Looking for the Old Town Emporium?
By Kristen Swing
People stopping by the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center on Boone Street may soon be stepping foot into the Old Town Emporium.
“We wanted to name our gift shop something that reflected Victorian, handmade, Appalachian — kind of everything pulled together,” said Amber Crumley, Visitors Center manager. “It’s just something to give the gift shop a little bit of identity.”
The town’s Visitors Center Committee initially planned to run a social media contest to name the gift shop located inside the facility, but a recommendation by gift shop manager Robin Goodman to name it the Old Town Emporium halted any such contest.
Committee members liked the name so much, Crumley said, that a memo already has been sent to Town Administrator Bob Browning requesting the name be approved by members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at their next meeting.
According to Crumley, the shop’s new name would be phased in over time through the use of social media, local publicity and stickers.
The Visitors Center will maintain its separate identity.
“We would be saying something like, ‘Visit the Old Town Emporium at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center,’” Crumley explained.
The gift shop sells approximately 800-900 items, including everything from books penned by local authors and clothing featuring Jonesborough’s name to consignment items such as photos and artwork done by area artists.
While the books seem to be the most popular items year-round, a unique looking hummingbird feeder is the top seller during the spring and summer, Crumley noted.
“As soon as we get them in, they’re off the shelf. I don’t know why they are so popular. I think it’s kind of an impulse buy,” Crumley said of the feeders, which are handmade in Sevier County. “They are so colorful. They’re hard not to notice. They have a lot of copper tubing and they’re just a great piece.”
The hummingbird feeders have been so popular that they inspired staff to come up with something new to sell at the gift shop — spring garden flags.
“We have a really great garden section at the gift shop,” Crumley said. “We thought a garden flag would be something fun, something new.”
Local artist Ginny Wall gave the town the rights to one of her watercolor paintings to feature on the two-sided garden flags, which sell for $20.99 each.
“We made 50 of them to start. We’re putting it out to see if people are interested in it,” Crumley said. “We’re are excited about it. The flag looks awesome.”