Downtown Knoxville grocer gives local businesses a leg up

Downtown Knoxville grocer gives local businesses a leg up

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The business also has a cafe side of things, where it's often standing room only. The business also has a cafe side of things, where it's often standing room only.
Visitors can find lunchtime offerings with local ingredients. Visitors can find lunchtime offerings with local ingredients.
"We started out with a cart at the farmer's market doing prepared foods," said Tolley. "We started out with a cart at the farmer's market doing prepared foods," said Tolley.
The store is stocked with Tennessee favorites like Cruze Farm Ice Cream and Nashville frozen Alfresco Pastas. The store is stocked with Tennessee favorites like Cruze Farm Ice Cream and Nashville frozen Alfresco Pastas.

By KRISTIN FARLEY 
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Whether you need to do a little grocery shopping or just grab a quick bite, one downtown Knoxville has endless local choices all under one roof. 

Just Ripe is nestled along Union Avenue, not far from Market Square.

Co-owner Charlotte Tolley stocks the store with Tennessee favorites like Cruze Farm Ice Cream and Nashville frozen Alfresco Pastas.

Just Ripe is also chock full of local items and locally-grown produce, like apples from Cosby and herbs from Lenoir City. Each item is also clearly marked with a local, regional, or independent sign to helping shoppers know exactly where their food is coming from.

"We started out with a cart at the farmer's market doing prepared foods," said Tolley. "Then we grew into this space and then added a lot of the grocery side of it."

It's the grocery side that's really doing a lot to help other small businesses.

Just Ripe gives them a sales platform that doesn't require them to make huge quantities of their product. 

Tolley said this really helps a lot of new business test the market and get off their feet.

The business also has a cafe side of things, where it's often standing room only. 

They have unique selections that follow their mantra of "real food, locally rooted", including favorites like burritos, biscuits and sandwiches.

Tolley said she enjoys helping people put together gifts filled with local foods.

"I get really excited about showing them around and picking out those things."

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