Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll find Knoxville, Tennessee. Knox County is home to more than 7,000 small businesses. Here are a few examples of some of the great locally-owned merchants you can visit in Knoxville when doing your holiday shopping—or throughout the year.

Union Avenue Books

On the web:

In their own words: Since we opened our doors in 2011, we’ve been dedicated to helping you find just the right books for you and everyone else on your shopping list. Our booksellers are ready to suggest something from our well-curated selection of books for all ages. We believe an independent bookstore is essential to the vibrancy of our community.


Knoxville Chocolate Company


On the Web:

In their own words: What does a 23-year-old do with a BA in History and no real life plan? He opens a chocolate store! In 1995, I had worked for a chocolate company in Florida off and on for approximately six years, so I was ready to take on the world. My father, Jim, and I opened a 1,000 square foot store called Bradley’s Chocolate in Knoxville. Yes I know, real original. We featured delicious, handmade chocolates that very few people seemed to want. After struggling for a for years, we moved to a new location were I doubled the size of the store and more importantly, met my future Bride, Joy, who not only changed my life but also Bradley’s in a major way.

Joy worked for a large gift store that happened to be next door to our new location. I always tell people she only paid for something one time and wooed her with lots of free chocolate. She started adding her special touch to Bradley’s, adding much needed changes and finding great gift items that people really loved. Joy added so many things that at the end of 2012 we moved across the street and once again doubled the size of our store. To add to the excitement we also purchased a local candy manufacture, now called the Knoxville Chocolate Company, which has allowed us to expand our candy line and enter into wholesaling our delicious confections.


Earth to Old City


On the Web:

In their own words: Locally-owned and operated for over 20 years in downtown Knoxville, we specialize in unique gifts and carry many local vendors, as well as vendors from across the United States and around the world!


Fountain City Pedaler


On the Web:

In their own words: In 2008, Fountain City resident Luke Grieve noticed that there was a need in the area for a good full-service bicycle store that focuses on good customer service. It’s obvious when entering the shop that Luke knows his way around a bicycle. He goes the extra mile to make sure customers are properly informed and educated on bicycles and accessory options. Buying a bike is personal and it needs to fit the rider and their intended use. Helping the customer with their bike before, during, and after the purchase is our specialty.


River Sports Outfitters


On the Web:

In their own words: River Sports Outfitters is an independent outdoor specialty retailer in Knoxville, Tennessee. Ed McAlister officially opened the shop over 30 years ago and has been providing local and online customers with the best in road / trail biking, road / trail running, camping / backpacking, rock climbing, and paddle sports gear since then. By focusing on core brands such as Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, Arc’Teryx, Marmot, Kuhl, Osprey, Chaco, Keen and Asolo, River Sports has carved a niche as the destination of choice for outdoor enthusiasts.


Rik’s Music & Sound


On the web:

In the words of a fan: Rik’s is an independently owned guitar and musical instrument store that has been family operated for 21 years. The store is staffed with people who are friendly and knowledgeable and who make my son feel like an aspiring musician. Best in Knoxville!


Do you have suggestions for more independently-owned shops in Knoxville that are great for holiday shopping? Or, would you like to create a list like this for your hometown? (Be sure to check the list at the top of the page to see what other cities we’ve featured.) If so, contact us at [email protected] with your ideas. We’ll give you a shout-out link if we use your suggestion.

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