Nestled in the foothills of the scenic Smoky Mountains with a quaint yet vibrant downtown, it’s no wonder Maryville, Tenn., is recognized for its quality of life.
Situated in a prime locale, this East Tennessee city is just 30 miles from picturesque Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, providing hiking trails, stunning waterfalls, over 1,500 kinds of flora and diverse wildlife. Yet it still has the convenience of a regional airport less than five miles away and access to major interstates
The beauty of the area and convenience draws a wide range of businesses with an abundance of job opportunities. Headquartered in Maryville are companies like national restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday, women’s apparel chain Altar’d State, DENSO – a manufacturing company with 3500 employees, Clayton Homes and Newell Rubbermaid, just to name some.
Now is an exciting time for Downtown Maryville. At the end of 2016, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced Maryville’s achievement of a Main Street accreditation. The designation has opened the city up to grant opportunities that will aid in the downtown’s revitalization and economic development efforts—an initiative begun in 2007.
As the area grows and the development efforts gain traction, businesses are attracted to historic Downtown Maryville, with its charming character and bustling activity. The streets of downtown have a wealth of fantastic dining and shopping choices, providing residents and visitors alike with diverse options.
For those desiring fresh, made-from-scratch recipes and a fine dining experience, Sullivan’s Fine Food on West Broadway Avenue has delectable steaks and southern favorites like farm-raised, hand breaded catfish, shrimp and stone-ground grits and fried green tomatoes. Dinner can be polished off with light and creamy peanut butter pie or French vanilla bean banana pudding.
Winning the Blount Partnership New Business of the Year, Roost is a clever home furnishings store with interior design services on Broadway Avenue. The store is owned by Paula Osborn, a Maryville native since the age of three. It’s unique with a flair for timeless and causal style. Osborn finds many benefits in the Downtown Maryville location.
“I love being in the heart of my hometown and working in the upper level of my building and hearing the noises of our little city,” said Osborn. “By locating my business downtown, I have gotten to know so many wonderful people in our community. I have also had the opportunity to be a part of some committees that are working to promote and grow our downtown. I’m excited for the future of Maryville.”
One street over on East Church Avenue, the staff of Dandy Lions brings the best combination of gifts to the area. Their friendly, welcoming service, and unique, sought-after gifts and stationery provide an instant smile.
Downtown Maryville is often buzzing with activity and entertainment. Friday Night Lights, held the last Friday of every month from April through October, has something for everyone with family-friendly activities, music, food trucks and games. Local businesses often host mini-events within their businesses on the evenings of Friday Night Lights, attracting patrons.
Music enthusiasts will find many options. Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria, located on Broadway Avenue, offers bands most nights of the week, delicious pizza and a comprehensive craft beer selection.
For those seeking the best blues music in the region, Brackins Blues Club, also on Broadway, has live music every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. While kicking back to music at Brackins, customers can enjoy a menu of delicious pub-style food, craft beer and fine bourbon.
Brackins General Manager Christina O’Rourke finds there is something special in being a downtown business.
“We are in one of the oldest buildings in Downtown Maryville, and the history is pretty cool,” said O’Rourke. “We enjoy being at the center of it all and watching the downtown grow. We try to contribute to that growth, and it’s a pretty great feeling.”
The Main Street accreditation is in its infancy, but change will soon come. For downtown businesses, it’s a valuable title.
“Just having the recognition of being a Main Street can only do great things for all of us here in Downtown Maryville,” said O’Rourke. “Foot traffic has been picking up. We’re looking forward to the future.”
Blount Partnership Director of Tourism Kim Mitchell has been an integral part of the accreditation progress and was chosen as the program’s director.
“The accreditation was made possible by the wonderful downtown businesses and community events,” Mitchell said. “We’re excited to see the downtown become a thriving community, and to be part of Main Streets across the country. This is an honor and will aid in the revitalization and economic development efforts.”
The Main Street designation is an honor for the city, which will continue its efforts to attract business and tourism to the area, making it a vibrant place for residents to call home.