New Year, New Ideas: One Year Later – theLOCAL + Downtown Movies

Last January, theCO hosted an event called “New Year, New Ideas” as an effort to spread the word some incredible community efforts that were making headway in 2017. One year later, we are celebrating some major progress in these projects and letting you know how you can best support them in 2018.

In 2016 while at lunch, Matt Altobell had an idea. He grabbed a paper napkin and began scribbling a business proposal: to turn empty shipping containers into micro-retail spaces.

Altobell, executive director of the Jackson Downtown Development Corporation (JDDC), had seen shipping containers renovated for housing and other purposes and was intrigued by this idea. He immediately began thinking of ways to implement this concept in Jackson.

The plan was to empower local entrepreneurs by creating a storefront in an overhead location with a short-term lease.

“Doing business with your neighbors is what Jackson’s all about and what downtown’s about certainly,” Altobell said. “People that you know on a first-name basis and faces you know and people you trust, so this is really an embodiment of that.”

TheLOCAL opened last November.

Four businesses currently operate out of theLOCAL: Garner Blue Shop, Hub City Love, Indigo Scents Candle Co., and The Lost Reserve.

Garner Blue Shop sells textiles and accessories, hand-dyed by owner and craftsman Lisa Garner in her signature shade of indigo. It also stocks various handcrafted gifts such as jewelry, leather goods and more.

At Indigo Scents Candle Co., Christal King sells homemade scents (her favorite is Lavender Musk) in a wide range of products, including candles, soaps, bombs, room sprays, body sprays, and sugar scrubs.

Hub City Love sells decorative wooden signs that owner Trista Havner has reclaimed, planed, treated, and painted. “Not only does the message—the text—on the board tell a story, the board itself tells a story,” she said.

Chase Walker, owner of The Lost Reserve, describes his business as a repurposed, renewed, and recycled clothing store. He sells vintage t-shirts, flannels, sweatshirts, and more that he has distressed and bleached.

“[TheLOCAL] shows true entrepreneurship and social belief in Jackson,” Altobell said. “The goal is for them to stay and grow and eventually outgrow the 288 square feet.”

Another project Altobell proposed last year at “New Year, New Ideas” is the creation of a downtown movie theater, something that Jackson has been lacking for more than forty years.


“We have an opportunity in Jackson, not just for a traditional modern cineplex, but a place to foster artistic energy,” Altobell said. “Cinema is one of the most universal arts. People who aren’t interested in ‘art’ still love to go to the movies.”

The problem was finding a place to put the theater. Altobell was mulling over this dilemma one day as he was sitting in the Ned R. McWherter Performing Arts Center. Suddenly, he realized the solution was right in front of him: the Ned would be a perfect fit.

The screen and projector have been installed, but the time and energy it took to start theLOCAL delayed headway on the movie theater project. Altobell does hope to start showing movies soon and is optimistic that there will be a steady summer movie schedule released.  

“This has been a passion project for a couple of years,” he said. “I think Jackson could benefit from the opportunity to have a venue for family-friendly, classic movies we all know and love.”

TheLOCAL is located at 202 West Lafayette Street, directly across from the West Tennessee Farmers’ Market. For business hours and more information, follow theLOCAL on Facebook, and make sure to check out Our Jackson Home’s “What is theLOCAL?” series on their blog at