published Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Chattanooga Coffee Company expands into The Block

Rachel Spring fixes a coffee drink at Chattz Coffee. Chattz is expanding by adding a location at The Block downtown on Broad Street.
Rachel Spring fixes a coffee drink at Chattz Coffee. Chattz is expanding by adding a location at The Block downtown on Broad Street.
Photo by C. B. Schmelter.

A Chattanooga coffee business is opening a second coffeeshop in downtown's not-quite-finished climbing and retail attraction on Broad Street.

Chattanooga Coffee Company will add a second Chattz coffeeshop and retail store in The Block at 215 Broad Street, less than a mile from the company's original Chattz on Market Street.

The second shop will expand the company's reach into the heart of Chattanooga's tourism district and could help boost the coffee-maker's Internet sales, co-owner Evelyn Wheeler said. Downtown development nonprofit River City Company wooed Chattanooga Coffee into taking the space.

"When they approached us, right away said we couldn't do it because we have a lot of irons in the fire," she said. "But they were very persistent and in the end we felt we should consider it. And as we put our toes in the water, one thing fell in place, and then another fell in place and it became apparent that we should pursue it."

The new store will be situated between High Point Climbing and Fitness and Rock Creek Outfitters in the $6.5 million development, which is slated to be one of the largest downtown climbing facilities in the United States. Wheeler hopes to open the shop by spring and could hire as many as 10 people, she said.

"I'm sure it wil take a while to get this up to speed," she said. "It's a district where we don't know what mornings will be like. But we know that we'll be busy during the tourist season. And Unum is close by and BlueCross [BlueShield] is close by, so we're hoping they'll stop by for coffee."

There's still 3,000 square feet of leasable retail up for grabs in The Block, said Kim White, River City Company president and CEO. The available space's storefront opens to Chestnut Street, White added.

"It's a side a lot of people haven't paid much attention to because until now it was the backside of the movie theater," she said. "But it opens to the Lookouts, the hotels, the Creative Discovery Museum. It's going to add a whole new dynamic to that area."

River City hasn't decided on a tenant yet, White said, but the space could be used as retail or as a restaurant.

"We really want to get everything else open and then see what the right fit would be," White said.

Getting The Block up and running has been a long and often-delayed process. Originally scheduled to open over the summer, construction is still ongoing at the site. Now, the exterior climbing walls should be finished by Nov. 22 and the entire complex should be open by early December, White said.

Part of the slow progress is because no one has ever attempted to build a structure like The Block before, White said. She added that Rock Creek Outfitters is already open in the space.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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