Miller's of Tennessee

Miller's of Tennessee

Infobox Defunct Company
company_name = Miller's of Tennessee
fate = Sold to Hess's; Converted to Proffitt's
foundation = 1973
defunct = 1992
location = Chattanooga & Knoxville, Tennessee
industry = Retail
key_people =
products = Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, and housewares.
num_employees =
parent = Proffitt's
subsid =

Miller's of Tennessee was a chain of department stores based in eastern Tennessee.


The company was formed August 1, 1973, from the consolidation by retail conglomerate Garfinckel, Brooks Brothers, Miller & Rhoads, Inc. of two related Tennessee-based department stores; Miller Brothers of Chattanooga and Miller, Inc. of Knoxville, Tennessee. ["Garfinckel Combines Tennessee Divisions," "The Washington Post, Times Herald", Aug 2, 1973, p. D12.] At formation the combined chain had 11 stores and 2 specialty shops in eastern Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina.

With the 1981, acquisition of its parent conglomerate, it became a part of Allied Stores. ["Garfinckel Sale To N.Y. Firm Set At $228 Million," by Jerry Knight, "The Washington Post", Sep 2, 1981, p. A1.] In 1986, the chain was sold to Hess's; then converted to Proffitt's in 1992.

Chattanooga Flagship Store

The Miller Brothers of Chattanooga flagship store at 629 Market Street (cor. Seventh St.) in Chattanooga, was famed for having Chattanooga's only "Subway," which consisted of an underground shopping area that tunneled beneath Broad Street to another building at the corner of Seventh and Broad. On September 17, 1987, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. [ [, Miller Brothers Flagship NRHP reference (retrieved Sep 12, 2008)] .]

Knoxville Flagship Store

The original Miller, Inc. store in downtown Knoxville, erected in 1905, was a fixture of the shopping culture in the area, and a foundation of the downtown business district. The original location on Gay St. is still known as the Miller's Building today. The Hess's store a few blocks west on Henley Street became the home of Miller's, and interestingly also had an underground tunnel which connected the store to its multi-level parking structure across Henley Street.

The Henley Street building is currently home of the University of Tennessee Conference Center. While the parking structure was modified for the 1982 World's Fair and eventually leveled for the construction of the new Knoxville Convention Center, the tunnel still exists and is used for storage and access to the conference center's garbage disposal area. Former Knoxville councilman Don Ferguson has recentlywhen petitioned the University to allow the public to use the tunnel again.

Like many department stores of the era, Miller's incorporated a restaurant, snack bar, and bakery counter. Miller's coconut cakes were very popular with patrons, and the recipe is still a highly sought-after item.

Branch Stores

After Miller Brothers was sold to the Garfinkel chain, it was merged with a similar store in Knoxville, called simply "Miller, Inc." One of that store's locations (in Knoxville) was originally occupied by what would be the only Rich's department store ever opened in Tennessee. Miller's also had several Georgia locations, one in Dalton, and one in Rome, which began as a multi-level downtown store and then moved to Rome's Riverbend Mall in 1975.

Former locations


*Dalton: Walnut Square
*Rome: Riverbend Mall "(relocated from Downtown)"


*Chattanooga: Downtown "(629 Market Street, former Miller Brothers of Chattanooga flagship)"
*Chattanooga: Eastgate Center
*Cleveland: Bradley Square "(relocated from Village Mall)"
*Hixson: Northgate Mall
*Johnson City: Mall @ Johnson City
*Kingsport: Ft Henry Mall
*Knoxville: Downtown - Gay Street "(original Miller, Inc. flagship)"
*Knoxville: Downtown - Henley Street "(relocated from Gay Street; former Hess's store; became Miller, Inc. flagship)"
*Knoxville: East Towne Mall
*Knoxville: West Town Mall
*Maryville: Foothills Mall
*Oak Ridge: Oak Ridge Mall


*Bristol: Bristol Mall


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