Knoxville's Downtown North neighborhood was full of excitement Saturday evening.
The neighborhood, located just north of the Old City along Central
Street, celebrated the addition of another new business: Raven Record and
The record and collectables stores moved from its old
location in Bearden because they said Downtown North, or Happy Holler
as locals call it, has a vibrant feel to it.
"If you drive
around the neighborhoods here, you see people out in their yards,or
walking up and down the sidewalk," said Raven Co-Owner Jack Stiles. "A
lot of them are coming down here to go to some of the businesses."
The community held a party to welcome Raven Record and Rarities to
Happy Holler at the Relix Variety Theater. Proceeds from the event went
to WUTK 90.3 "The Rock".
"It's a multimedia event that involves
a lot of businesses and a lot of really passionate people who are
coming together for a good time and really good cause," said General
Manager Benny Smith.
The addition of Raven Records and Rarities
to Happy Holler continues a positive development trend in the area. It
was only three months ago that the restaurant Central Flats and Taps
moved into the neighborhood. Daniel Schuh owns the Relix Variety
Theater. He also lives in city's Old North Knoxville Neighborhood
Schuh said a lot has changed in Happy Holler since he moved to the area 8 years ago.
"The area has had a unique character," he said. "The people just always didn't know about it."
Mayor Madeline Rogero said they are numerous reasons Happy Holler is
seeing more growth. First, she said more people are coming to live in
downtown neighborhoods, which is fueling local business.
"There's a saying that retail follows rooftops and over the years,
there's been a lot of private sector and public sector investment in the
neighborhoods surrounding here."
The mayor also credited the
city's Downtown North redevelopment plan. The strategy, which was
adopted in 2007, cut Central Street from four lanes to two. It also
added bike lanes and on-street parking to the area.
something that makes it more inviting for pedestrians to come, for
people to walk from the neighborhoods," she said. "And, it's easy to
park and to frequent the shops that are here."
Raven Record and Rarities said it is excited to build on the success Happy Holler is experiencing.
"Yeah, we're bringing the happy to Happy Holler," said Raven Co-Owner Jay Nations.
And, the whole neighborhood will soon have another reason to be excited
too. The Environmental Protection Agency just awarded the City of
Knoxville $400,000 in grant money. It is money that can only be used in
the Happy Holler neighborhood.