Two new businesses in Blount County


The Southern Smokes Cigar Lounge is now open for business in Blount County. Located at 105B Third Street North in downtown Oneonta, they are serving up a selection of wines, local craft beers, coffee, and soft drinks in addition to a wide variety of cigars such as AJ Fernandez, Perdomo, and Protocol just to name a few.

Owners Matteo and Michelle Pensa (pictured at right with their son Calin) had been thinking of opening a cigar lounge for the past 15 years, and all of the pieces to their plan just recently fell into place. Except for calling a pro for the electrical work, they did all the renovations on the building by themselves. The furnishings include a giant walk-in humidor with controlled temperature and humidity, comfortable chairs, three “smoke-eaters” to keep the air clear, and some large-screen televisions. Says Matteo, “When people come in to smoke a cigar, it’s really about decompressing and unwinding, and you can develop a whole new community of friends.”

For now, they are open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. until 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., and Sunday, noon until 5 p.m. They may adjust this schedule a little down the road. Their first event is coming up on Friday, Oct. 29, when the owner of Protocol will be at the shop with special deals on their brand. They are also working on plans for a coffee tasting event. If you need to reach out to them with a question or to discuss scheduling a private event, call 205-625-6002.

by April McCay

Are you a coffee person? Or a loaded tea kind of person? Or maybe you are looking for a healthy shake option to try. Whichever you prefer in the morning or throughout the day, Stephanie Salas, owner of Blountsville’s Tiger Nutrition, says you should check out their menu.

Tiger Nutrition has a huge selection of loaded teas and more than 60 flavors of protein shakes available. The store also offers loaded overnight protein oats with several toppings to choose from. Salas (pictured above holding scissors) didn’t forget about coffee lovers either, offering hot coffee and even a few iced coffees as well.

If you are thirsty or hungry, you are sure to find something on her menu. While there, get your picture made on Tiger Nutrition’s selfie wall, designed and hand-painted by Hayden Wood, a student at J.B. Pennington.

Salas said the motivation behind opening her store was “getting the town healthy and giving them options.” Also, she was motivated because of her own health journey. She had weight loss surgery three years ago and this has been her tool to maintain that weight loss. She drinks two shakes a day (the Elvis Presley being her favorite), and she also has a loaded tea. Her favorite drink is her signature drink, Boss Mama, a blend of tropical blue blast, coconut, and pineapple.

Her family lives in Blountsville and her children attend J.B. Pennington. Tiger Nutrition believes in supporting the school. She said, “We are recognizing and representing.”

You will often find Salas and her family at games supporting the sports program and cheering for the students at Pennington. She invites those in the community to come out and support small businesses. “I am excited Blountsville is showing up and showing out by supporting Tiger Nutrition,” she said.

Tiger Nutrition is open Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. They are located at 69501 Main Street in Blountsville. You can also give them a call at 205-363-0425.