Cooking boutique Mia Cucina returns to Northshore from Gunbarrel

Cooking boutique Mia Cucina returns to Northshore from Gunbarrel

September 17th, 2011 by Ellis Smith in Business Around the Region

Josh Merriman of Adman Electric works on the new location of Mia Cuchina in the Terrace at Frazier on the Northshore.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

The Terrace Timeline

• 2004 - Project proposed

• 2005 - Plans approved

• 2006 - Construction begins

• 2008 - Construction complete as recession begins, Regions Bank leases first space

• 2009 - Recession slows sales

• 2010 - 11,000 feet of commercial and retail space still unsold out of 30,000, just 2 of 16 residential condos sold

• 2011 - Commercial and retail space 90 percent sold, though residential occupancy still at 30 percent

Source: Hudson Cos.

Who's in The Terrace?

• Mia Cucina

• Regions Bank

• Massage Envy

• Crest Financial Strategies

• Hudson Companies, Inc.

• Market Street Solutions

• Benjamin F. Edwards

Source: Hudson Cos.

In a move calculated to bring an upscale boutique cooking retailer closer to its core customer base, Mia Cucina will move to The Terrace at Frazier on Chattanooga's Northshore, with plans to open in October.

Mia Cucina sells premium cooking equipment and offers other boutique services such as cooking classes.

"Anybody who enjoys being in the kitchen can probably find something in the store to make their life easier," said owner Marcy Kelch.

The 3,900-square-foot cooking retailer, along with new neighbor Massage Envy Spa, will boost office and retail occupancy at The Terrace to 90 percent - no mean feat considering the lull that had fallen over the Terrace and other Northshore developments as recently as a year ago.

"I am trying to put my finger on what happened," said developer Jimmy Hudson, who built the building. "I think it's just the economics of things, and there's a little bit more confidence in what's going on in Chattanooga."

Although most of the residential units in the Terrace remain empty, Hudson has filled up most of the retail and office space so far in 2011 after years of relative drought.

"Once you get your first sale, it seems to break the ice," Hudson said.

Massage Envy Spa will add another 3,500 square feet of occupied space to Hudson's building, including 13 therapy rooms, and will open on Sept. 23 - about a week before Mia Cucina.

The combination will generate additional foot and vehicle traffic on Frazier Avenue, a boon to all businesses on the street, Hudson said.

"She's going to be a great, attractive draw for us and all the other retailers," Hudson said of Kelch, who bought the cooking retailer in 2008.

Prior to Kelch's purchase, previous owner Heidi Swartz had moved away from Frazier Ave. area to Gunbarrel Road in 2005, so Kelch is essentially returning the store to its Northshore roots, she said.

"We were looking for more of a downtown, eclectic area surrounded by local businesses and people that were passionate, and we found that a lot of our customer base come from downtown," she said.

Mia Cucina will bring seven employees to the Northshore, while the massage shop will hire 25 therapists to start, officials said.