeking the expert advice of one of our talented in-store interior decorators or are confident in your own artistic abilities, you will discover an abundance of inspirational decorating ideas that make shopping an enjoyable and invigorating breeze at Southern Market.

With that first step through our front entrance, you will be transformed by soft scents and alluring sights. Your pulse quickens as you try to take it all in – there is so much to see! To touch! To experience! Creative energies start flowing – inspired by innovative uses of color, texture and pattern, the sheen of soft metals, the glow of beautiful lamps, inviting artwork, and gift possibilities. Whether you’re searching for a gift of more charm than cost or something quite extravagant for the home, it’s fun to browse! Variety abounds!

EK: In addition to its charming Southern atmosphere, Southern Market really is a one-stop shopping destination.

Susan: Each inviting boutique is conceived and designed by our very creative merchants who offer a medley of decorative furniture, discerning accessories, hand-crafted art, garden décor, boutique fashions and jewelry, or stylish gift items. Additionally, each shop is a showcase of intriguing interior design featuring the most charming and current design trends. This delightful mixture of merchants makes Southern Market truly a one-stop shopping destination for all your decorative gift needs – including free gift wrapping.

My mom and I wanted to provide a shopping experience like no other, and in each of our 20 plus years in business, we have developed and provided exciting and creative retail experiences for our savvy customers. Our focus is on creating a truly warm, friendly ambiance where it’s decidedly fun to shop. Southern Market is at its core a place to uplift the soul and regenerate the mind… a place that stimulates the senses and invigorates one’s inner creative being. Offering so much more than merely stuff, we are confident that you will leave Southern Market fully inspired.

EK: It would appear that Southern Market represents a great opportunity for new entrepreneurs hoping to launch a business of their own.

Susan: Absolutely. Traditional start-up businesses face numerous and often costly barriers to enter into the retail market, especially those seeking a brick and mortar presence. However, at the Southern Market, the high overhead costs attributed to operating a business are shared among our merchants, thereby lowering their costs of doing business. Our sales staff handles all daily processing of sales and marketing, so there are no work requirements. Our merchants are free to concentrate on new products, merchandising, spend more time with family and friends, or to pursue hobbies such as travel or professional careers.

Having a physical presence often provides our retailers a competitive advantage when acquiring product lines versus online only stores. Our merchants can explore and test their product lines, business models, and target markets while gauging consumer response and adapting to insights and trends. Friendly competition and mentoring internally among our merchants and staff help build stronger and more successful retailers. We offer a variety of affordable space options, from a single shelf to an entire shop, to fit the needs of each entrepreneur looking to succeed in today’s competitive retail environment. Our focus is to help incubate merchants into viable, small businesses. Some of our merchants have even launched stand alone brick and mortar stores of their own. At Southern Market, you are in business for yourself but not by yourself.

EK: It would also appear that Southern Market offers more established entrepreneurs with an existing brick and mortar location a tremendous opportunity to explore new growth opportunities.

Susan: Absolutely. Existing brick and mortar retail stores desiring a centralized, upscale Knoxville location in which to expand their businesses find Southern Market an attractive alternative to launching a new and separate retail store. It allows existing businesses the opportunity to expand but at just a fraction of the cost.

EK: How would you summarize the Southern Market experience?

Susan: We encourage our new merchants to try to imagine all of the possibilities that exist for their existing or start-up businesses: Growth, exposure, physical location, expansion, branding, mentoring, new product lines… whatever your vision is. The Southern Market represents the perfect venue for upscale, small business, local shops. Merchants can enjoy the luxury of having their own shop or second location without the daily hassles of managing their own stores. We are also exploring a variety of new ideas to further expand our merchants’ sales opportunities in the future as we enter our third decade of supporting our area’s small local business community.

One other important feature that Southern Market offers both shoppers and merchants alike is the synergy that is created by combining more than 40 unique shopping venues in a single location. Through creative, collaborative, retail merchandising, Southern Market has been Knoxville’s premier design marketplace since 1996. To discover what all the excitement is about, contact us at 865-588-2260 and come grow with us.

EK: Please highlight some of the retail vendors our readers will find at Southern Market.

Susan: The store provides an ever-changing variety of stylish home décor, gifts, fashion, and art from more than 40 local merchants and 50 Etsy artists, including:

Home décor:
» Victoria’s – If you want it, you can find it here
» Southern Accents TN – A sign for everything you want to say
» My Little Room – Uniqueness is her middle name
» Sweetwater Flower Shop – An abundance of elegant florals
» Blue Heron Studio – Farmhouse interiors and architectural accents

Stylish gifts:
» Schoolhouse Alley – Classic children’s gifts
» Manchester Estate – Men’s personal care gifts
» Jordan’s Gems – A hat for all reasons and seasons
» Embellish Gifts – Seasonal and local gifts

Boutique fashion:
» Euphoria Boutique – Boho chic fashions
» Schriver’s Boutique – Trendy bohemian apparel
» 3130 Boutique – Clothing for women and children
» Melanie B Stylist – Glitter and glam for the holidays

Hand-crafted art:
» Sarah B Weber Art – Farmhouse animals & more
» Originals by Viola – Extraordinary broken glass collages
» Boxwood Brake – Artisan inspired wares

EK: Will Southern Market be hosting any special events this holiday season?

Susan: Kicking off the season this November 1st through 4th is one of our biggest events, Southern Market’s annual Holiday Open House. You are encouraged to take advantage of the Thanksgiving weekend discounts offered during Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and the Cyber Monday/social media specials. Also, early in December will be the District in Bearden Holiday Open House and the Southern Market’s Ladies’ Night Out each Thursday in December until 8 pm. Take advantage of additional holiday shopping hours on Sundays in November and December from 1 to 5 pm. Thinking further ahead, Spring Fling, a festive outdoor market, will be the big kick-off for events in 2019 with various smaller events offered monthly, and our popular Tailgate Party in August, where our merchants sell from displays within the tailgates of their vehicles, celebrating the beginning of the Big Orange season.

EK: How can our readers learn more about Southern Market?

Susan: Get social with the Southern Market on social media. Follow us on Facebook and @southernmarketshops on Instagram. We post daily and often with new product announcements, restock alerts, new merchant spotlights, new employee announcements, upcoming event information, class offerings, staff highlights, shop local promotions and discounts, and the customers’ favorites: Product giveaways! We offer drawings for gift certificates and well-stocked gift baskets. We encourage readers to like, comment, and share to enter our football game day drawings. You will also find us on Pinterest with a board for each merchant – a fantastic way to window shop through the gallery of merchant shops. The Southern Market is also on Twitter, Yelp, and YouTube. You can join our email list at www.southernmarketshops.com to be certain you stay informed.

EK: In closing, is there anything else you would like to add?

Susan: Yes! The treasure chest! For those of you who love to shop with us, we are now offering a new Magnolia Elite Rewards Club Program. Get a magnolia stamp for every $10 spent (before tax) with the merchants located within Southern Market. Collect 10 stamps and then get a choice of a FREE GIFT from the designated treasure chest. The best thing about the free gifts is that they are giftable! If you need a last-minute gift or one more gift to make your gifting complete, the treasure(s) you choose can meet those needs or, even better, an earned gift for yourself. You deserve to be rewarded for shopping LOCAL! To go along with the program is the new VIP Magnolia Elite Rewards Club, a Facebook group. Join for giveaways, discounts, and surprises exclusively for VIP members.

The Southern Market has enthusiastically supported trade professionals in Knoxville for 22 years. We offer a trade discount to interior designers, interior decorators, home stagers, architects, home developers, hospitality professionals, and others purchasing for resale with a valid sales tax ID. A copy of your current sales tax ID and a business card are required to be on file. Some restrictions apply. For more information, inquire at the front desk of the store. Sign up today if you haven’t already!

Not only do we support the local merchants, but we also support our local community and charitable organizations. We offer a discount in the Knox County School Coupon book. We wear purple and display purple in the store to show our “Paint the Town Purple” and “Purple Out Day” support in Alzheimer’s research. We are currently supporting the “All In Against Alzheimer’s” fundraiser by selling orange and white shakers. The proceeds will go to benefit the Pat Summitt Clinic at UTMC. Our Mother’s Day gift basket promotion with memorial/honor donations supports Thompson Cancer Survival Center. We raise money for childhood cancer research with Alex’s Lemonade Stand each July with our back-to-school promotion. During the last 22 years, we have participated in and supported many local organizations, including Knoxville Junior League, Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville Symphony League, Parade of Homes, Dogwood Arts Festival, Kidney Foundation, Children’s Hospital, Florence Crittenden Agency, Joy of Music School, and Knoxville Executive Women, just to name a few.

Finally, all of us at Southern Market would like to thank you for voting Southern Market as Knoxville’s Best Gift Shop in the Knoxville News-Sentinel! We are more than delighted to offer a unique shopping experience for Knoxville and to support local small business merchants and Etsy artists.

Southern Market
5400 Homberg Drive
Knoxville, TN 37919
865.588.0274
www.southernmarketshops.com
Facebook: The Southern Market
Instagram: @southernmarketshops
Pinterest: The Southern Market

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