Updated at 1:22 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7, 2018.
Like many real estate agents, Eric Landrum gives housewarming gifts to clients who have purchased a home. Thinking it would be nice to show the new homeowners a bit of what the talented folks in the Scenic City have to offer, his wife, Danielle Landrum, spent hours collecting local products, such as Barley Bones dog treats from Nooga Paws and Rustic House candles from the Chattanooga Market.
When he showed her finished gift basket to co-workers, they told him she could sell the baskets if she wanted to.
Landrum ended up selling $1,000 worth of gift baskets in two weeks just by posting photos on Facebook, she said.
She continued to compile and sell baskets to supplement her regular job, but was doing so well, she decided to quit her day job and open a storefront.
In May, Landrum opened Locals Only in a 450-square-foot space in Miller Plaza. The brick-and-mortar store proved to be as popular as it had been online.
"I was proving the concept in that space," Landrum said.
She did so well in that location that she decided to move to her current 1,800-square-foot space across from the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
Landrum said most items in the shop are made within 40 minutes or less from Chattanooga, and 90 percent is made in the metro area.
The most popular products include Hoff hot sauce and art featuring scenes from Chattanooga, though Landrum's favorite items are dishes painted with initials by local artist Karen Guethlein, and goodies from The Hot Chocolatier.
In the new space she said she gets a lot more tourists, who tend to go for apparel and food products, while at the old location about half of her business came from gift baskets, mainly for local businesses and corporations. She also puts together welcome bags for wedding guests, and said she sells a lot of gift baskets at Christmastime, with many orders made by out-of-towners for locals and vice-versa.
"I think it's a great place to find unique gifts," Landrum said of the shop. "When you spend your dollars locally, that money goes straight into the local economy. And people are making really quality items locally, which makes your dollar go a long way."
Helping local makers sell their wares isn't the only way Locals Only supports the community. The store also sells T-shirts designed by local artists and printed by Red Bank screenprinter Inkelope, donating 10 percent of the proceeds to the Public Education Foundation.
Locals Only Chattanooga is at 1421 Market St. and can be reached at 423-551-4438 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find the online store at localsonlychattanooga.com.