published Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Southside gains 2 more shops

by Brittany Cofer
  • photo
    Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press Stylist Amanda Bowman cuts Crystal Horner's hair at The Hair Lounge on Market Street.

New business owners in Chattanooga's Southside say they can feel the "electricity" as more shops invigorate the transforming neighborhood.

"We get to be part of making Main Street Main Street again," said Angie Pilkington, co-owner of The Hair Lounge, a salon that opened last week on the corner of Main and Market streets.

Now painted a bright white, the 3,500-square-foot building that once was a Western Union with just one window, is a salon that gives customers the impression of being in an old-time powder room. Its owners, Pilkington and Jennifer Miller, say they chose the location because they could feel the excitement in the neighborhood amid its revitalization.

"Being on the corner, it's kind of a hinge," Miller said, adding that she and Pilkington have been able to breathe life into a space that has sat empty for years. "There's a lot of movement here, and it's such a community."

That's a characteristic Southside resident Ken Hays said is attracting many businesses to the area.

Aside from its close proximity to the waterfront and downtown, the Southside's tenants come together to help out those who move in, he said.

"It's becoming a neighborhood where the three main things of live, work and play all happen," said Hays, who moved to the area three years ago. "Every year we've seen a real growth of people and businesses moving in."

Further down East Main, another addition to the neighborhood recently opened.

Antiques shop

Mainly Antiques, an antique furniture and art shop specializing in pieces from Eastern Europe, made a debut a month ago. The 1,200-square-foot space is set up more like a gallery than an antique shop, allowing customers to "focus on the style and usability of each piece," said owner Stephen Harper.

Having operated two other antique shops for about 14 years, with a hiatus for the last several, Harper said it was time to "get re-engaged with what's happening on Main Street."

A couple months ago, he bought the stretch of shops on the corner of East Main Street and Central Avenue, with hopes to make the area "a center for home furnishings," he said.

Right now, the development has several tenants -- including his antique shop and Griffin's Hot Dogs -- and he said he hopes to soon fill the roughly half-dozen other spaces.

Hays said the addition of the new shops, as well as others that have moved into the Southside within the past year, are a testament to the area's strength even in a tough economic time.

"You're starting to see some now that aren't retail, but into technology and related stuff that are moving in," he said. "It only gets better and better, and because of the economy, the business growth hasn't been as steady, but I bet you there are not many places in Chattanooga where there has actually been growth versus shrinking."

about Brittany Cofer...

Brittany Cofer is a business reporter who has been with the Chattanooga Times Free Press since January 2010. She previously worked as a general assignment Metro reporter. In the Business department, she covers banking, retail, tourism, consumer issues and green issues. Brittany is from Conyers, Ga., and spent two years at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., before transferring to the University of Georgia. She graduated from the university’s Grady College of Journalism in December ...

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NoMyth said...

The neighborhood needs a Trader Joe's to succeed and to compete with North Chattanooga. If you build it, they will come.

November 23, 2010 at 12:17 a.m.
AdamHK said...

While the addition of Trader Joe's would be great to any neighborhood of Chattanooga it is simply not coming any time soon.

The Southside area has a great stable of shops and restaurants that are easily accessed by the ample parking and the walkability of Main, Market and the side streets.

There is no competition with the North Shore. It's a different area with different stores and restaurants. I'd choose Alleia, Shadowbox and Bluegrass Grille over any of the Northshore's tenants any day. It's all personal preference.

November 23, 2010 at 9:26 a.m.
NoMyth said...

Adam, I agree with your first two points, but the third point is inaccurate and shows a personal bias. Any objective observer can see that the North Shore is thriving while Main Street is struggling to survive. Main Street does not draw a critical mass. As a result, it is perceived as an unsafe area. Brining a small grocery store, like Trader Joe's that could offer shopping for the neighborhood plus those commuting to town from Lookout and elsewhere, would bring a larger critical mass and the feeling of safety in numbers. A nice grocery store is needed for Main Street to thrive.

November 23, 2010 at 9:49 p.m.
thamystikalone said...

Why would you want to work at The Hair Lounge? The Owner is psychologically not fit to own any sort of business, and most of her employees walked out of the former job at the same time, leaving their "friends" and former employees to clean up their mess! How could you trust them to not walk out on you when a great clips opens up down the road?

November 28, 2010 at 5:02 p.m.
neutralparty said...

@NoMyth- I totally agree about the Trader Joes. That would do a great service to this growing community.

@thamystikalone- In my opinion, this comment thread is no place for personal attacks, but I guess that some people get confidence hiding behind a computer screen and a creative username.

If most of The Hair Lounge's employees walked out of their former job at the same time I would have to assume they worked at the same place. Here's a clue for the future- if numerous employees quit at or around the same time they were obviously not being treated well by the employer. This should be and may have been a wake-up call to their former employer in hopes that they start treating their current and future employees better.

I'm sure that their "friends" can understand their move. In my experience in commission based employment, employers are not too good about respecting a two-week notice. The employer would have fired them when the notice was turned in...without any severance most likely. What else were they to do? I don't think hair stylists have "employees" as you say, so, I am to assume that you meant co-workers. What mess did these people have to clean up? Did the employer have to break out the broom and sweep some hair? Sounds like they needed to be humbled anyways in my opinion.

How can you trust any employee at a commission based job? One way would be for the employer to be absolutely sure that the employees are happy and treated with respect. I'm sure that the owner of the previous salon did not get their license and immediately open up a shop. I would think that he/she started at another salon, and then quit or got fired. Maybe they left a mess for their "friends" there too. What goes around comes around.

December 1, 2010 at 5:01 p.m.
thamystikalone said...

You obviously are oblivious to what I mean by "clean up", as in, take care of their clients that had appointments with them. Say, you make an appointment for two months, with the same stylist you have been going to for years, only to get a call to hear that they can't cut your hair because they walked out one day. The people that walked out left that mess for the other people at Hair A Go Go. Get it now? The walk outs have the mind set that working for a new salon on that side of town will kick up their clientele, but that is not the case. It has nothing to do with their former employer. There is a few good salons on the North Shore, but drive past their lots and see which ones are full of cars. We shall see who will prevail in the years to come.

P.S.- Trader Joes wouldn't stand a chance. Same as Earth Fare.

December 3, 2010 at 9:08 p.m.
yayalady said...

The Hair Lounge is such an amazing atmosphere and fantastic addition to the up and coming Southside of Chattanooga. The owners are simply fantastic and have created the most down to earth, at home feel for an upscale salon I have ever been to. The ladies that work there are hard working, amazing stylists that anyone--man or woman, would be lucky to have do their hair. Whatever the circumstances that led to them leaving their former place of work, is no one's business but their own. I believe they have a fierce loyalty to their jobs and their clients. As someone who has had the same stylist for over a year, I know how important it is that I stay with someone who respects what I like and is willing to share with me their opinions on how to make me feel beautiful and boost my confidence. Everyone should feel lucky to have a stylist that can do this in the short time frame of an appointment. This is such a warm and inviting place to go--which is what this article was intended for to begin with. Degradation and personal accusations should be left out. No one is forcing anyone to visit this salon, BUT YOU SHOULD! Its so wonderful! To the women and men who work at Hair Lounge: you are the best stylists in Chattanooga and I cannot wait to see how you flourish and grow in an environment designed for that. Congratulations on your new achievements and don't let people who do not have the decency to respect your business, jobs and lives shake the wonderful things you are doing! See you for my next appointment! :)

December 7, 2010 at 1:22 p.m.
Calmitdown said...

Character issues Muffin??? Looks like someone is a little hypocritical. You obviously have not read your comment, talking trash about someone does not say much about your character.... shame shame!

December 7, 2010 at 2:19 p.m.
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