Scoring treasures on Main St.

(Writer’s note: This is the first in a series of features highlighting Americana as reflected through our county’s small businesses.)

Quaint shops can still be found in Claiborne County, thanks to the many small business owners who refuse to board up their storefronts and call it a day. Sherry Pressnell, owner/operator of La Tee Da, has gone the extra mile by acquiring not one but two previously unoccupied stores on Main Street in New Tazewell, and turning them into a business that screams “novelty shop.”

With the holiday season closing in, the store should see a brisk bit of business by those who want something ‘a little different’ to gift their loved ones.

Pressnell, who spends a portion of her day working at the Dogwood Heights Daycare Center, says she wanted to open the store to allow an outlet for her creativity and “addiction” to flea marketing.

The shop, she says, has also given her a way to lend a smile and a comforting word to those who seem in need of the gestures.

“I meet a lot of people in this business. If I can just say one thing to help someone along their way, I will. I had a girl come in, who was from Morristown. I felt led to give her an encouraging word and we ended up talking for a couple of hours. She seemed to feel much better by the time she left,” said Pressnell.

The store radio, she said, is always tuned to a Christian station.

“I’ve had so many comments from people who say it’s nice not to have to listen to rock or country music while they’re shopping in here,” said Pressnell.

The curiosity shop offers a wide selection of items, from antiques to new or gently used pieces, at reasonable prices. Pressnell, who is a crafter, also sells her original pieces that include all manner of items like wind chimes, coasters, decorative lamps and Ball Mason jars.

Future plans include the renting of booth space for other entrepreneurs. Currently, local novelist Nikki Cinniamon is running a used book store in a corner of the shop.

And, Skatpunk Arts owner/operator Jennifer Kivett rents a booth that sells her unique lines of jewelry, paintings and mixed media art pieces.

Pressnell says expansion of her business, through the purchase of a third unoccupied building, is also in the works.

The city of New Tazewell is moving forward with its plans to revitalize downtown Main Street. To that end, Pressnell and her fellow small business owners along the street have banded together to bring public interest back to town.

The latest effort was the recent showing of the movie ‘Hocus Pocus,’ which generated about 200 viewers, who kept the food and other vendors busy during the evening’s enjoyment.

Pressnell says she would like to see the movie night become a monthly event.

La Tee Da store hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call Pressnell at 865-315-6658.