Shop 'til you drop: A guide to the best local shops in the SEC

Shop 'til you drop: A guide to the best local shops in the SEC

September 9th, 2019 by Kate Brennan in Sports

Nothing Too Fancy. Photo by Kate Brennan.

Praise be, football fans. The 2019 season is finally upon us. As you dust off your favorite fan gear, work on your sickest burns to spew at your rivals, and begin to pack your coolers, remember that today's SEC towns offer much more than just access to the best live college football games in the country. With great restaurants, an endless array of watering holes, live entertainment and more, they also provide travelers with a prime place to spend a well-rounded weekend away from home.

The most important of these offerings, besides the football, of course, is obviously shopping. While it's just the tip of the iceberg, below is a roundup of some of the best local shops in Athens, Auburn, Knoxville and Tuscaloosa.



The exterior of Union Avenue Books. Photo by Kate Brennan.

The exterior of Union Avenue Books. Photo by...

Bliss & Tori Mason Shoes. Photo by Kate Brennan.

Bliss & Tori Mason Shoes. Photo by Kate...



— Nothing Too Fancy 

435 Union Ave

(865) 951-2916

A favorite of locals and visitors alike, Nothing Too Fancy is a laid-back retail space offering a little something for everyone. Located near Knoxville's popular Market Square, Nothing Too Fancy works with local artists to offer a wide variety of fun, one-of-a-kind screen-printed items, repurposed furniture, jewelry and more.


— Union Avenue Books

517 Union Ave.

(865) 951-2180

Down the street from Nothing Too Fancy is Union Avenue Books, an independent neighborhood bookstore with a well-curated selection of new and used books for all ages as well as decorative arts and unique gifts. A book lover's dream come true, Union Avenue Books provides shoppers with a welcome reprieve that only an old-school bookstore can give.


— Bliss & Tori Mason Shoes

445 S. Gay St.

(865) 329-8868

Also downtown is Bliss & Tori Mason Shoes, a Knoxville mainstay since 2003 offering an alternative to the standard retail experience. Known for it's chic collection of clothing, handmade jewelry and distinct gifts, Bliss & Tori Mason Shoes is regularly recognized for being one of Knoxville's best boutiques and has been featured on Design Sponge, the DIY Network and HGTV.



— Therapy Boutique

150 E Magnolia Ave

(334) 821-3025

Located in the heart of Auburn, Therapy Boutique is packed to the brim with trendy women's clothing, accessories and unique gifts, all at price points that won't break the bank. If the women in your life need a little retail therapy to weather the storm that is football season, this is a must-visit.


— J&M Bookstore

115 S College St

(334) 887-7007

Just around the block from Therapy is J&M Bookstore, an Auburn family tradition since 1953. Locally owned by Auburn alumni and nestled next to the historic Toomer's Drugs on Toomer's Corner, J&M has an extensive inventory of art supplies, souvenirs and Auburn apparel for the entire family. 


— The Local Market

115 S College St

(334) 887-7007

A place to create, shop and gather, The Local Market is an art gallery, farmer's market and retail shop all rolled into one. Featuring work from more than 80 Alabama-based artisans, The Local Market specializes in custom gift boxes to give visitors a true taste of the area packed with items ranging from paintings to block prints to Auburn honey to Alabama blue grits.



— Onward Reserve

146 E Clayton St

(706) 543-0106

With a combination of laid-back southern hospitality and a world-class retail atmosphere, Onward Reserve is located in historic downtown Athens and offers today's man a welcome place to hangout, drink a beer, and peruse its selection of classic men's clothing, watches, shoes and accessories. Now boasting 11 locations across the southeast, Onward Reserve is a one-stop-shop for the well-dressed Southern man. 


— Native American Gallery 

195 E Clayton St

(706) 543-8425

Also located on E. Clayton street is the Native American Gallery, a locally-owned boutique that has been offering hand-crafted Native American jewelry, pottery, books, music and more since 1993. With a friendly staff and almost ethereal atmosphere, this is the perfect spot to take a breather from the hectic game day crowds and find something unique to remember your trip by.


— Agora Vintage 

233 E Broad St

(706) 255-2623

Specializing in authentic, second-hand designer goods, Agora Vintage features an impressive selection sure to impress even the most discerning of designer snobs. With an extensive ongoing collection of Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermes at a fraction of the original price, Agora also offers a six-month layaway plan because, let's be real, even a discounted Chanel bag is still an investment.



— The Shirt Shop 

525 Greensboro Ave.

(205) 752-6931

Specializing in Alabama game day apparel, The Shirt Shop is a full-line men's and women's clothing store in the heart of Tuscaloosa. Don't let the name fool you though - this is game day gear for those with finer tastes with 'Bama "A's" adorning the likes of Peter Millard, Cutter and Buck and Vineyard Vines.


— Effie's Inc.

404 Queen City Ave.

(205) 345-1814

Nestled in the historic district of downtown Tuscaloosa is Effie's Inc, a contemporary women's clothing boutique carrying the latest trends for a variety of lifestyles and ages. Known for their friendly and dedicated staff, Effie's is the perfect place to find a unique and stylish outfit for any occasion.


— Lou & Co.

555 20th Ave.

(205) 535-7576

Need to pick up a gift for someone special? Look no further than Tuscaloosa gem Lou & Co. Started by a University of Alabama alumni, Lou & Co. is a bright, welcoming store offering locally-made gifts and elegant home decor items that run the gamut from homemade jams to baby clothes to sorority gifts to kitchen ware.