Groups Partner To Open Small Market On Ground Floor Of Patten Towers

Friday, September 8, 2017

Causeway, The Enterprise Center, the  YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga, and PK Management are partnering to open a small market on the ground floor of Patten Towers. The goal of the store is to provide healthy, affordable, and accessible food to the residents of Patten Towers, as well as those who live or work in the Innovation District.

The organizers have launched a

me/at/W1JfPOkT9SQ/emal/16045433" target="_blank" data-saferedirecturl="" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">crowdfunding campaign to raise $10,000 through However, money given to the campaign is not a typical donation. People who give money to the campaign will receive a gift card that can be used at the store for the amount given (up to $100) along with some branded “perks” such as stickers, reusable grocery bags, and a punch card for free coffee. The organizers are using the campaign as a way to spread the word, and build a strong group of loyal customers leading up to the store’s opening, officials said.


The store, called Bingo’s Market, will open in October. The market will sell fresh produce, grocery staples, household items, $1 coffee from Mad Priest Coffee Roasters, and grab-and-go breakfast and lunch options, all at the most affordable prices possible.


In 2015, a section of downtown Chattanooga was declared the Innovation District, with The Edney Building chosen as the anchor of the district. Right across the street from the Edney Building sits Patten Towers, an independently owned, government subsidized apartment building. In order to live in Patten Towers, residents must be 62 years old and older, or have a disability, either mental or physical, and be below a certain income level. In a survey done in 2015, many residents reported an income of less than $500 a month.


Abby Garrison, Causeway’s executive director, said, “Innovation is all about solving problems. There was an obvious opportunity in front of us to harness the emerging spirit of innovation, and use it to address a big problem facing some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

In the summer of 2015, Causeway and The Company Lab received a grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation to support their work connecting Patten Towers and the Innovation District. Through the summer and fall, employees of those organizations and The Enterprise Center started building relationships with the residents of Patten Towers. They played Bingo with the residents every other week, hosted a weekly business class, sponsored a health fair with over 50 vendors, and facilitated several focus groups to better understand the residents’ needs.

In one survey, 51 percent of the residents said that access to food was the biggest issue they were facing. For the last six years, the owners of Patten Tower and the YMCA’s Mobile Market have been addressing this issue.  However, the Mobile Market was only able to be on-site at Patten Towers once a week for a few hours.


Bill Rush, director of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga, said the YMCA has been piloting healthy corner stores in three other low income neighborhoods to provide more consistent access to healthy food. Bingo’s Market will follow a similar model, but with more extensive healthy and affordable options.


The store will be on the ground floor of Patten Towers in a room that has an external entrance facing Georgia Avenue, across from the Pickle Barrel. The building’s management company, PK Management, is allowing the group to use the space rent-free.


Joyce Walker, VP of Community Development for PK Management, said, “We are thrilled to be entering into a partnership that is addressing the needs of our residents, ensuring that they are treated as valued members of the Chattanooga community. We are committed to helping this store and our residents thrive.”


The store will be open for a six-month pilot period. In that time, the organizers are hoping to make it financially sustainable so that it can be passed off to a local entrepreneur to run as a viable business.


People can give to the crowdfunding campaign through this link. Ms. Garrison said, “We really hope that people who work in the Innovation District will see this as an opportunity to play an active and positive role in this neighborhood, whether they work at a startup in The Edney Building, or at larger companies like TVA, EPB or Unum. This is a way for us all to invest in the place that we live.”

Uber Eats Launches In Chattanooga

Uber Eats will launch on Thursday, in Chattanooga, offering food delivery at Uber speed with menus from more than 70 restaurants, including Terminal Brewhouse, Beast + Barrel Gastro Smokehouse, IL Primo, Champy’s Chicken, The Bitter Alibi, and Puckett’s.  The Uber Eats app is free to download and has been built specifically to make getting great food as easy as getting a ride. ... (click for more)

Crabtree Farms Offers Instant Pot Workshop On Saturday

Crabtree Farms is offering an afternoon on the basics of using an Instant Pot o n Saturday, March 10 ,  from 3-4:30 p.m .  Amanda Nelson-Varnell, of Dish T’Pass Catering Company, will be host the of this class.  An Instant Pot is an electric, programmable, and highly versatile kitchen device that does the work of seven kitchen gadgets.  It can be ... (click for more)

Sheriff Hammond Says $4 Million Needed To Put SROs In All Hamilton County Schools

Sheriff Jim Hammond on Thursday night told members of the County School Board that $4 million is needed to provide School Resource Officers for all of the 79 schools. He said currently there are 31 SROs in 29 schools, leaving 50 uncovered. School Board member Rhonda Thurman said she believes the community could come together to provide the necessary funding. "It's something ... (click for more)

Judge Philyaw Denies He Did Not Reappoint Magistrate Because She Was Gay

Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw told a federal jury on Thursday that the fact Elizabeth Gentzler is openly gay had no part in his decision not to reappoint her as a magistrate. "Absolutely not. I have a lot of gay friends, family and acquaintances," he said. However, a court officer at Juvenile Court sided with Ms. Gentzler. Jimmie Cannon said, "Ninety-nine percent ... (click for more)

Avoid Underage Drinking And Other Prom Drama

My high school prom took a dramatic turn when two guys got their tuxedo jackets mixed up. One of them belonged to my date, who kindly offered to keep my wallet in his pocket. That’s the jacket another young man mistakenly grabbed off the back of a chair before heading to an underage drinking party that got shut down by police well after midnight—as kids scattered in every direction.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘In God We Trust …And Protecting Our School Children

On a day that the Tennessee Legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill that would prominently display the words “In God We Trust” in every school building in the state, the Hamilton County School Board gave my boy Bad Little Johnny cause to get a magic market and scribble underneath, “but ‘Everybody Else Is Gonna’ Need A Pistol!’” Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond, who was ... (click for more)