Photo by Riverbend Festival. Licensed under Creative Commons

Ugly Duck Vintage prepares for a huge tourist boost after the annual Riverbend music festival

By: Iciss Wilkerson

CHATTANOOGA, TN ( Ugly Duck Vintage is one of Chattanooga’s newest editions to local businesses downtown and the company is preparing to take on the traffic of many people attending the scenic city.

With the success of the annual Riverbend festival, the event brought together many Chattanoogans along with many tourists to the city. This also brought more traffic to open businesses in the downtown area where people can shop, eat, and even catch a ride on bicycles. 

Chattanooga, Tennessee viewed from Stringer’s Ridge. Photo by Imilious, Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

According to Local News 3, the event is expected to bring as much as $29 million to Chattanooga, a huge boost to the city’s shops, restaurants, and hotels. This was beneficial to many local businesses since the event delivered a lot of outreach for the public to visit their shops.

Jackson Elkins, owner of Ugly Duck Vintage, leans against the wall of his thrift store. Saturday, February 25, 2023. Sammy McKenzie, Staff Photographer

“Our location is so touristy that when something like Riverbend happens, we have to ramp up and get ready for that,” said Jackson Elkins, owner of Ugly Duck Vintage. “We know that traffic in store is going to increase a ton.”

This is the store’s first year open for the music festival. 

Many local businesses downtown, especially Ugly Duck Vintage, are expected to take on heavy traffic from tourists. With summer officially here, the freedom from heavy classwork brings thousands of people together as many prepare to enjoy their vacation. 

Photo by Ugly Duck Vintage.

While many were excited about the tourist boom, other students find this as an opportunity to explore what’s new in the area. 

UTC student Sam Bigham expresses her thoughts on Ugly Duck Vintage and what doors it might open for other students. 

“I think having a more local thrift shop will be really helpful for a lot of students,” said Bigham. “I know I would visit thrift stores more often if they were closer.”

Photo by Ugly Duck Vintage.

Chloe Atkinson, who is a senior at UTC, says that vintage clothing is trending. Although she personally prefers to shop for clothes in the area she lives in, she believes that the thrift store would open many opportunities for students to access vintage-style clothes.

“Vintage clothing is really in right now,” Atkinson says. “That being said, I think it probably means more students in vintage clothes because it’s accessible.”

Clothing rack in the Ugly Duck Vintage thrift store. Saturday, February 25, 2023. Sammy McKenzie, Staff Photographer

Ugly Duck Vintage can be found on River Street downtown, just right before walking to Coolidge Park.  

The business is welcome to anyone passing by, especially those with a spark for vintage clothing. 

About Iciss Wilkerson

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