Local businesses are prime examples of everyday treasures; they hold a kind of magic that’s all their own. Why is it that whenever we are on the road we seek them out and eagerly patronize them? Perhaps it is their down-to-earth and tried-and-true nature, made by everyday folks just like us. By virtue of their quality and humility we gravitate towards their products and give them our trust.
Our love for these gems is certainly praiseworthy. Not only do local businesses add spice and flavor to our hometowns, they are also economically significant. How significant you may ask? Consider that for every $100 spent at a small business, $68 is generated for the local economy. They are also significantly more likely to be charitable and involved in the communities of which they are a part.
Whether close to home or along on the road, these types of businesses and brands deserve our support. Here at IGES, we are proud to showcase several companies and brands that Tennessee is lucky enough to call its own!
A walk down memory lane is something we can all appreciate, especially in today’s fast-paced world. 3 Oak Publishing found a way to preserve that nostalgia by creating a one-of-a-kind greeting card and gift – little publications called “Back in the Day Almanacs.” These small 24-page booklets contain a litany of memorabilia that includes music, facts, movies, notable moments and even original advertisements from a particular year, perfect to commemorate those landmark life events. Established in 2008, 3 Oak Publishing calls Hendersonville home. “Our company is different – different in a good way,” their website says, “That is the way we like it.”
With the motto “All of the good stuff, none of the bad stuff,” this company is sure to get your attention. Based in Elizabethton, The Naked Bee is dedicated to making products that benefit people and the planet using safe and responsibly sourced ingredients in all their products. Some of the “bad stuff” they leave out? Parabens, dyes, propylene glycol and lauryl. Their natural and USA-made lineup includes lotions, lip balm, sunscreen, and bath products made with “good stuff” like honey and aloe in simple scents like lavender, honey, vanilla and jasmine.
If you are a pop culture nostalgia junkie, Mid-South Products are for you! With over 30 colorful themes ranging from celebrities to movies to favorite cities and states, this Memphis born and bred brand has curios and souvenirs for every taste. Since 1975, Mid-South has peddled their wares to retailers and customers throughout the state of Tennessee.
I don’t know about you, but by far one of my favorite travel souvenirs is the edible kind. Nestled near the Smoky Mountain foothills in the tiny town of Oliver Springs, you don’t get a more authentic Tennessee culinary experience than handmade fudge from Country Fresh Food & Confections. It took numerous recipes filled with trial and error, but husband-wife duo Pamela and Ed Stockton finally developed their own unique fudge easily sold to locals and tourists alike. Old-time values and integrity are what this brand prides itself on.
For those on the hunt of quality, unique mementos to commemorate favorite hikes or historical landmarks look no further than this family company from – you guessed it – Bristol! L.W. Bristol Classics produces high quality hiking medallions, keychains, magnets and pins of all sorts; they even do customized pieces and bulk orders. Their stock product lines include themes like U.S. presidents, states and, of course, the Great Smoky Mountains. But perhaps one of the coolest offerings are the replicas of the U.S. Geological Survey medallions marking notable locations throughout the country. These not only look like the real thing, but they can be personalized for use as hiking medallions, paper weights, pins, even zipper pulls and dog tags!
With a name like Daisy & Duke’s, you’d assume this brand is packed full of Southern Charm – and you’d be right! This small Chattanoogan business specializes in consumables produced in small, handmade batches. For the culinarily inclined, they capture all the classic Southern flavors via dry goods, salsas, dressings, pickles and BBQ sauce. But my personal favorites are their soaps and hand-poured candles; with scents called “Hound Dog”, “Tennessee Sunshine”, and “Garden Party” I’m pretty sure I’ll be ordering a few!
If you’re joining us for this year’s shows, it’s not too early to plan your trip. Fall is an amazing time to visit so maybe one of these attractions or something local in Pigeon Forge itself will make you want to stay a few extra days. Register for IGES today!