Gracie Jones is the owner of Fountain City Stained Glass. Gracie started working with stained glass as a way to distress from her, “other career.” She knew from the start exactly what she wanted to do with her life. She retired three times….However, wait until you hear her story….
What inspired you or led you to your current career?
I’ve always worked with my hands and done things creative. I really love that. It was a place where I would go when I was doing my other career. I would do crafty things just to release stress. So then when I retired this was something I got into. I really enjoyed it. And just kept going and going and ended up buying the shop.
You said you retired and then you bought this shop?
I’ve retired three times. We didn’t start this. A friend of mine, Vicki Jarmon, started Fountain City Stained glass. She passed away. Then my husband and I purchased it from her son. That is how we ended up here.
What is your favorite restaurant in Knoxville and what do you love there?
My favorite restaurant in Knoxville is a little small, family-owned restaurant. It’s called the Chow Hall. It’s on Emory Rd. It’s got the best fried bologna sandwiches you can get! It’s got wonderful hamburgers and onion rings. The thing that I like the most about it is it’s for veterans. They are very warm friendly loving people. I love to go out there just to see them and be with them.
How long have you lived or worked in Knoxville?
I’ve lived in Knoxville all of my adult life, just about. I came here when I was twenty years old. I’m not gonna tell you how many years ago. It’s been a LONG time. Hahaha!
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Knoxville?
I’ve met so many wonderful people. I think the most interesting person I’ve met is my husband.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
I would go to Fort Benning, GA because that is where my son is.
What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
My favorite movie is the Wizard of Oz. I saw it on TV the first time. The movie I remember the most is Ben Hur. My mom took my sister and I to see that. While we there, it got so scary that my sister and I got up and wanted to leave. She took us to the steps. We were up in the balcony part because that is where all of the little kids went. She took us to the steps to play so she could still watch the movie.
What advice would you give a crowd of people?
“Get your head out of your phone and your tablet. Pay attention to what’s going around you. Enjoy the people you’re with. Enjoy the crowd. And be safe. People are just not observant any more. So they need to be safe. Watch what’s going on around you. It’s important.”
What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
I’m a parrot-head so I’d have to say Jimmy Buffet. I love Jimmy Buffet, Tina Turner, and Janis Joplin, I just love Janis Joplin.
What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Knoxville?
The S&W Cafeteria that was located on Gay St. We used to eat there everytime we came here to Knoxville to see my great-aunt and great-uncle. And the old Miller’s building. You would walk through the tunnel under Henley St to get to the store….. childhood memories.
Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Knoxville would you have lunch?
I’m a UT graduate. I’m a UT alumni. I love UT. I always go back to Phillip Fulmer. He was such an inspiration to me when I was a little bit younger. I thought he was just great. I watched him from being a defensive coordinator. I think he was a defensive coordinator, haha! He has such a great personality and all of the struggles he’s been through. He just keeps such a positive attitude and outlook with everybody he talks to. I just love him to death. He’s the AD, athletic director, at UT. I would take him to a nice place where we could sit around. I’d probably take him to the Chop House. That’s another real good restaurant.
What is your favorite thing or something unique about Knoxville?
There’s so much going on that you can really enjoy life. You don’t have to spend money. There are places you can go and things you can do that don’t cost you a dime and really enjoy yourself, inside and outside.
Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
Retired for good, hahahaha!
(Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
That I was in law enforcement with the Knoxville police department for twenty-seven years. I absolutely loved that career! That was my childhood dream. I fulfilled it. I laid it out exactly how I wanted to do it in the very beginning and that’s the way it went. I said at twenty-five years I was going to retire. On the twenty-fifth anniversary I signed retirement papers and stayed two more years on the drop plan. I did exactly what I wanted to do. I started out in patrol and went from patrol to narcotics to major crimes, I became a sergeant and went back into the streets and ran a gang task force. I was in charge of the juvenile unit…domestic violence. I got promoted to lieutenant somewhere in there. And I had a little boy in there somewhere. It was like every three months you changed jobs. I love change. To change things every three months, I never got bored. I learned so much and I was so happy.
If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
George Clooney would be my costar, the younger George Clooney.
If you had a fulltime staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
I’d choose coach, Pat Summit. I’ve met that lady. She was just wonderful. She’s gone now. But she was wonderful.
What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
God, Love, and Family. That was easy.
Who would you like to see nominated for this project, The Faces of Knoxville?
Probably, I’m gonna say Laura Goff. She does stained glass also. She does a little bit different of an art form than we do. She’s a remarkable woman who has made many strides in this field. I’m very impressed and proud of her.
What is one thing on your bucket list?
I want to travel across the United States and SEE everything.
Gracie~Thank you so much for sharing your story with The Faces of Knoxville! Blessings~Bridget