It is located in Farragut. It is huge. It is filled with many different types of stores — and customers. And although it runs parallel, it is not the Turkey Creek Shopping Center.
It is the Turkey Creek Public Market.
The market, which opened five weeks ago, has become a little community offering “fresh, local produce and gourmet foods as well as antiques and unusual finds,” according to the website.
“It has a little bit of everything,” customer Angela Graham said. “I can spend hours just wandering around.”
Indeed, the Public Market attracts a different type of customer than its corporate counterpart. The busy, but not hurried, atmosphere draws in those who crave a more personal buyer-seller interaction, those who want to talk with the people who sell them the products.
This idea works both ways. Many sellers set up shop in the market for reasons other than monetary gain, preferring relationships to purely business contact.
“This is why I opened the booth in the first place,” Planet Xchange owner Beth Boline said. “I wanted to reconnect with the customers.”
The personalization of the market is evident upon first glance: customers mingling with vendors, people actually making the goods they are about to sell, the easygoing, yet eclectic atmosphere.
And “eclectic” is the word to describe the market, which houses specialty shops for just about everything one might need: antiques, quilts, DVDs and video games, even a shop devoted to epic collectables (Frodo figurines for just $5). A traditional outdoor farmer’s market that sells fresh fruits, vegetables and beef jerky accompanies the indoor market.
“I think they went for mostly local shops,” Boline said. “Those that are hip, cool, different, yet have good quality.
“It’s the only place you can find a hunting knife, a cupcake and a belt all in the same place.”
While profits are not the main focus of the market, having a booth there helps local businesses become more accessible. This is especially important for downtown and Old City shops that tend to be further away.
“I get to expose my cupcakes to another market,” Magpies Cupcakes owner Peggy Hambright said. “For some, it’s a much more convenient location.”
Hambright is not the only one to bring local food to the market. Many Knoxville mainstays like Denton’s and Cities Cupcakes find a second home there.
Another aspect of the traditional farmer’s market is pricing. While the prices at booths like Planet Xchange and Magpies are the same as their home stores, negotiations and bargaining are more common than in corporate franchises.
Prices for other goods at the market vary; while complete Egyptian Cotton sheet sets can be found for a mere $20 (at Target they are about $50), fresh ground chuck is almost $5 per pound (usually averages around $3). As with all stores, there are steals and bargains to be had at the market, but only if one knows where to look.
Overall, the market provides an interesting alternative to the hurried atmosphere of Turkey Creek. It increases the buyer to seller relationship while offering good deals.
On the other hand, not everything can be found at the market at reasonable prices.
The Turkey Creek Public Market is open Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The official grand opening is on Saturday, Sept. 24.