By Joe King, [email protected]

Ron Emery holds up two balloons with personalized images as examples of new products he will be offering once the store moves to Pigeon Forge. (The Herald/ Joe King)

Ron Emery holds up two balloons with personalized images as examples of new products he will be offering once the store moves to Pigeon Forge. (The Herald/ Joe King)

Emery’s 5 & 10 has been something of a community landmark in South Knoxville for more than half a century, but now the famed location is preparing to leave South Knoxville.

Shop owner Ron Emery said the decision to move to Pigeon Forge wasn’t an easy one.

“The deal they offered me is something I can’t turn down,” Emery said. “They think Emery’s 5 & 10 would be great up there. We turned 87 this year. So with the Americana and authentic style, the developers think we will do very well in a tourist area.”

Emery said when he was approached by the Le Conte developers, he had considered keeping the South Knox location and making the Pigeon Forge store a second shop.

“I considered doing two stores,” he said. “When we started talking about space it went from 2,000 square feet to 5,500 square feet. That was just so big I needed to be there 100 percent of the time. When you look at the traffic and the volume, I need to be there full time.”

As part of the moving process, Emery’s is currently liquidating nearly all of its inventory.

“Everything is 30 percent off,” he said. “We hope to move sometime this summer. The earlier the better, but we have to liquidate this store first. Everything is going except antiques that will be used as displays.”

Once the store is liquidated, Emery said he will redo the inventory with similar items, but with more variety.

“We’ll have more volume that will allow us to experiment and do some more fun things,” he said.

Emery, who has been greatly involved with the South Knox community, said even though he is leaving he still stands behind those actions including his strong opposition to the James White Parkway extension.

“It makes no difference if you are for or against the road,” he explained. “It’s just this urban wilderness is so big you have to protect it. In five years that will be Knoxville’s identity as a major tourist attraction. We started downtown in 1927 and moved to South Knoxville in 1957. We had a store in Sevierville in late 1920s early 30s, so we are just kind of moving back to Sevier County.”

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