IRR announces business merger

Integra Realty Resources  in Jackson/Gulfport and Integra Realty Resources in Memphis have announced a merger that will expand IRR’s services in the Mid-South region. IRR offices in Jackson, Gulfport and Memphis — covering Mississippi, western Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas, provide commercial real estate consultation services.

“We’re expanding our resources and our ability to serve clients more productively and opening up new markets within specialty valuation practices,” said James “Jim” Turner, MAI, director of appraisal production for the combined offices.

IRR – Memphis’ focus in multi-family residential and industrial valuations and litigation joins IRR – Jackson/Gulfport’s expertise in multi-tenant office and retail, right-of- way, going concern business and large retail and hospitality valuation. The team now includes seven MAI-designated appraisal professionals and eight additional appraisal analysts on staff.

John R. Praytor, MAI, serves as senior managing director in Jackson. J. Walter Allen, MAI, is senior managing director in Memphis. Recent promotions include Michelle Alexander, MAI and a HUD approved MAP appraiser, to managing

director of multi-family residential valuations; Jonathan Stone, MAI, to director of industrial valuations; Eugene K. “Kenny” Owen Jr., Certified General Appraiser, to director of going concern business, hospitality, convenience store and self storage valuations. Jennifer C. Rigby, MAI, will serve as director of quality control and appraisal review, and Leslie R. North, MAI, will serve as managing director in Gulfport and support quality control for the south Mississippi market.

Bliss businesses moving to Gay St

Knoxville, Tn. — Bliss and Tori Mason Shoes have announced the businesses will move from 24 and 29 Market Square to a new location on Gay Street. Bliss opened at its current location in 2003, making it one of the oldest retail businesses currently operating on Market Square.

Tori Mason Shoes opened just under a year ago due to an expanding shoe department within Bliss. Scott Schimmel and Lisa Sorensen’s Bliss Home brand currently has locations in west Knoxville, Nashville and a location in Louisville, KY scheduled to open July 2017.

The new location will be in the Miller’s Building at 445 Gay Street and will combine both Bliss and Tori Mason Shoes. The move will increase the total square footage of retail to 6,500 square feet from the existing 4,600 square feet.

“While we will miss Market Square, we are looking forward to this new opportunity. Gay Street has continued to change over the years and we are excited to be part of the continuing growth of retail there,” says Scott Sc​himmel.

​Bliss and Tori Mason Shoes will continue to be open in their current Market Square locations until the new location is complete. Anticipated occupancy is Fall 2017.

Tori Mason Shoes hosts exhibit

Knoxville, TN. — Tori Mason Shoes is pleased to present artist Gwyn Pevonka and her “babes and blooms” series for April’s First Friday. Tori Mason Shoes, located at 29 Market Square in downtown Knoxville, will host an opening reception on Friday, April 7, 2017 from 6pm to 9pm. Complimentary treats from Wild Love Bakehouse will be provided and Gwyn’s art will be featured for the month of April.

About the artist:

Experimenting with paint as an object, she is interested in the Heroic Gesture of a woman as she creates large-scale paintings that are just as much about line and color as they are about texture. Applying hundreds of layers of color, these completely abstract pieces are vibrant with movement. Through gouging and carving, the paint is physically removed from the surface. Digging deeper in some areas, while more shallow in others, psychedelic colors are revealed, evoking emotion and excited contemplation. Her Artist Statement simply reads, “I have emptied myself, and made myself nothing, chasing the sweet satisfaction of an identity I created through a single gouge.”

Gwyn Pevonka is originally from Indiana. She graduated with a BFA in Painting from Appalachian State University in 2011. Moving to Columbia quickly after graduating, she began renting a studio space at Tapp’s Art Center in downtown and became apart of the vibrant art scene. She has moved on from Columbia after being there for 5 years to Knoxville, TN and is excited to see where she’ll make her mark.

Bliss to open shoe store

Tori Mason Shoes, the latest in the Bliss family of retail stores, will open this summer in Market Square, downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.

“We are very excited about our newest concept. Bliss has carried shoes for several years, but embarking on this new adventure will give us the space to focus on offering a thoughtfully curated collection of shoes”, owner Lisa Sorensen notes.


Tori Mason Shoes in downtown Market Square will carry brands not readily available to the Knoxville client base: Bed Stu, Freebird, Jack Rogers, Miz Mooz and Dolce Vita. Photo submitted.

“Reinventing the 29 Market Square location gives us the space to offer more, all while providing fun experiences for customers like a selfie area”, owner Scott Schimmel adds.

Bliss History

In 2003, Bliss opened its doors in the Market Square location. In 2005 and 2008, two separate Bliss Home stores were opened, one downtown Knoxville and one in The Gallery in West Knoxville on Kingston Pike. In 2014, Bliss Home opened their first furniture store in Nashville, TN. All three Bliss Home stores offer casual contemporary furnishings, rugs and inspiring art and accessories.

Sales tax holiday coming early

The state of Tennessee’s annual sales tax holiday is held every year, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on the last Friday in July and ending at 11:59 p.m. the following Sunday night. During this weekend, certain goods may be purchased tax free. This year’s tax-free holiday weekend begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 29 and ends Sunday, July 31 at 11:59 p.m.

Recent legislation has changed the date of Tennessee’s annual sales tax holiday. Tennessee’s sales tax holiday will now be one weekend earlier than it has been in the past. Starting in 2016, and continuing annually, the sales tax holiday will be held during the last Friday in July through the following Sunday. Previously, the sales tax holiday weekend was the first full weekend of August. The dates for this year’s sales tax holiday are July 29 through July 31, 2016. The new law did not change any other aspects of the sales tax holiday.

Purchases made from Tennessee retailers qualify. This includes retailers that sell through the Internet or a catalog, if those items are to be delivered into Tennessee.

What is tax free?

Clothing: $100 or Less
School Supplies: $100 or Less
Computers: $1,500 or Less

For more information, and a list of exempt items, visit

Art Market seeks new artists

KNOXVILLE – The Art Market Gallery is currently accepting applications for a Monday, March 21, 2016 membership jury. Acceptance for membership is determined by a jury of six active gallery members and is based on the quality of the applicant’s work; the applicant’s ability to be involved in a cooperative effort; as well as, the needs of the gallery.

Currently the gallery is accepting applications from artists in 2D & 3D media.Currently the gallery is accepting applications from artists in 2D & 3D media. Prospective members may deliver four pieces of their work and completed application form with $30 jury fee to the gallery at 422 South Gay Street in downtown Knoxville.

The Art Market Gallery, an artists’ cooperative, has provided a venue for a range of traditional to contemporary art and fine crafts for thirty years. Currently the gallery represents over 60 regional artists. Works include paintings in watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastel, mixed media; drawings; photographs; woodcuts, intaglio monoprints and other print techniques; collage; weaving, felting, silk painting and other fabric techniques; ceramics; woodworking; jewelry; sculpture; and works in glass. Potential applicants are encouraged to visit the gallery to get a sense of the fine quality of the work and the cooperative work environment.

Delivery may be made 11:00 am – 5:30 pm Tuesday, March 15 through Saturday, March 19 or 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm on Sunday, March 20. Instructions and an application form are available at Prospective members are encouraged to read the application form carefully.

If you have questions or need additional information contact, Diana Dee Sarkar at 865-603-4465 or

New specialty shop opens

North Knoxville residents are invited to attend the Grand Opening of First Lady Specialty Shop for Women on Thursday, February 11, 2016. The event will begin with a ribbon cutting at 4 pm and continue with an open house until 5:30 pm.

Angela C. Farmer, owner of the new boutique, says the updated facility is located in the Cancer Center of North Knoxville Medical Center and has a dual role of servicing mastectomy and cancer patients as well as a ladies specialty boutique.


North Knoxville Medical Center offers comprehensive cancer diagnostics, treatment, and support services; state-of-the-art imaging services; and women’s diagnostic services and educational programs.

“We’ll be featuring several new product lines including a clothing line from Lior Paris and a natural skincare line by Amino Genesis,” Farmer said.

Light hors d’ oeuvres will be served at the grand opening. The North Knoxville Medical Center is located at 7557 Dannaher Way in Powell.

For more information, call 865-859-7010.

Open Streets Knoxville kicks off

Open Streets Knoxville, a new festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, will take place on Sunday, October 25, 2015, from 1 pm to 4pm on Central Street between Willow St and Oklahoma Avenue.

This one mile of Central Street, between the Old City and Happy Holler, will be filled with people of all ages and abilities. Guests can walk, scoot, skip, ride bicycles, hula hoop, play croquet, and try out activities like yoga and zumba and pickle ball – all in a setting that is traffic-free.

Every booth will be interactive and the only thing that will cost money is food (provided by local food trucks and restaurants along the route).

The goals are to have fun, get some exercise, bring people together, and showcase the local businesses and neighborhoods.

Kat offers free Cumberland fares

Beginning June 1, 2015, Knox Area Transit (KAT) will be an even better way to get through the construction in the Cumberland Avenue area, because it will be free.

Anyone catching a bus along Cumberland–from Gay Street to West Volunteer–can board fare-free starting June 1. All stops in the zone will be designated with a the bright round sign shown here, indicating a fare-free boarding location.

The fare-free promotion is intended to attract more people to transit, and thus relieve congestion through Cumberland, as well as provide easy access to businesses along the corridor during the City’s ongoing construction and redesign project.

“The Free Fare Zone will help people get to and from Cumberland Avenue during the construction, it will help the merchants there and it will help reduce traffic,” said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. “It’s also a reminder that public transit is a great resource for our city.”

KAT will also be having some special promotions and events during the first week of the Free Fare Zone project.

The Cumberland Free Fare Zone will be in effect during the length of the construction project.


US Cellular hosts Knoxville job fair

Interested in a career in technology? U.S. Cellular will host a retail store hiring event Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 in an effort to fill 11 job openings in Knoxville.

The hiring event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at U.S. Cellular retail stores at 8401 Kingston Pike. Full- and part-time retail wireless consultant and store leadership positions are available, and applicants are encouraged, but not required, to apply online in advance.

“We are proud to be a part of our local communities, and we look forward to hiring new associates who want to work in an enjoyable environment and share our same commitment to serving customers in Knoxville,” said Jack Brundige, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Tennessee. “We need qualified, motivated and passionate associates to help us deliver the world’s best customer experience to everyone who walks through our doors.”

U.S. Cellular looks for dynamic and enthusiastic professionals with relevant experience, active listening skills, ability to connect with customers, excellent communication skills and team-oriented skills. These positions offer a competitive starting wage and benefits, along with incentives or commission.

For information on participating retail locations, please visit