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Downtown Bristol Blog

Meet the Merchant: Hugh Testerman with Blakley-Mitchell Clothing Company


Contributed by Teresa Tibol, TCI Group, Lowry & Foster, Inc. & Believe in Bristol Volunteer

For our first article of our Meet the Merchant segment, I was honored to interview Mr. Hugh Testerman, owner of Blakley-Mitchell Clothing Company in Downtown Bristol. He is such a genuine and honest person and he was one of the first people to allow me to interview him on the spot.

This store has such a deep history in Bristol, VA/TN. For just a quick summary of their history, it all started in the 1920's with two different stores, one in Tennessee, Smith-Blakley, and one in Virginia, Baker-Mitchell. Both on State Street, both clothing companies. Later, during the depression, the two stores combined to form Blakley-Mitchell. Ted Testerman, Hugh's father, worked for the store in 1954 and later purchased the store in 1973. Blakley-Mitchell has been in this specific location since 1962. Hugh has worked in the store for about 41 years before taking over the company after his fathers death in 2007, so this business has been in the family for a very long time. Blakley-Mitchell also has a store in Kingsport, TN,opened by his brother approximately 37 years ago.

We wanted to really get to know the merchants here in Downtown Bristol so we decided to ask them some fun questions for these segments. Obviously Hugh is a native to Bristol. He has a wife, Lynne, two sons, Hugh and Teddy, and a daughter, Lindsay. I was lucky enough to meet his oldest son, Hugh, working in the store the day of the interview. The family also has two cats and two dogs at home.Hugh also has some passions outside of Blakley-Mitchell. He enjoys hunting, fishing and racing. Specifically, NASCAR and Formula One. While his favorite outdoor spot is Laurel Fork in Hampton, TN, do not ask him to share his favorite fishing location — that is apparently a big secret, as is the same among most avid fisherman.

So instead, I also asked about his favorite local places to eat.While he said he likes to frequent all the downtown restaurants as often as he could, if he had to pick a favorite restaurant it
would be The Bristol Hotel or JFranks. As far as a favorite lunch spot, he said all of downtown, we are filled with a lot of great lunch spots and they are all equally as delicious.

It was a pleasure meeting Hugh. This store sells more than just clothes, they have ties, hats, shoes, underwear,custom fitted shirts, pants, suits and tailoring services.What a great place to find a gift for the man in your life or to get some help picking out the perfect combination of shirt and tie or sport coat or suit. Their customer service is top notch and is something they really pride themselves in. I encourage you to stop in and look around and say hello to Hugh!



Downtown Bristol Events

Bingo

April 17 | Bristol Public Library


The Bristol Public Library is excited to announce that “Bingo at the BPL!” will continue through the New Year. The library will be hosting free bingo games in the J. Henry Kegley Meeting Room upstairs and offering free water, snacks, and prizes for winners. No registration is necessary; all games are completely free.

For more information, please contact the library at 276-821-6147 or ajohnson@bristol-library.org.

Wordloose: A teen poetry experience!

April 17 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum


Calling all teen poets! Do you like writing stories, poems, or just playing with words? Join Carolyn Koesters at the museum on Wednesday, April 17, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. for a fun, creative workshop, where there’s no right or wrong answers. Just read a poem, write a poem, and even share with the group if you want to. Our theme will be “Home.” Teen writers of all levels are welcome.

This program is free but a $5 donation is suggested; your donation supports free and low-cost programming at the museum. Space is limited so please RSVP!

Literarily Cool! is companion programming to our current special exhibit,Reading Appalachia: Voices from Children’s Literature, on display until June 30, 2019. We would like to extend a special thanks to the Massengill-DeFriece Foundation for their support of this exhibit and its programming.

Quarter Bounce Unplugged

April 17 | O'Mainnin's Pub


Quarter Bounce hails from Southwest Virginia and Northeastern TN. The band is composed of serious and seasoned musicians who would rather perform than just about anything else. Tagged as a classic rock band, their music is a bit more diverse. Toss in a few ballads, a few country & western tunes, and the mix equals a good dance band. Just like the name implies, Quarter Bounce is about having fun, good times and forgetting about your worries for awhile.

BPL Book Club: Girls Burn Brighter

April 18 | Bristol Public Library


The BPL Book Club will meet on Thursday, April 18, at 6:00 p.m. in the Frances Kegley Conference Room. We'll finish reading and discuss Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao, as well as pick up our next reading adventure: Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.

Any reader is welcome to join at any time, and no registration is required. BPL Book Club meets on the third Thursday of each month, unless otherwise noted on our calendar, to read and discuss a wide variety of books. Make sure to join us for good company, good books, and sweet treats!

For more information, please contact Ambrea at the Bristol Public Library at 276-821-6147 or ajohnson@bristol-library.org.

Below 7 — Bike Night Kickoff!

April 18 | Quaker Steak and Lube


Below 7 is a modern rock band out of Southwest Virginia playing in the five surrounding states. Check them out at reverbnation.com/below7

For The Song's Sake: Shay Martin Lovette + K.T. Vandyke

April 18 | Bloom Cafe & Listening Room


Radio Bristol Presents For The Song’s Sake, a monthly music series featuring performances by emerging regional & nationally touring artists. Hosted by Momma Molasses on every third Thursday at Bloom Cafe & Listening Room in downtown Bristol, TN.
$5 cover, shows start at 7:30pm.

Wolf Hills Jazz Quartet

April 18 | Blackbird Bakery


Wolf Hills Jazz Quartet is Tom Peterson, Ed Davis, Joe Pendergast, and Ernie Braganza.

JP Parsons

April 18 | O'Mainnin's Pub


JP Parsons is a Singer/songwriter from Bristol, VA. Locals know him as Bristol's Troubadour. JP's albums 'Appalachian Travels' and 'Until This Day is Done' move listeners to turn up the volume and memorize the words. He is a Song Writer, and he crafts new songs all the time. He writes them on napkins, receipts, whatever is near... when the words arrive, sometimes from an unknown muse; quickly...sometimes they are labored over throughout a notebook; slowly. He does not write hooks and riddles, he links words together to tell stories. He writes with purpose. Listen with intent and enjoy.

No cover.

Food Truck: Let's Taco 'Bout It

April 19 | State Street Brewing


Let's Taco 'Bout It will dish up its simple, fresh, authentic Mexican street tacos, burritos & quesadillas at State Street Brewing this Friday! They'll roll in at 5 p.m. and will be parked directly behind our building.

Get your food on!

Mr. Nobody & the Extras

April 19 | Quaker Steak and Lube


We are excited to have Mr. Nobody & the Extras at Quaker. Come out and enjoy some great music and awesome food and drinks!

Shannan Miller

April 19 | Blackbird Bakery


Join us at Blackbird Bakery for the music of Shannan Miller!

Jackdaw's 7

April 19 | O'Mainnin's Pub


The Jackdaw's 7 are an original alt-country band hailing from Bristol, TN/VA. They have set out to invoke the darker side of the country music genre by utilizing elements of classic country combined with modern story telling. With musical backgrounds ranging from bluegrass and classical...to punk and metal, these musicians are just coming out of the studio and looking to promote their new recordings with some memorable live performances.

Creative & Crafty: Paint Pouring

April 20 | Bristol Public Library


During April, the Bristol Public Library will be offering a special paint pouring class! Starting at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, registered participants will have the opportunity to use paint pouring techniques to create a unique abstract work of canvas art. The cost for the class is $5 per person, but this covers all supplies needed to complete a canvas.

Space is limited, so registration is required. For more information or to sign up, please contact the Bristol Public Library at 276-821-6147 or ajohnson@bristol-library.org.

Community Jam Sessions

April 20 – December 21 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum


The Birthplace of Country Music Museum will begin hosting a monthly gathering of local musicians for a full-on community jam session on the third Saturday of every month. The community jams are open to all ages and all skill levels.

The jam events have been organized to provide a space for local musicians to gather and pick, collaborate, share their experiences, and—most importantly—to have fun!

Jams will be scheduled for the third Saturday of each month from 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., serving as a great warm-up for Saturday night gigs! Musicians are asked to bring their own instruments.

The sessions will be held in the Learning Center at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

For more information call 423-573-1927.

The Del McCoury Band: With a Little Help From Our Friends

April 20 | Paramount Bristol


Don’t miss this hometown jam with Del McCoury and his band, flanked by family and friends in a “Grand Ole Opry” style format with short sets of The Gibson Brothers, Sierra Hull, Justin Moses, Dre Anders and Cody Kilby. With Del at the helm, this tight-knit ensemble of master musicians boasts a handful of Grammys, a double handful of GRAMMY nominations, more than a dozen ‘IBMA Entertainer of the Year’ awards and double-digit ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ awards between them. This traveling pickin’ party blurs musical boundaries between iconic/emerging, traditional/progressive, vocal/instrumental, covers/originals –and they shred from every angle!

Del McCoury For fifty years, Del's music has defined authenticity for bluegrass fans. He is a living link to the days when bluegrass was made only in hillbilly honkytonks, schoolhouse shows and on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, yet also a commandingly vital presence today, from prime time and late night talk show TV to music festivals and the concert circuit.

The Gibson Brothers With nearly a dozen trophies from the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, the Gibson Brothers have built their legacy upon a sound that salutes the past while still pushing forward.

Sierra Hull is an accomplished mandolin player and vocalist — and GRAMMY Nominee. She is IBMA 2018 winner of Mandolin Player of the Year.

Justin Moses is winner of the 2018 IBMA “Dobro Performer of the Year.”

Dre Anders blends West coast and soulful Folk sounds with her Swedish musical heritage to create something entirely new and wonderful.

Cody Kilby spent 14 years slinging hot licks on guitar for Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder and brings his unique tone to the Travelin’ McCourys.

TICKETS

Indighost Album Release with Nerve Endings and Realm

April 20 | Bloom Cafe & Listening Room


Indighost is releasing their 3rd full length album "Satan's Texas Vacation" at Bloom Cafe & Listening Room on 420 with Nerve Endings (local bad boys) and Realm (knoxville stoner rock)

Tickets are $5 and music starts at 8:30pm

You can order tickets in advance at Bloom Cafe & Listening Room, call or stop in.

Satan's Texas Vacation is 46 minutes of dark, sultry rock & roll psych featuring the same great taste with a new bold flavor. With influences ranging from classic hard rock, 60s psychedelia, grunge, and new alternative, this record is both a raw and powerful representation that is as close to Indighost's live sound as possible. Recorded live in the studio on site in the historic 606 state street building, the sonic quality can be described as huge, expansive, and open. The record was engineered and produced by Dan Fehr at The Wizard Productions in Abingdon VA in the course of three days and fueled by coffee, cigarettes, and some extra funky cheeses.

Rusty Steel & Quarter Bounce

April 20 | Quaker Steak and Lube


Old School Rock n' Roll Band. Rusty Steel & Quarter Bounce always deliver a great show of all of your favorite songs!

Below 7

April 20 | O'Mainnin's Pub


Below 7 is a modern rock band out of Southwest Virginia playing in the five surrounding states. Check them out at reverbnation.com/below7

Hiring Expo

April 25 | Bristol Motor Speedway


The Bristol Tennessee Industrial Development Board and NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership will once again host the Bristol Hiring Expo on Thursday, April 25th. Over 40 employers will be on hand seeking to fill in excess of 1,500 current job openings in fields such as manufacturing, healthcare, education, customer service, and many more. Employment opportunities will be available to job-seekers of all ages and nearly any level of education and experience.

This will be the sixth such event to be hosted by the city. The first iterations of the event proved to be immensely successful at accomplishing the goal of connecting local employers with job-seekers from throughout the region. City Economic Development officials hope to replicate and build on that record of success.

“Each time we’ve hosted this event, we’ve been amazed at the response from both our employers and the prospective applicants who attend,” said Bristol, Tennessee Economic Development Director Tom Anderson. He added, “We continually encounter the narrative that there aren’t enough jobs available in our community, but the employment demands from our existing industry as well as from new businesses who have chosen to locate here prove that that’s simply not the case. The IDB and its partners are proud to host an event like this to help bridge that gap between employers and the qualified workforce in our region.”

Additional space is also being designated at the event as a Workforce Development Center. This area will feature agencies and organizations that are attending not as employers, but rather to provide information about the programs and services they offer. These include continuing education opportunities, résumé building, job training, veterans programs, and career services.
The Bristol Hiring Expo will take place on Thursday, April 25th, 2019 at the Bristol Motor Speedway South Building, 3005 Highway 11E. The event runs from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM, and job-seekers may arrive at any time during these hours.

For job-seekers requiring transportation, the city will provide a free shuttle to and from the event that will pick up and drop off at the Downtown Center on Shelby St across from City Hall. There is no cost to attend the Hiring Expo, and no pre-registration is required.

For more information, email HiringExpo@bristoltn.org.

Also Coming Up

Bingo
April 17 | Bristol Public Library
Wordloose: A teen poetry experience!
April 17 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Quarter Bounce Unplugged
April 17 | O'Mainnin's Pub
BPL Book Club: Girls Burn Brighter
April 18 | Bristol Public Library
Below 7 — Bike Night Kickoff!
April 18 | Quaker Steak and Lube
For The Song's Sake: Shay Martin Lovette + K.T. Vandyke
April 18 | Bloom Cafe & Listening Room
Wolf Hills Jazz Quartet
April 18 | Blackbird Bakery
JP Parsons
April 18 | O'Mainnin's Pub
Food Truck: Let's Taco 'Bout It
April 19 | State Street Brewing
Mr. Nobody & the Extras
April 19 | Quaker Steak and Lube
Shannan Miller
April 19 | Blackbird Bakery
Jackdaw's 7
April 19 | O'Mainnin's Pub
Creative & Crafty: Paint Pouring
April 20 | Bristol Public Library
The Del McCoury Band: With a Little Help From Our Friends
April 20 | Paramount Bristol
Indighost Album Release with Nerve Endings and Realm
April 20 | Bloom Cafe & Listening Room
Rusty Steel & Quarter Bounce
April 20 | Quaker Steak and Lube
Below 7
April 20 | O'Mainnin's Pub
Hiring Expo
April 25 | Bristol Motor Speedway
Triumphant Quartet
April 25 | Paramount Bristol
Wyldeheart
April 25 | Quaker Steak and Lube
The Diamonds
April 25 | Blackbird Bakery
Matt Smile
April 25 | O'Mainnin's Pub
James Meadows
April 26 | State Line Bar & Grill
Thomas Fountain & The Fly Rod Chronicles
April 26 | Studio Brew
Billy Dean
April 26
Jackdaw's 7
April 26 | Quaker Steak and Lube
Mitch & Marissa
April 26 | Blackbird Bakery
Victor Lawson
April 26 | O'Mainnin's Pub
Kids Canvas Class
April 27 | Kil'n Time Ceramics Studio
Poetry Reading: Dr. Thomas Alan Holmes
April 27 | Bristol Public Library
Tennessee Champagne
April 27 | Quaker Steak and Lube
The Swing Band
April 27 | Blackbird Bakery
Tel, Styrofoam Turtles, and The Pythia
April 27 | Bloom Cafe & Listening Room
Sucker Punch
April 27 | O'Mainnin's Pub
Cooking with Essential Oils
April 29 | Bristol Public Library
State Street String Band Bluegrass
April 29 | Blackbird Bakery
Creative & Crafty: Dyeing Silk Scarves
April 30 | Bristol Public Library
Wine & Unwind Wednesday with Steve Gilbert
May 1 | Bristol Hotel
The Black Jacket Symphony: Journey's "Esc4p3"
May 2 | Paramount Bristol
Julie Williams
May 3 | State Line Bar & Grill
Masterworks of Chamber Music
May 4 | Paramount Bristol
Home Free
May 5 | Paramount Bristol
Bristol Ballet's The Wizard of Oz
May 11 | Paramount Bristol
State Street Tattoo Festival Kick-off!
May 11 | Bloom Cafe & Listening Room
Historic District Preservation Awards Ceremony
May 16 | Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Rex Montgomery
May 17 | State Line Bar & Grill
Border Bash
May 17 | Downtown Bristol
Wrestle
May 23 | Paramount Bristol
State St. Tattoo Fest 2019
May 24–26 | Foundation Event Facility
Chris Long
May 31 | State Line Bar & Grill
John Schneider
May 31 | Paramount Bristol
BIG Son and Seven Mile Mushroom
June 1 | Studio Brew
Wyldeheart
June 6 | Quaker Steak and Lube
Border Bash
June 7 | Downtown Bristol
Theatre Bristol's The Wizard of Oz
June 21–30
Border Bash
June 21 | Downtown Bristol
The Allman Betts Band
June 25
Railway Express
June 29 | Quaker Steak and Lube
Border Bash
July 4 | Downtown Bristol
Border Bash
July 19 | Downtown Bristol
Border Bash
August 2 | Downtown Bristol
Tab Benoit
August 2 | Paramount Bristol
Get the Led Out
August 9 | Paramount Bristol
Railway Express
August 24 | Quaker Steak and Lube

More Upcoming Events »
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