Tap room coming to Brainerd Road near Missionary Ridge joins businesses adding new life to area

Photo by Barry Courter / Seth Fields is the new owner of Hatch Outfitters on Brainerd Road. The full service shop offers rods, reels, classes, clothing and now a beer bar.
Photo by Barry Courter / Seth Fields is the new owner of Hatch Outfitters on Brainerd Road. The full service shop offers rods, reels, classes, clothing and now a beer bar.

The row of businesses along Brainerd Road near the Missionary Ridge tunnels continues to be in flux. Gone in recent weeks is the popular Flaming Rooster restaurant at the corner of South Seminole and Brainerd, but Elea Blake Cosmetics moved into the same strip of buildings in May.

They relocated from their previous location on Chestnut Street to space owned by Eddie Gannon at 3238 Brainerd Road. In addition, fly-fishing specialists Hatch Outfitters opened across the street at 3227 Brainerd Road in 2019 and now has new ownership. Black Cat tap room will open next door in the next couple of weeks.

Both are in a building owned by Nathan Hefner, who moved his Chattanooga Gutter Company into one of the three downstairs spaces before opening Hatch. He sold it to Seth Fields in April.

"I was looking for a building and this a cool building and a cool area," Hefner said.

"I see a lot of potential and I'm hoping others will also."

Currently, Chattanooga Gutter Company, Black Cat and Hatch Outfitters occupy the three downstairs spaces and Hefner isn't sure what he will do with the larger upstairs space in the roughly 8,000-square-foot building.

"I'm just getting started up there," he said.

Elea Blake

Darin Wright first opened Elea Blake Cosmetics 24 years ago in a small space on Tremont Street. Over the years, it has been located in the Mountain Creek area and most recently on Chestnut Street near the West Village.

A destination location that also does a lot of online business, she decided to move the business, which is named after her twin daughters Elea Xylem, who works with her mother at the shop, and Blake Wright.

Wright has developed her own line of cosmetics over the years and the shop offers a personal color analysis as well as a full line of custom-created makeup. Both mother and daughter say the services they offer go well beyond selling lip gloss and eye-liner.

Wright said she started out custom-mixing 10 hues, but now has more than 3,000. She sources the ingredients from American companies from around the country.

They are part scientist, part analyst, part personal shopper and part therapists, they say. Wright said that once someone has the personal color analysis and a person's individual undertones are found, buying clothes, furniture, house paint clothes and makeup becomes easy because of the coding systems they have developed.

"It really is transformative," she said of the process.

"I had a divorced man come in and we did an analysis. He designed his whole house using it right down to the color of the dog bowl and he beasted it. Beasted it. It's great."

Xylem said the two are "color therapists, but we do so much more."

A color wheel is used during the analysis, which can take up to four hours for the full treatment, to find a person's perfect color.

Often times the test reveal that colors you thought were right for you, are not, and colors you thought you needed to avoid, worked well.

"That happens all the time," Xylem said.

Each card has a code on the back and that is used to find other colors in your spectrum and is then used for everything from furniture to clothing, which can make shopping a lot easier, they said.

Even then, not everybody likes to shop, and Xylem said she has many clients from around the world that she shops for.

"I told my mother yesterday that I wished I had a me, for me," Xylem said with a laugh.

"We know our customers. I love shopping for people.

Wright said moving into the 1,200-square-foot space "has been wonderful. We love the space and the area and Eddie [Gannon] has been great."

photo Photo by Barry Courter / Elea Xylem and her mother Darin Wright own and operate Elea Blake Cosmetics on Brainerd Road.

Hatch Outfitters

Fields moved up here from Athens, Georgia, for the outdoor activities two years ago. Prior to coming here, he was a freelance writer and employee for several outdoor magazines that focused on fly fishing. He frequented Hatch and when Hefner mentioned he was looking to sell, he bit at the chance.

Since buying the place, he has added a beer bar and plans to have guest speakers such as guides and authors and other well-known people in the fishing world speak on occasion.

In addition to rods, reels, clothing and other fishing related merchandise, Fields hand-spools reels for customers based on what they will be fishing for. He said the hobby has moved past just being for "older men in lots of tweed" traveling out west to fish for trout.

Customers today are often younger and excited to fish for whatever is biting near them.

"Trips are still the quintessential experience, but now people are fly fishing for tarpon, small mouth bass, whatever is in their local waters. I've been fishing for gar on the Tennessee River lately."

Fly fishing, which involves fishing with an artificial lure, often tied by the fishermen himself, a rod and heavy, oiled or treated line. It's generally considered to be a little trickier than some other forms of fishing.

"I like to tell people there are easier ways to catch fish than fly fishing," Fields said. "It's a little more technical, but I don't like to put it on a pedestal and scare people. But I have found that when it grabs hold of most people, it takes off and pretty soon you find yourself owning a fly shop in Chattanooga, Tennessee."

Fields said many fly shops become communal places to gather and talk fishing, which is why he added the beer bar and plans to have a rotating display of art pieces featuring works by local and nationals artists.

He also offers classes at night focusing on things like casting and fly tying.

"The two guys that were just in here drove up from Atlanta. I'd say most customers stay at least 30 minutes.

Black Cat

Elise Armstrong has worked in the service industry at nearly all levels for about 12 years, first in Dallas and then in New Orleans for six years before moving to Chattanooga in 2017. One of the things she loved about New Orleans were the many community bars that people could walk to and meet their neighbors.

"They were places where I made a lot of friends. They are spaces that cultivate community."

She believes the area where she will open Black Cat next month needs such a place.

She plans to be open Thursday through Sunday serving 30 craft beers, including many sourced locally, as well as some domestic choices. The space will be "small and cozy," able to seat about 45 people when allowed to fully open.

Her three-year plan is to build out a kitchen and apply for a liquor license.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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