By Cari Gervin
Community News Writer
Although Blue Skies has only been on Frazier Avenue half of its six-year existence, it already seems like a longtime community staple.
If you’re in North Chattanooga, where else do you turn to find a witty birthday card, a charming gift and the perfect pair of earrings to match that dress you bought last week, all in the same place?
As a matter of full disclosure, I should say that I regularly shop at Blue Skies because they are the only place in Chattanooga (that I have found, anyway) that carries my favorite Spanish lip balm.
But I am not alone. Blue Skies is always packed. On a Saturday afternoon before Christmas, say, it resembles a scene in a Hamilton Place, except the staff is more polite.
Owner Tina Harrison said that is what sets her gift shop apart from all the rest — superior customer service.
We try to have a lot of people on the floor at all times, Ms. Harrison explained. With 12 employees, eight of whom are part-time, that isn’t much of a problem.
Half of Blue Skies’ inventory is jewelry, which ranges from the inexpensive ($15) to the pricey ($150). Ms. Harrison said she buys pieces that are beautiful, fun or simply because she likes them.
The rest of Blue Skies is filled with quirky home decor, cute baby gifts, creative accessories, clever gifts and cards that definitely do not resemble the run of the mill selection.
Ms. Harrison said she delights in buying sustainable and recycled products. She said a perennial best seller is picture frames made out of scraps of wood from old boats.
Asian decor — sushi dishes, decorative chopsticks, umbrellas and lanterns — are also a customer favorite.
Ms. Harrison said she opened the shop, originally located on the Southside, after years of managing museum retail shops. Faced with a narrow theme of types of items to buy, she would always yearn to have a more diverse inventory.
Now, Ms. Harrison said, she has it.
E-mail Cari Gervin at email@example.com
Blue Skies, 30 Frazier Avenue, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.