Customers sample olive oils and balsamic vinegars at Tree and Vine on Union Avenue
Several new businesses have moved into downtown Knoxville this summer, and others - already with local connections - are adding new locations to the area.
Terri Karlsson and her husband launched a soft opening of their olive oil and balsamic vinegar store, "Tree and Vine," on Thursday afternoon. By Friday, she said bottles of the product were selling fast from the Union Avenue store.
The couple started their business with a store in Asheville. One year later, they decided to open a second store in Knoxville.
"We looked at many other locations, and it just felt so right here," Karlsson said.
As the downtown area continues to be revitalized, Karlsson saw big potential in Knoxville.
"It's obvious that it hasn't hit its peak yet," she said about her new neighborhood. "And we wanted to be on trend before it hits its peak, and be part of all that excitement and become part of the neighborhood."
Other business owners seem to agree with her mindset.
Tupelo Honey, another Asheville-based company, plans to open on Market Square in September. Specializing in southern cuisine, the restaurant is also known for its go-local and organic flavor.
A new business on Main Street is known for its frozen treats. "Pop Culture" now sell gourmet Paleterias - commonly called "popsicles." The store opened last week.
Other long-time Knoxville businesses continue to expand into downtown. The Foundry, a catering and events business located in World's Fair Park, recently acquired a second location.
Owner Marianne Greene and her two daughters are renovating part of the Southern Depot Rail Station. With an autumn-opening planned, Greene says she's already booked a few weddings.
"We're very fortunate, it was the last historical building in downtown Knoxville, with 200 free parking spots. Can't get any better than that!" she said about the new location.
Karlsson agrees, listing her reasons for picking the area for Tree and Vine:
"The downtown is compact, there's a lot of energy here, people are friendly, people are really vested in downtown, they want it to work," Karlsson said.