When I was looking for a place to live in Chattanooga, co-workers and acquaintances alike told me about the up-and-coming neighborhood of St. Elmo. Full of renovated old houses and hip home-grown businesses, I can see why Chattanooga's young professionals want to call this place home. With a happening downtown area at the foot of Lookout Mountain and historic homes that stretch down to the state line along St. Elmo Avenue, this close-knit area is a great way to spend an afternoon (and scout for a dream house).
3914 St. Elmo Ave.
3914 St. Elmo Ave.
Purple Daisy Café
4001 St. Elmo Ave.
Body Wisdom Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork
3915 St. Elmo Ave.
3933 St. Elmo Avenue, 488-0631
I knew I'd be remiss if I passed up the opportunity to stop into St. Elmo's favorite thrift store, Collective Clothing, after already spending hours at the Fraizer Avenue location just a few weeks ago. In the 30 minutes or so I spent looking through racks of vintage treasures, nearly 10 shoppers came to browse new items or in search of that special piece you can't find anywhere else. From old Western style embossed leather belts to the tragic iridescent prom dresses of yesteryear, I'm definitely stopping back in not only to find the perfect piece to my Halloween costume, but to also source out unique finds that can be worn every day.
3924 St. Elmo Avenue, 821-5084
Even for a mid-September afternoon, it was hot pounding the pavement in St. Elmo. I heard of Mr. T's Pizza and Ice Cream from a St. Elmo resident who told me that the shop delivers pizza and your choice pint of ice cream to your door. What more could you ask for? While seemingly nothing special, Mr. T's is really more of a neighborhood spot, boasting fresh ingredients, fresh handmade dough and a close connection to its customers. The store gladly outfitted me with a double scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream in a cake cone and I was set to return to my journey around town.
3914 St. Elmo Avenue, 821-1641
Next to Pasha Coffee (a regular lunch spot of mine when making meetings in the Southside) is a curious little flower shop named Making Arrangements. Unlike most flower shops, there's not a premade bouquet in sight. Instead, the owners of this creative studio buy in-season flowers weekly and work with the customer to create a one-of-a-kind arrangement suitable for any occasion. Business partner Gloria Mendonsa says that custom approach gives her and her business partner, Sue Wright, a special edge when helping people find the perfect arrangements for their occasion. And they aren't afraid to offer something unique and different. Mendonsa was excited about the arrival of two concrete sheep, yes sheep, to the shop. (They were pretty cute.)
3913 St. Elmo Avenue, 821-4902
It was pretty lucky of me to find Umbra Essence open this Friday afternoon. The candle workshop of Jamie Floyd Mosey only opens its doors on Fridays and occasionally on Saturday for the public to purchase homemade candles from her shop. Otherwise, you can find her candles online at her Etsy shop. "I just grew up making candles and I gave one as a gift once, and they told me I should start selling them," she says. "So I started at Chattanooga Market ... and then moved here." Mosey keeps busy in her shop weekly, shipping dozens of candles to shops around the country for sale. With scents both subtle and strong, names like Café Dulce, Grapefruit Squeeze and Nag Champa are enticing, to say the least.