Glass Bazaar thinks big, keeps personal touches

Tracy Haun OwensFeature, West Knoxville

When the turkey is being remade into casseroles and Black Friday is a memory, it’s time for Small Business Saturday. Held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this year on Nov. 24, this quasi-holiday celebrates local businesses and all the ways they enrich our lives.

Atop Bearden Hill, in a plaza it shares with Kimball’s Jewelers and First Watch, Glass Bazaar is a nearly 50-year-old business that has become a “destination store.” Becky Taylor-Cooper and John Kuykendall, friends and business partners, bought the business in 2000 when it was a 1,700-square-foot glassware and cooking shop in Homberg. The two grew the store quickly through expanding gift offerings and bridal registries.

“That little store was so good to us, we were able to buy this property,” Taylor-Cooper says. The store moved in 2004 into much more space: 3,600 square feet at store level and an additional 2,000 upstairs for storage. The shop carries art glass, high-end barware, hand-painted dinnerware and a selection of gifts for everyone from babies to brides to in-laws. This time of year there’s a Christmas shop in the front of the store.

Glass Bazaar also has a sizable collection of good cookware and a demonstration kitchen where local chefs and visiting foodies hold classes on all kinds of cuisine. (Cooking classes resume after the holidays.)

As the way people shop has changed, the store has changed with them. The use of online registries is up more than 40 percent from two years ago. And as the ways people entertain change, Taylor-Cooper says, makers are creating more of what young people like.

Taylor-Cooper says one of her favorite parts of her job is seeing generations of families come into the shop. She has brides she knew as babies, and past brides who now have babies of their own.

“It’s really fun to see that,” she says. “And it’s fun being around pretty things all day.”

Co-owner Kuykendall agrees. “It’s a happy place,” he says.

Glass Bazaar is at 6470 Kingston Pike. Info here.

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