A unique place with a mind-boggling amount of intriguing gift ideas
In a little nook, tucked away on the North Shore, is a shop unlike any other. With deep roots in the Chattanooga community, Plum Nelly is a shop built on selling the wares of local, regional, and the occasional worldwide artists. Everything from blown glass to handmade candlesticks to fresh honey-made products can be found among the shelves, tables, and bookcases turned display cases.
“I like to find a balance in the things we carry,” says Plum Nelly owner Catharine Daniels. She’s owned the shop since 2008 and has enjoyed every second of building her artists’ list. “I’ve always loved retail and building the creativity of this shop. It’s a really unique place, but so many people don’t know the variety of items we have.”
A unique place with a mind-boggling amount of intriguing gift ideas like jewelry, wall art, houseware, spices, pottery, and so much more that you’ll have to see for yourself, Plum Nelly features a conglomeration of artists who produce some of the most unique wares available in town and it all started in 1947 with Fannie Mennen and an outdoor art show on her property in Lookout Mountain.
Ms. Mennen’s property had been dubbed Plum Nelly by her brother-in-law who remarked, “Your place is plum out of Tennessee and nearly out of Georgia!” giving birth to the name. The first Plum Nelly show hosted about 300 people, but over the years had become a “bona fide event, attracting as many as 20,000 Southeastern art lovers in a single October weekend.”
The last year that the Plum Nelly Clothesline Art Show was held on the back of Lookout Mountain was the year of 1972 and brought forth the opening of the first Plum Nelly Shop.
Fannie was the first owner, and now that Catharine has taken the reins, she marks the fourth in a continuous succession of women to own the shop since it was first conceived. She’s taken the staples of the shop and embellished on it all, making the store hers while also sticking true to the culture of the shop.
“I bought a store with heritage, and the challenge there is to remain true, but also evolve it,” says Catharine. “I want to put my stamp on it, but it still be the tried and true Plum Nelly.”
Plum Nelly, in my own opinion, is like a mini Chattanooga Market, set up daily in their shop on Frazier Avenue. The shop stretches out before you like a hall of mirrors, reflecting your every desire. It’s a personal place, with employees looking to help you find that perfect gift for someone, or a little something to treat yourself. And with such variety, it’s likely you’ll find the one thing (or more) that makes your heart sing.
With price ranges varying from item to item, there’s something for every budget. And in a world where you can pick any mass-produced gift, it’s nice to know you’re supporting someone who has made their life about creating a piece of art to inspire, enhance, or add happiness to your life.
“I love that when someone comes in, I can tell you about any of these artists,” says Catharine. “And like our artists, our shop is not just one thing.”
Plum Nelly has evolved over the last few decades into a shop all its own. They’re an outlet for local artists, and one of the neatest places to shop in town.
With a selection of gifts that will have your mind spinning, take some time this weekend to peruse the handmade arts of Plum Nelly’s amazing artists.
Plum Nelly Shop & Gallery
Open M-F, 10a-6p, Sat. 10a-5p
330 Frazier Ave. #104