Rodney Ramin is the co-founder of Orange Hat Brewing Company in the Hardin Valley area. Soon, the company plans to open its second location on N. Cherry Street.
“We really chose East Knoxville because we consider ourselves an ‘impact brewery’ where we like to go into communities that are underserved or don’t already have what we have to offer,” Ramin said. “[We] impact that community through brewing and through just a sense of community. A place where people can come hang out and have fun and really become a thread in the fabric of that community.”
The new brewery will be connected to another upcoming business called Baker Boy Pizza Company. Founder Jeffrey Nordgren said they looked at various areas in the city when choosing a location and decided to build on N. Cherry Street.
“I think you can walk out there, look left, look right, I mean it’s already happening, you know what I mean? The east side is rad and I think unfortunately people are just now getting stoked on it,” Nordgren said.
With new businesses coming to East Knoxville, families are looking to plant their roots in the area as well. CEO of the Knoxville Community Development Corp. Ben Bentley said affordable housing projects, like First Creek at Austin, are already filling up.
“That site, we think, kind of near East Knoxville, walkable eventually to the Old City and to a multipurpose stadium, it’s going to be a great location. We also think it’s so important that we’re serving low-income families and then moderate, sort of workforce housing type families as well, mixed-income community adding socioeconomic diversity to that neighborhood,” Bentley said.
He said outside of KCDC projects, the demand for housing is still on the rise in East Knoxville.
“That’s one of our projects but there’s a lot of other development in the residential space, particularly multifamily that’s happening in that part of town. I think it’s reflective of the need for housing all over Knoxville but also demand that’s been increasing for living in that area, particularly along Magnolia,” Bentley said.
Ramin hopes with the demand, more people will come to his new business.
“We feel that Knoxville’s really moved north, west and south and it hasn’t moved east yet. So, we feel we’re just kind of on the tip of that arrow moving east,” Ramin said.
Both Baker Boy Pizza Company and Orange Hat Brewing’s second location are set to open sometime this summer.