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Clancy Optical and SPEX

Knoxville’s Trusted Experts in Eyewear Since 1943

Steve Clancy is an optician, native Knoxvillian, and 3rd generation owner of Clancy Optical located in Franklin Square and SPEX located in the Kingston Pike Shopping Center in Bearden. He and his wife, interior designer Paula Clancy, have been married for more than 25 years – both have thriving businesses known for specialized expertise and long-term client relationships. Steve talked to Everything Knoxville about carrying on the tradition of excellent optical care and up-to-date eyeglass choices. 

EK: Wow! 3rd generation? Tell us about Clancy Optical’s beginnings.

Steve: As the very first optical store in Knoxville, my grandfather, Art Clancy, Sr., opened Clancy Optical Company back in 1943. We continue to be one of Knoxville’s oldest and longest standing businesses. During the past 70+ years, many Clancy family members – including sons, daughters, cousins, and in-laws – have worked there. My dad, Art Clancy, Jr., joined the business in 1958 and was with Clancy Optical for more than 50 years. There he served as president, receiving numerous awards and recognition in the optical field on local, state, national, and international levels.

EK: That is quite a legacy – when and how did you become involved in the family business?

Steve: I became a licensed optician and began my career with the company in 1982. I was able to work side-by-side with my grandfather and father, learning skills only they could teach, which I feel sets me apart from others in my field. With more than 38 years of experience, I am proud to carry on the legacy of Clancy Optical.

EK: How has your business grown over the years?

Steve: By providing exceptional customer service, our knowledgeable staff focuses on relationship building that has led to many repeat clients. This has allowed us to successfully carry on and expand. In addition to our original store, we opened SPEX, a division of Clancy Optical, in the Bearden area in 2004. With the Franklin Square location offering classic and more traditional frame lines, SPEX specializes in fashion forward and contemporary eyeglass styles. 

EK: What sets Clancy Optical apart from your competitors?

Steve: My staff and I strive to bring the best possible products and service to our client base through continuing education and by attending optical conventions and trade shows. I am very selective about the brands we sell – always making sure the products are of the very highest quality. Both SPEX and Clancy Optical carry lines exclusive to the company, including Danish line LINDBERG, Götti from Switzerland, French line Anne & Valentin, and Japanese Barton Perreira. SPEX also carries the high-end fashion brand Celine, Tom Ford, and Oliver Peoples. We also hold the largest Maui Jim sunglass inventory in the Knoxville market. 

EK: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?

Steve: I really love what I do. I love knowing I am helping someone improve their quality of life. If you are tired of the run-of-the-mill eyewear and lack of personal service found in the big chains, try Clancy Optical and SPEX. We offer exclusive brands that can’t be found anywhere else in town. Our lines are chosen for their craftsmanship, quality, and uniqueness – the best of the best! Call us or stop by one of our stores to see our wide selection of beautiful frames. 

Clancy Optical

9700 Kingston Pike, Suite 15
Knoxville, TN 37922

SPEX Contemporary Eyewear

4620 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN 37919

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Shae Design Studio

For more than 16 years, Shae Design Studio has been creating uniquely dynamic interiors tailored to fit their individual clients’ styles and needs. Everything Knoxville caught up with owner Shae Seeber at their new showroom location in Franklin Square to discuss one of their latest epic projects – a deluxe pool house for an area homeowner. Shae shared with us how this project evolved from the first ideas their client had, to the expert planning of the furnishings and accessories, to the beautiful success we see here.

This pool house project began as a collaborative effort between the client, architect, and Shae Design team. Everyone worked through the initial plans together to ensure the final design was exactly as intended for the success of the space and the delight of the client. Furniture layouts were created within the architectural plans, and 3D renderings were “walked through” before the first hammer was ever raised to a nail. Almost every selection was finalized before construction began – from flooring, cabinets, furniture, color palettes, wood stains, light fixtures, countertops, hardware, exterior selections, and even pool finishes. With a cohesive plan set for the entire design, few surprises surfaced during the construction process, allowing the budget to be met, and conception to be realized, to the elation of everyone involved.

The Shae Design team served as project management from beginning to end. Electrical layouts were drawn, lighting plans created, tile installation designed, and furniture layouts planned. SDS facilitated any necessary handholding among the clients, contractors, and subcontractors involved. Most of the furnishings were custom designs by the SDS team, and a multitude of other items were sourced through trusted Shae Design vendors.

From beginning to end, the design team was present throughout every aspect of the design plan, including the final delivery and installation of the project. Furniture was arranged, art was hung, accessories were placed, lamps were illuminated, and pillows were fluffed. Every last detail of the finishing touches convey the message the clients longed to send: “Welcome to our home.”

This project beautifully serves as the ideal relationship between contractor, client, architect, and interior designer.

Interior Design: Pool House Project

Design Selections
Some call it “soup to nuts.” Our Interior Design team collaborated for months with the client and architect to bring a pool house dream to reality. From the architectural details to the electrical plan and decorative finishes, we worked with the contractors to ensure the success of the stunning end result. The beauty of the beams, cabinetry, countertops, custom fixtures, and upholstery make this local pool house the envy of all.

The Furniture
While we’ve seen countless woven and leather elements in design throughout the years, the warmth and dimension these materials bring to a space remains indisputable. We love incorporating a variety of textures in our projects to add interest and set the tone of the overall aesthetics. This particular project is replete with custom textiles, hand-selected fabrics, and unique furniture pieces that were all designed and selected by our team.

The Lighting
Artisan-crafted, expertly placed lighting adds sparkle, interest, dimension, and life to a space. Great lighting has the power to determine the mood, energy, and focus of your most beloved belongings and environments. The delicate balance of light and shade brings undeniable perfection to an interior. The scale required for the vaulted ceilings in this project makes these jewelry pieces breathtaking!

The Textiles
Textiles bring texture, comfort, beauty, and durability to your home. The layering of upholstery, pillows, throws, and rugs can soften the hard architectural details and create a collected, well-lived-in feel to a space. Cool hues and muted tones set the relaxing energy of this luxurious backyard pool retreat, creating vacation vibes mere steps from the client’s backdoor. During a worldwide pandemic, this lucky Knoxville family can escape to paradise without ever leaving home.

The Décor
This design project was all about styling. The most successful décor has a meticulous mix of materials, well-defined color palette, and complementary accents, which ultimately define how a space is experienced. With curated décor, natural elements, art, and finishing touches, this pool house project exceeded client expectations and brought their dream to life. The Shae Design team looks forward to doing the same for your next project.

New arrivals weekly! Come shop local with us!

Shae Design Studio
9700 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN 37922
Facebook: @TheShaeDesignStudio

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Closets by McKenry

Intentional and Beautiful

Closets by McKenry and Designer Garages

Living in a neat and organized home is a gift that keeps on giving – providing extra mental energy, extra space, and extra time. No one knows this better than Chris McKenry, owner of Closets by McKenry and Designer Garages.

Setting up shop in Los Angeles as a professional organizer in 2000, the Knoxville native became a board member and president of the L.A. Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers and received recognition for his layout and design of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Through the years, he received multiple awards for his talents and was featured in Oprah’s “O” magazine, Women’s Day, the L.A. Times, and L.A. Weekly.

While in California, Chris realized that the right environment can enhance organization, and he began designing custom closets. After moving home in 2015, Chris opened Closets by McKenry, and four years later, Designer Garages. Chris now helps his clients lead happier lives by offering custom-designed storage solutions for virtually every room of the house. Local freelance writer Carrie McConkey learned more about Chris’ background and services in an interview for Everything Knoxville magazine.

Carrie: Your family owned and operated McKenry Produce in Knoxville. What is one lesson you learned from the business?

Chris: McKenry Produce was opened by my great grandfather’s brother-in-law in 1897 and was in business for more than 100 years. Starting as a one-room storefront that sold live chickens to customers, in the ’60s the company began supplying poultry to Kentucky Fried Chicken. I started working there after graduating from Carson-Newman University.

In addition to KFC, we served local white tablecloth restaurants like Regas. Focusing on the community was important to my family, and my dad, Joe McKenry, insisted on taking care of every customer’s needs. Often, we would meet a restaurateur after hours so they would not be out of product.

At Closets by McKenry and Designer Garages, we strive for that same dedication. If something out of the norm is requested, we try to source what is needed. We want our clients to know how much we appreciate their business.

Carrie: What sets Closets by McKenry and Designer Garages apart from your peers?

Chris: I believe our continued growth is proof of our desire to serve Knoxville to the fullest. When I first opened Closets by McKenry, I would give clients a tour of my own home to show them different organization ideas. In 2018, I realized a showroom was necessary to better display our products and store a competitively-priced inventory. The following year, I doubled our space and opened the Designer Garages showroom.

To support this expansion, our team has tripled since I started the business. As professionals, and as people, I think they’re just the best. Our designers love what they do and bring experience and creative talent to their work. Our installers are conscientious and courteous. And our showroom manager is always there for our customers while keeping the rest of us on track!

Carrie: You give back in many ways. What is the importance of community to you?

Chris: When I returned to Knoxville after 15 years in L.A., I knew I wanted to be active in our wonderful community. My first year back, we designed the craft room in the Knoxville Symphony League ShowHouse. Two years later, we participated in the first Alzheimer’s Tennessee Home & Garden Tour, for which we received a national award for Best Closet Design.

Currently, we’re the Knoxville collection site for Carson-Newman University’s “Career Closet,” where donated professional garments in good condition will give a needed boost to students. We’re also excited to be opening our showroom for the Interior Design Society’s monthly meeting on August 17th at 5:30 pm. We welcome other community groups if they need a spot to hold events.

Carrie: Do you still offer professional organizing?

Chris: While I no longer provide professional organizing services, we have several local organizers that I confidently refer. Our custom designs will help you map where things should be placed in your new space. 

Carrie: In what other areas of the home can you provide storage? And what type of budgets do you work with?

Chris: We provide beautiful storage – shelves, drawers, cabinets, lighting, countertops, islands, and more – for nearly every area of your home. We have helped clients transform their laundry rooms and linen closets, primary closets and pantries, guest rooms, mud rooms, hobby rooms, and home offices. Some of our newest storage solutions include wall beds and wine storage. And we can outfit your garage from floor to ceiling with Swiss Trax or epoxy floors, slatwall panels, and cabinetry, including a beautiful powder-coated premium line from Carolina Garage.

It may sound trite, but we welcome every size budget and project. We can help you remodel the corner of one room or plan out your entire new construction home – we enjoy working with developers, contractors, and architects. Whether you know what you want or are unsure, we’ll ask what is needed to achieve your goals – from extravagant to purely functional – and we’re now offering financing and 12 months same as cash for those who qualify.

Carrie: How can people find you?

Chris: Closets by McKenry and Designer Garages showrooms in West Knoxville are open six days a week. We can schedule an at-home visit, where we will design your space together, or meet virtually. Call, click, or come in – whatever is easiest for you. We want to make your experience planning a new closet, garage, or other storage system as simple and satisfying as possible.

Closets by McKenry – Designer Garages
201 Center Park Drive, Suite 1070
Knoxville, TN 37922

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Cabry Design & Cabinetry

Making Knoxville More Beautiful, One Kitchen at a Time

Cabry Design & Cabinetry has been designing and remodeling kitchens in the Knoxville area for more than 15 years. They are excited to showcase their expanded design center and announce new cabinetry partnerships – all to better serve their clients!

We spoke with founder Todd Thomas recently to learn about their trusted approach in helping clients realize their dream kitchens.

EK: You didn’t start out in the remodeling business. How did that change come about?

Todd: I have a sales and marketing background but have always loved being creative. Many years ago, our church purchased a building that needed to be totally remodeled. I volunteered to help and found that I had both the passion for the transformation and the attention to detail required for that process. That project led me to cabinetry, so I combined those passions to form a Design-Build firm here in Knoxville. At Cabry Design, we are passionate about what we do. I love the endless possibilities and that with every new project comes new ideas. There is a lot of satisfaction seeing the clients’ reactions as we transform their space.

EK: Explain how your Design-Build process works.

Todd: Design-Build is a method of project delivery in which one entity – the Cabry team – works with the homeowner to provide complete design and construction services. This allows us to be by our clients’ side from start to finish of the entire remodel. We provide comprehensive plans that act as a “roadmap” for our construction and install teams to ensure that your dream kitchen becomes a reality. By offering all of these services in one place, it takes the stress off of the homeowner from having to find their own capable designer, source cabinetry, employ a contractor, and making the (literally) hundreds of selections and decisions that are involved in a kitchen renovation. Furthermore, it minimizes the surprises and miscommunication throughout the course of the project because we, as a team, are solely focused on that one client and that one project as a whole.

EK: Will you describe your unique approach your projects?

Todd: First and foremost, we listen. Although it sounds simple, we want to truly redefine your space to be visually stunning, as well as functional and organized to enhance your everyday life. We do this by listening to your wants, needs, favorite appliances, storage preferences, and so on. After that we are able to create a design concept followed with 3D design options. These will help you to envision and choose the best option with which to transform your home. With each project, we bring our design perspective, experience, ideas, and knowledge, but we are careful not impose a “style.” We create individual answers every time that are custom tailored to each client while respecting the budget and personal preferences. Our Design Team will then work closely with our Construction Team to evaluate construction costs and coordinate everything from tile and lighting to install and hardware.

EK: There are so many options when planning a kitchen remodel. How is Cabry Design & Cabinetry able to best help clients make the right choices?

Todd: Shopping for beautiful materials, products, and colors for your remodel or new build can be both exciting and overwhelming. At Cabry Design & Cabinetry, we make it a priority to stay up to date with design trends, appliances, and organizational hacks. We’ll recommend quality materials that best fit your space, style, and budget, always keeping in mind that your new space should complement the architectural style of your home. Our Design Team will assist you with your material, product, and color choices to ensure a cohesive, finished look. This phase can be overwhelming with all of the decisions involved, but our Design Team strives to make it enjoyable, organized, and stress-free. Depending on your availability and location, we’ll shop with you in-person or virtually. We also gladly work with local designers to collaborate on your project.

EK: What about design trends and new cabinetry options?

Todd: As I stated, our purpose is not to impose our “style” but to bring out yours. Our designers are always aware – and excited – about new color trends and available materials that make every kitchen unique and functional while being the room you love to come into!

In addition to our tried-and-true, beautiful Amish cabinetry, we are excited to introduce a new partnership with Plato Woodwork, Inc. They are the second oldest cabinet maker in the world, proudly made here in the USA. We are also proud to partner with Signature, Kith, Europa, and many more. As you can see from our photos, we are not “cookie cutter.” We offer distinctive designer level cabinetry at an excellent value. We have made sure to carry lines that will work with anyone’s budget. Our designs are what make the difference to create a show-stopping space that you will want to share with all of your friends and family.

EK: Anything else you would like our readers to know about Cabry Design & Cabinetry?

Todd: We feel that what sets Cabry Design apart is not only the level of design, but the attention to ALL of the details necessary to ensure your dream kitchen comes true. Closely behind the designers is a dedicated, well-honed team who is personally involved in the management and execution of each project. Each member of the Cabry Design team – from the designers to the installers – knows that their role is essential, and they take that responsibility seriously for each and every client. We strive to be the best at what we do and are here to make your dream kitchen a reality.

Cabry Design & Cabinetry
8705 Unicorn Drive, Suite 114
Knoxville, TN 37923

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The Lunchbox

Creating and Continuing the Legacy of Knoxville’s Favorite Lunch Spot

Everyone loves The Lunchbox! Everything Knoxville is honored to share the history, guiding principles, and the exciting future of this beloved lunch spot that celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2021. We were delighted to meet founder Karen Sproles recently and asked her to tell us how it all began.

Here is Karen’s story:

In 1979, I found myself a single mom with two young daughters and had to come to grips with how I was going to support us. I have a degree in math education, but after a year of teaching, realized that it was not my joy or calling. Growing up in Wisconsin, surrounded by the influence of my grandmother and mother – the best natural cooks ever – caring for people with food had become a part of me. Foodservice was a natural – but how? I had no formal training, just instincts.

There were very few restaurants in downtown Knoxville in 1980 and a large workforce of daytime-only professionals and office staff. Committed to being available for my children, I thought if I opened a small, lunch-only restaurant, I could be home on weekends and when they got home from school.

I stumbled across a little building (across from the City County building) where the owners were very receptive to the idea of a restaurant. After readying the space, we printed 1,000 flyers to announce our concept and opening date and then delivered them to the offices within walking distance. Bringing pots and pans from home, having seating for only 24, no dishwasher or prep space, and three employees, we launched on June 7, 1981. We set a goal for sales on day one and exceeded it – running out of everything!

Two weeks after opening, I met my future husband, Don Sproles. He endeared himself to my daughters and often showed up at The Lunchbox on Sunday afternoons when we were trying to get a jump on food for the week. Before long he was rolling up his sleeves and taking over at the cash register. We were married July 3, 1982, choosing that day so we’d have a three-day weekend for a “honeymoon.”

In 1985, we expanded the building to 45 seats and later moved to our dream space (in one weekend and didn’t miss a day!) in the First Tennessee Plaza.

With more than half of our business as take-out, we then established a central kitchen and Market/Café on Center Park Drive in the mid-1990s. This allowed us to prepare and deliver fresh food every day to our locations around town while enabling our customers to serve themselves – to eat in, to take back to their offices, to take home, or all three in one efficient stop!

My business philosophy is summed up in four words: Honesty, Service, Respect, and Accountability. We aimed to be much more than a sandwich; the goal was feel good food. My mantra to my new employees was always “Our customers have probably had a stressful morning. It’s our job to send them back to work feeling better than when they came in!”

The Lunchbox is why I encourage others to “listen to your heart!” I was tracked to be a teacher – who knew cooking for people you care about could be a career?

Everything Knoxville then had the opportunity to talk to current owners, Randy and Trish Holmes, who are committed to maintaining Karen’s business philosophy. The staff at all three locations sung their praises for continuing the tradition of The Lunchbox. The entire Holmes family have been long-time “regulars” – both as customers and employees – and were eager to keep the restaurant going. 

EK: Why did you decide to invest in The Lunchbox? 

Randy: The Atrium location of The Lunchbox on Weisgarber was our go-to lunch spot almost daily when we had our medical device business. I was (and still am!) a huge fan of the chicken salad and chili! When we were approached about buying the business in 2018, it was a no-brainer. The Lunchbox has been a Knoxville icon since the ’80s. It began as a “family business,” and we wanted to keep it that way. 

Trish: Our oldest daughter, Hollie, and son-in-law, Ean Hurst (General Manager), along with my brother, Matthew Wise (Operations Manager), were employees of The Lunchbox, so we knew it was already managed very well. Today, our youngest daughter, Allie, handles the social media/marketing, our middle daughter, Lacie, occasionally helps with baking, while her husband, Eric Childers (son-in-law #2), helps me with the accounting side of the business. It can truly still be labeled a “family business.” 

EK: There are many options for food in Knoxville. Why do you think The Lunchbox has such staying power?

Randy: The difference is “the formula hasn’t changed.” We have made sure to stay as true to Karen’s recipes as we can, which continue to be the heartbeat and foundation of The Lunchbox. The signature chicken salad, soups, fresh sandwiches, and ready-to-go desserts have always been a major draw.

Trish: Our downtown Market Manager, Josephine, has been with The Lunchbox for too many years to count! She has been making these “tried and true” recipes from scratch for more than 20 years. With her customer service and know-how, we knew to stick with what worked. Rhonda, our Market Manager at The Atrium, has taken customer service to the next level, greeting customers daily with smiles and gratitude.

EK: The Lunchbox definitely falls in to the “beloved Knoxville institution” category. What are your business goals as The Lunchbox moves forward?

Randy: We continue to offer homestyle, quality foods that people keep coming back to, and our mission is to stay consistent in honoring The Lunchbox legacy. We would love to reach more of Knoxville so everyone can enjoy the same sandwiches and soups that we have always loved! Dine-in or carry-out for lunch and beyond. Convenience is the name of the game!

Trish: We also have boxed lunches for delivery. It is nice for everyone to have their own portion without needing to share off a common tray. The majority of our deliveries are to businesses, but we cater to any size group. Order from The Lunchbox to be the lunchtime hero!  

EK: What are your plans for The Lunchbox in the future?

Trish: New menu items are being tested monthly. Our Kitchen Manager, Rebecca Combs, has been very creative in adding more items to our Take and Bake and catering menus. Our catering options are perfect for lunch meetings and large or small groups. The boxed lunches continue to be a big hit! We have several concepts and ideas that we plan to launch soon, as we anticipate the economy opening back up in the coming months.

Randy: As Knoxville continues to open up, all three locations – downtown near Krutch Park at The US Bank building, Bearden near Homberg, and The Atrium on Weisgarber – are excited to welcome regulars and “newbies” again!

We look forward to continuing the great tradition of The Lunchbox and serving the Knoxville community for years to come. Come see us!

The Lunchbox

5005 Kingston Pike

The Atrium
1225 E Weisgarber Road

Downtown at The US Bank Building
607 Market Street

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CertaPro Painters of East Tennessee

Every Project Begins and Ends with Customer Service

It is widely known that there is not a faster or more cost-effective way to update your interior and exterior surfaces than painting, and CertaPro Painters are the ones to call. With more than 17 years in Knoxville, an unblemished 2020 Better Business Bureau record, consistent paint crews – some painters have been with CertaPro for more than 10 years! – and reliable customer service, why go anywhere else?

After visiting CertaPro Painters of East Tennessee offices, one thing became very clear – the CertaPro team genuinely enjoy their jobs. Each feels they have an important contribution to make in the customer service chain. From initial client contact through the “Pride Walk” at the completion of every project, each employee is confident that CertaPro Painters is the best choice for all your painting needs.

Everything Knoxville spoke with president, Devin Taylor, and his team at CertaPro to find out what makes them stand out against their competition.

EK: What do you offer that other painting contractors might not?

Devin: We focus on our level of service and the experience our customers receive. There are many painters out there, but few are easy to do business with. We want to make our customers’ experience easy and hassle free. We do that by implementing processes for everything we do. This allows us to provide a consistent experience from project to project.

Andy Barton, Director of Residential Operations, along with Matt Riley, Director of Residential Sales, and Victoria Conover, Scheduling Coordinator, elaborate on this especially important issue.

Andy: I think it’s the overall attention to each job, regardless of how large or small it is. We say that we paint lives, not houses, and we work very hard to deliver on that to each and every homeowner we have the opportunity to work with. We put great emphasis on remembering that we are working on or in the largest investment most people will ever make. It’s not just caring about the paint we put on the walls, it’s valuing the emotions and memories our clients associate with their homes. 

Matt: It’s definitely our genuine concern for our customers’ needs. I really try to take the time to listen to customers, not just be an order taker, and present solutions that fit within their desired outcomes and budget.

Victoria: I interact with all of our Job Site Supervisors on a daily basis. These are some great, reliable guys that take so much pride in their work – many of them have been with us for years. There is a consistency of character that not all businesses can claim.

EK: What are some of the biggest benefits of choosing CertaPro?

Devin: The certainty of a job well done. At CertaPro, we have processes in place to ensure things go smoothly, and if for any reason we hit a road bump, we have management in place to address any concerns.

Carl Lemmon, CertaPro’s Residential Service Manager, and Kimble Manuel and Jacob Thurber, two of the residential sales associates, add:

Carl: Quality and service. Our painters and carpenters take extreme pride and ownership in their work. Our office team will always be there to answer your questions and guide you to the best decision possible. You will never be guessing on prices, what’s going on with your project, or when it will be done.

Kimble: As a reliable, trustworthy contractor, we know it is nerve-racking inviting people into your home, but you can trust CertaPro from beginning to end to get the job done right. We have been locally owned for 18 years and make sure that your project goes according to plan.

Jacob: We are the most referred company in Knoxville, and that speaks a lot to what we are providing our customers! Because we deliver exceptional experiences, people want to tell their family, friends, and coworkers. With multiple levels of management on each project, we fulfill our promises, and I think that means a lot to the Knoxville community.

EK: What do you like best about working at CertaPro?

Carl: I have an awesome team to support me in my role and really like helping people transform one of the most personal things in their life to something they have always wanted or dreamed of. It is a great feeling to be a part of that transformation and to bring happiness to someone through painting.

Matt: I love working with people. I get to meet 3-4 new families each day, learning about their lifestyles, work and what makes them go. Being able to help them accomplish a project, care-free, in their busy lives, just keeps me motivated daily.

Andy: This job is great because of the people. I have the opportunity to meet and get to know several hundred people each year. It is incredibly rewarding when we deliver on the promises made to every homeowner and to experience, with them, the joy of having a freshly painted and beautiful house. Our guys are great too, not just as painters, but as people. Most of them have been with us for several years, so we have been able to really get to know them and even their families. We believe in fostering a family atmosphere, and I love being a part of that.

Harry Puckett, Residential Service Manager, and Jim Mazrimas, Residential Sales Associate, also answered.

Harry: There is an obvious “family” environment here. Everyone that works at CertaPro understands that teamwork is essential to getting projects completed. There is a real sense of pride in doing their jobs well that I appreciate.

Jim: CertaPro presents an opportunity for me to help a homeowner protect and beautify the largest single investment that they will likely own. Whether a small condo or a large home, we are there to help them customize their living spaces to their desires. We do not think of ourselves as salesmen as much as we think of ourselves as consultants and problem solvers.

EK: What personal business philosophy do you stand by?

Kimble: It’s simple – I always try to put myself in the other person’s shoes. This really helps bridge any gaps with understanding.

Jim: The philosophy I bring to every estimate is to serve as a consultant to listen to your needs, then offer the best available options to bring those needs to fruition. I want a homeowner to be comfortable with me as a person first and confident that I will be able to provide them with the best options or solutions available.

Jacob: Don’t make excuses; make improvements to the process.

Devin: And always treat people the way you want to be treated. At the end of the day, we want to ensure that we are listening to our customers’ needs and ultimately meeting or exceeding expectations.
EK: We know that you all have been the recipient of quite a few awards. Tell our readers about CertaPro’s business and individuals’ achievements?

Andy: The greatest honor is to be named the winner of the CertaCup. This annual award recognizes the top performing franchise in a system of more than 400 privately owned small businesses. We have won the award four times and have been a finalist for half of the years we have been in business. We have had more nominations and wins than any other CertaPro company in the system. We also have a team full of high achievers who have won numerous regional and national individual awards as well. 

EK: Anything else you would like Everything Knoxville to know about CertaPro?
Devin: In addition to residential and commercial interior and exterior painting, we provide all levels of drywall, carpentry, and remodel work as we strive to become your “one-stop shop.” We would especially like to thank our loyal customers. We have enjoyed working with and for you all these years and are excited to continue these relationships while fostering new ones!

CertaPro Painters of East Tennessee

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Decorating Den Interiors

Designs You Can Trust

Decorating Den Interiors – Kozar Design Team

Selecting the right interior designer is perhaps the only thing more challenging than decorating your new home or redecorating your existing home. “A great interior designer possesses extraordinary listening skills,” replied Sandy Kozar, owner of Decorating Den Interiors, when asked what she felt was the single most important characteristic of a successful interior designer. Sandy went on to say that a skilled interior designer is also a capable facilitator. “Your designer will ask a multitude of questions about you, your family and lifestyle, how you envision your home being used now and in the future, your personal preferences and individual tastes. And you should always be made to feel that you are a welcomed and integral part of the design team. Your completed design should be a reflection of who you are.”

Sandy, an award-winning and professionally trained designer, and her multi-talented design group have been featured on HGTV as a Pro Network Designer, Best of Houzz three years in a row for customer service, and Dream Room Winner. Well-known and respected throughout the Knoxville area for her creative planning and design of both residential and commercial spaces, Sandy’s designs are featured in the popular “The Kitchen Bible” book by Barbara Ballinger, “Love Your Home,” a newly published book by Carol Donayre-Bugg, and is a frequent contributor to Everything Knoxville Magazine and East Tennessee’s Mountain Views. Readers may also be familiar with Sandy’s work from her multiple Knoxville Parade of Homes entries and local designer Home & Garden tours. Sandy and her team at Decorating Den Interiors have won multiple awards for their designs in an International Dream Room competition. In this month’s issue of Everything Knoxville, we are excited to share our recent interview with Sandy.

EK: Sandy, what would you say sets you and your design team apart from your peers?

Sandy: As degreed professional designers, our team possesses the education and experience required to design beautiful and functional spaces for our clients. We typically do not sell design hours, focusing instead on the quality of the products and services each client desires to realize the greatest impact for their budget. This unique approach allows us to spend the time necessary to design complete and beautiful living spaces and not be focused on the clock. We can offer our clients a curated collection of fine furnishings, upholstery, custom window treatments, accessories, art, and more, with access nationally and internationally. We provide good, better, best, and even luxury lines for our clients with classic styling, alongside the latest trends for today’s lifestyles. Clients also appreciate that we offer a complimentary consultation, including virtual consultations.

EK: What is included in your complimentary consultation?

Sandy: We tour your home and conduct a detailed question and answer session to understand what the client is looking for and considerations to include in the recommended design of their home. It helps us to understand their personality, needs, likes, and dislikes to create a tailored, unique design. We also help establish the client’s budget to determine the project scope, after which we schedule the design appointment and start making the “magic” happen for the client.

EK: How long does it take for the “magic,” as you have described it, to happen?

Sandy: If you truly want a beautiful room, it takes time, but it’s always worth the wait! After your initial consultation, we create a comprehensive design to include three-dimensional space plans, renderings, and elevations, as well as finish and fabric samples, fully customized for each project within two weeks. Once the design is finalized, we place and track all orders, updating our client on the status, inspecting as it arrives, then scheduling our team to be on-site to bring everything together in one visit, just like you see on HGTV. We find that revealing the transformation this way really makes a statement!

EK: Share with our readers what you enjoy most about interior design.

Sandy: We genuinely enjoy the opportunity to exercise our creative skills, but our real passion is to involve our clients in this collaborative and transformative process. It’s difficult to describe just how much this energizes us. The experience of creating something tangible from our clients’ dreams, wishes, personal tastes, preferences, and lifestyles is more rewarding than you can imagine. But even more rewarding are the personal friendships that have resulted from our close working relationships with our clients. We have been exceptionally blessed with so many new friends.

EK: Sandy, what is the best way for a prospective client to reach out to you?

Sandy: I suggest they first visit our website to view our portfolio and read “How We Work” at From there, give us a call and we will discuss your project and schedule your complimentary in-home or virtual consultation.

EK: Thank you for this opportunity to help our readers discover the Decorating Den Interiors – Kozar Design Team Difference.

Decorating Den Interiors
Kozar Design Team

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Willow Mae Clothing Boutique

Willow Mae: A Boutique for Everyone!

Knoxville’s Boutique for Women of All Ages & Sizes

By Shae Seeber, Owner of Willow Mae Clothing Boutique

Willow Mae Clothing Boutique is truly designed for women of all ages and sizes. Even in the midst of a pandemic, we loved having the opportunity to bring fresh and exclusive design trends to Knoxville.

As East Tennessee women, we all love outfits that are versatile enough to wear to work and yet comfy enough to go play in. At Willow Mae, we encourage all women to love their “unique self” by finding their own individual fashion style and expressing it!

This past season has been a difficult one! Covid has stolen our special moments and often left us feeling “less than” about ourselves. Not being able to enjoy our friends and our family along with missing out on important occasions has been so hard. And let’s be honest, some of us have gained some weight in the recent months, leading us to decide to give up on fashion altogether. At Willow Mae, our number one goal is to make fashion fun again by having clothing sizes available for every body shape so we can all feel comfortable and confident. Our team wants to celebrate beautiful women with all of our unique shapes, lengths, and sizes.

By having fashion buyers in a wide range of ages, Willow Mae is able to offer clothing and jewelry in a variety of styles to represent women of all generations. And with pricing that doesn’t break the bank, you can keep up with trends or make your own! There are no fashion “rules” here – Willow Mae is all about embracing trend, but only if they mesh with your personal style. If you like to push color and patterns, do it. If you want to stay in the neutrals, then do that. If you love life, say it with your look. We think that style is who you are, and you should embrace it! 

We want our fashion to be a part of the memory making in your life – whether it’s a graduation, wedding shower, church event, family photo, birthday party, or even a date with your special someone. While these events last only hours, your photos last forever, and Willow Mae wants you to look and feel your very best in your special moments. If you are tired of going from store to store feeling that your shape is “odd,” our fashion team is here to bring a safe and stylish new shopping experience just for you! We invite you to come in and let us help shore up your confidence by giving you the fashion freedom to love and express yourself with what you wear.

So whether you are searching for the perfect outfit for yourself or the perfect gift for someone else, Willow Mae Clothing Boutique has so many affordable options – from unique jewelry to trend-setting t-shirts to jeans that actually fit. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Beautiful and Curvy!
Willow Mae Clothing Boutique includes the curvy line from 1X-3X trending fashion styles. Our beautiful friends were demanding clothing that wasn’t simply utilitarian but reflected their personality, their moods, and the latest in fashion trends. You don’t have to change to be the norm, but be the best you!

The Fitness Gal
Willow Mae has teamed up with Knox Yoga Barre Studio to bring you the latest in fitness fashion. Check out our trendy and comfortable fitness lines that will make your health goals come to life! If you must work out, at least feel amazing and confident while achieving your goals. These affordable fitness fashions will be a winner!

Teens & Trends
Willow Mae makes sure we carry the latest in the youth fashion market. Considering style is so important to our area youth! The trends have changed drastically in the day-to-day lives of teenagers. Not only does fashion reflect the things they find are important, but also how they carry and conduct themselves.

Affordable Fashion!
Fast fashion – clothing designs that move quickly from the runway to stores – is exactly what it is! Willow Mae wants to make sure you can have the best trending styles at the very best prices. With sizes and fashion for all ages, these amazing styles are all priced so well!

The Professional Woman
Knoxville is made up some of the most talented business women, and Willow Mae wants to make sure they are dressed to take on the world! Finding clothes – especially in a variety of sizes – that are comfortable and fierce is often a challenge. We offer fashion that is stylish enough for you to own your role and cute enough to make you feel confident!

The Best Jeans EVER!
Willow Mae is so excited about incredible new jeans from brands like Kancan and Lola! T-shirts are sometimes a girl’s best friend, and we carry t-shirts that will fit every woman’s style – from southern, faith, and just plain trendy! Tees start at just $12.99 and go up to $39.99 for graphic tees. Speak your mind with your tee!

Willow Mae Clothing Boutique
10420 Kingston Pike, Suite D
Knoxville, TN 37922

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Nouveau Classics

Nouveau Classics

Contemporary Furniture & Interior Design

Paula Clancy, designer and founder of Nouveau Classics and Design, began her business shortly after graduating from the University of Tennessee. Nouveau Classics, located downtown at 101 S Gay Street, has definitely filled a void in the Knoxville area by offering clean, contemporary furniture and creative design services.

Everything Knoxville had the opportunity to talk to Paula about the start of her business and how she hopes to continue to broaden Knoxville’s concept of interior design well into the future.

EK: What made you decide to open your own business, and how were you able to accomplish this at such an early age?

Paula: I have loved modern furniture and interior design since I was a little girl. In 1989, there was no place in town to buy the type of furniture I liked. There was a huge opportunity to fill a niche in the market while pursuing a field I was passionate about. Bartending my way through college and continuing well into the third year of being open enabled me to self-fund my business. In retrospect, I had no idea what lay in front of me! Here was a young girl with no experience, putting herself into competition with big established furniture stores, selling product not geared to the masses.

Contemporary furniture was definitely not as popular then! However, I was totally fearless, a bit flamboyant, and determined to make the business work. I have always pushed the boundaries by offering uncommon products and was not (and am not) afraid to be different. Luckily, people found me, and I began to develop a strong client base, many of whom still shop with me today. My business has grown and evolved a lot since those early days. I like to say it grew up with me. Friends and sales reps have mentored, encouraged, and supported me and GRATEFULLY, loyal clients have helped me continue in the business I love.

EK: How does your store continue to stand out from the other area businesses that also sell furniture?

Paula: Nouveau Classics sells Modern and Contemporary furniture, while most stores in Knoxville and Nashville focus on Traditional or Transitional furniture. Most of my lines are from Europe and are exclusive in the Southeast region to Nouveau Classics. I carry several lines that are otherwise only available in cities like NYC or LA. It is exciting to have these sources to offer my clients. Not only is the quality of my product outstanding, but so are the designs of the furniture pieces themselves.

EK: What is your overriding business philosophy?

Paula: It is of the utmost importance that each and every client feels they had a great experience after working with me. My goal is to always give more than expected and my client be beyond thrilled with the outcome. To succeed with this philosophy, I learn about my client, listen and ask questions in order to understand how they live, and then I am able take them to how they WANT to live. Each space, like each client, is unique. High design and quality are also key. After changing the atmosphere in someone’s home or business, in many cases, the end result can be like a personal reinvention. That is heady stuff and very fulfilling.

EK: Tell us more about the services you offer.

Paula: 30+ years of experience working in the contemporary furniture field is significant. This means I have developed a relationship with many credible vendors and have extensive product knowledge of the pieces I offer to my clients. Going to trade shows every year, visiting manufacturing facilities, building relationships with the companies, buying and placing furniture in real life situations helps you understand quality, scale, and what works and what doesn’t. In addition to understanding the contemporary furniture world, I am an Interior Designer and work with contractors, electricians, plumbers, custom cabinet craftsmen, etc. In many situations, I am the creative lead – coming up with the renovation plan – and then the liaison between the subcontractors to oversee the project.

EK: What are some unique or new offerings you’d like to share?

Paula: I am forever evolving and constantly looking for new lines to add to my library of sources. Outdoor furniture has always been part of the lineup, but recently I have expanded in that area of my business by adding Gloster, Harbour Outdoor, and Unopiu to my sources. In addition, the Harlequin Zero Gravity mattress from Literie Laurier, a Canadian Line, is now available at Nouveau Classics. (It’s amazing, by the way!) Quality is extremely important, so prior to offering a new line to clients, I must see the product in person and be educated on the details. Home and business staging is another service offered. I can work with what clients already own or pull together a creative and cost-effective plan to help the client in selling or renting property.

EK: What do you consider to be your personal successes?

Paula: Although I have been a designer for the Symphony Show House several times and sat on several boards in Knoxville, I am most proud of the relationships I have built with my clients. There is no bigger compliment than getting a call or referral from a happy and satisfied client. In fact, I have been in business for so long now that I am even getting calls from the 2nd generation, past clients’ grown children who remember me working with their parents or designing their own playrooms and bedrooms. When the 3rd generation starts calling, it may be time to stop… ha ha.

EK: How can interested customers learn more about Nouveau Classics Contemporary Furniture & Design?

Paula: They can call me! They can visit my store and design studio to actually see/touch/feel the products and learn more about what is offered on-site. I am an unusual case, as many Interior Designers do not have showrooms. Clients can experience the products in person. I am all about having a conversation with clients. It’s so important to learn all you can about each other – and this goes both ways, as it has to be a good fit for both parties when working together. With so many years of experience, there are a ton of projects and people I have worked with throughout the years. I am happy to share information about my projects.

The showroom does not keep set business hours in the Knoxville or Nashville locations, as I need the flexibility be with clients on the jobsite. Please call 865-525-4755 or 615-383-3164 to make an appointment. Visit my website at to learn more about the product lines.

Nouveau Classics

Contemporary Furniture & Interior Design

101 S Gay Street

Knoxville, TN 37902


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Buff City Soap

Beautiful Plant-based Products That Make Your Skin Happy

In September of this year, Knoxville got its own Soap Makery – Buff City Soap. Known for it’s fresh, handcrafted soaps made daily in-store by local Makers, Buff City Soap has more than 25 unique and customizable scents across dozens of handcrafted soap products, including its famous soap bars, bath bombs, foaming hand soap, and even laundry soap.

Located in the Turkey Creek Pinnacle at 11277 Parkside Drive in Suite 516, Buff City Soap has created a higher quality alternative to commercial soap that is free from harsh chemicals, detergents, animal fats, and sulfates and full of nourishing plant-based goodies to make your skin happy! With every product being made in a bakery-like setting called a Soap Makery, customers are able to watch their products being handcrafted right in front of their eyes – giving them the opportunity to customize any product while seeing the whole making process live.

“After watching Buff City grow from the ground up and becoming faithful customers ourselves, we knew it was time to get involved with the brand,” states Brittany Vick, co-owner, “We cannot wait to help grow Buff City Soap’s presence in Tennessee, and we are confident that the Turkey Creek Pinnacle community will absolutely love our array of delightfully scented, handcrafted products.” Jessica Pace, also co-owner, echoes that sentiment by saying “Buff City Soap offers quality, handmade soap products that I believe in and stand by 100%!”

Owned and operated here in Knoxville by partners Jamie Mason, Jessica Pace, Vince Sartori, Michelle Stokes, and Brittany Vick, they plan to greatly expand their Buff City Soap locations during the next few years. A location just opened in Kingsport, Tennessee, on November 13th, and they plan to open another location in Powell, Tennessee, in early December.

Everything Knoxville was able to talk to Brittany Vick and Jessica Pace about Buff City Soap’s Knoxville presence and why they feel this unique store is so important to this area and others.

EK: Why did you decide to start this particular business in the Knoxville area?

JP: Brittany and I are both East Tennessee natives with a passion for success and a heart for our community! With more than 20 years combined professional experience in the health and wellness industries, we quickly recognized a unique opportunity with Buff City Soap. Founded in 2013, Buff City Soap is on a mission to create handmade personal care and home products free of harsh ingredients and full of plant-based nutrients.

BV: Can I get on a soapbox for a minute? Most of the “trusted brands” we’re all used to washing with are made with detergents, chemicals, and tallow, which is just another name for cow fat (umm… gross). Sulfates, artificial detergents, and parabens can cause irritation, trigger allergies, and have other unpleasant side effects. That doesn’t exactly say “refreshing shower” to us. So our aim was to find an alternative. The answer – Buff City Soap!
EK: What makes Buff City Soap different from other soap shops?

BV: Each bar of Buff City soap is handcrafted in what we call our Soap Makeries. Every soap item sold here is made here, where you can see exactly what goes into the products you put on your body. We love that we can provide our customers with an experiential shopping experience.

JP: Our mission is to create handmade products that are full of skin nourishing, plant-based ingredients – no harsh chemicals. Buff City products are fresh and made in our Soap Makery daily with ingredients you can pronounce. Get any product with any of our signature scents. Once you go Buff, you’ll never go back!

EK: What exactly is a Soap Makery?

BV: Our store allows shoppers to experience the soap making process and have input in the type of skin care products they want to use. With as much fun as it is to make soap, we couldn’t keep it all to ourselves! Our Soap Makery offers co-creation opportunities for all ages and all occasions. Any day that you pop into the Buff City Soap Makery, we’ll be right here creating or customizing a soap, body butter, laundry soap, and so much more.

JP: Just pick out your favorite scent, and we’ll show you how we make the magic happen! We might need your help drizzling the final touch on some bath bombs or tossing fragrance into a batch of laundry soap. Be sure to bring the kiddos along – we always put on a good show to entertain them while you shop!
EK: Will you tell our readers more about your signature scents and ingredients?

BV: We have a bit of a “mad lab” stocked with ingredients like gardenia petals, lemon zest, hemp seed oil, shea butter, charcoal, and tea tree oil. Even our body scrubs are squeaky clean with natural exfoliants like chopped loofah bits, crushed walnut shells, and poppy seeds.

JP: As far as our signature scents go, our Narcissist soap is one of our most beloved fragrances – it smells like Peachwood & Me Time! With notes of peaches, raspberries, and patchouli sandalwood, Narcissist scents combine to create the most wonderful aroma!

BV: What you will never see in our products are artificial detergents, surfactants, dyes, or other harsh chemicals. We have our fragrances specifically manufactured for us to ensure they are free of phthalates, parabens, and formaldehyde containing/forming ingredients. You can customize your products with the scent (or non-scent!) of your choice and the ingredients that you prefer. The possibilities are endless!
EK: Describe some of your unique products and their benefits.

JP: In addition to our natural, plant-based bars of soap, we carry a wide selection of other personal care products – from bath bombs to shower fizzies, body butters to face creams, shave soaps to beard oils. Our products let you put the best ingredients on your skin every day.

BV: We also carry scent customizable laundry soap that is free of harsh chemicals – only the good stuff! – and proudly handcrafted here in the U.S. It keeps clothes soft and smelling fresh while preventing that starchy feeling that some detergents can cause. Once you use Buff City Laundry Soap, you will never want to go back to anything else!

EK: Are you offering any special seasonal products for the holidays?

BV: Mr. and Mrs. Claus aren’t the only ones preparing for the holidays ahead. We’ve been busy dreaming up new festive scents to share with our favorite Buff City elves, too. Good, clean holiday fun awaits you this year, friends! Try our Candy Cane Forest soap with the scent combination of peppermint leaves, sugar, and eucalyptus. We added a sprinkle of glitter on top to bring you into the season with a bit of shine!

JP: Our Cinnamon Spice scented soap may inspire you to break out the cookie cutters, while our The Perfect Gift scented soap reminds us of holiday gatherings with notes of patchouli, musk, citrus, and vanilla!

BV: Feeling festive yet? Break out the tinsel and head on over to our seasonal soaps section to browse these goodies yourself! Pair them with a bath bomb or soap scrubby for a complete Buff City gift set, and you’ll check everyone off your list in no time.

JP: And, as always, feel free to order online and take advantage of our safe curbside pickup.

EK: How can interested customers learn more about your business?

BV: Your can find Buff City Soap at or stop in and visit our Turkey Creek store – just follow your nose!

Buff City Soap has recently created a new soap called “Birthday Song,” which gets its name from the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation of singing the “Happy Birthday Song” to yourself twice while washing your hands with warm water to safely clean your hands. For each bar of Birthday Song Soap that is sold, Buff City Soap is donating $1 to local and national Covid-19 relief efforts.

Buff City Soap
11277 Parkside Drive, Suite 516
Knoxville, TN 37934

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