I finally went into J's Mega Mart on Gay Street today and scoped it out. In the interest of not being mistaken for a shoplifter, I only looked around for a few minutes and took a few covert pictures. At first it seemed like some kind of run-down convenience store, with groceries, cigarettes, and candy bars. But then I turned the corner glimpsed what J's is all about... wigs. [see above] And not just a few wigs. A LOT of wigs.
Add to the mix pimpin' zebra hats, full-body panty hose, an ENTIRE AISLE of hair gel products... I knew I wasn't in Kansas anymore.
Located in the beautiful Kress building at one of the best commercial locations in downtown, J's Mega Mart is an anomaly, to say the least. A leftover from the shabby era when the Bijou was a porno theater, J's doesn't really fit in withe the new gentrified downtown Knoxville. And I think that's OK. The odd mixture of people and places is what makes a city a city. It's good to have a heterogeneous culture around us. I, for one, may never need a wig, but it's good to know that J's has my back in that department.
This isn't a treatise for a "Keep Knoxville Weird" campaign. I think that the existence of a place like J's Mega Mart proves that Knoxville, among it's other traits, has no problem keeping itself weird. That's part of what makes it so endearing to Downtowners (coined!) and so strange to Farraguttans (double coined!). Even Cthulhu is welcomed into the mix.
Here at the Wigshop (which is not a wigshop) we'll keep digging up the weird stuff. If you see anything funky and/or weird around town that you think deserves our attention, email: firstname.lastname@example.org