Meet the Staff…
Having grown up in Blount County, Jaia loves the outdoors! She has been a camper and a hiker with her poppy since she was old enough to walk. Jaia began solo hikes during high school and even began introducing friends to the healing power of the mountains and the river. Now, a mother of 3, Jaia and her husband share their love of the mountains with their children. The family of 5 enjoys kayaking, hiking, camping and backpacking together.
As an avid pursuer of all things wellness, Jaia began studying Yoga in 2000 and became certified as an educator in 2002. Adding to her training, Jaia also became certified as a Holistic Health Counselor. Using these two modalities, Jaia began a passionate pursuit in Holistic Nutrition. She has advocated wellness lifestyle choices since then, and has taught Pilates and been a personal trainer in the local gyms around town.
Jaia has also fallen in love with Folkloric and Tribal styles of world dance. In this pursuit, she travels regionally both as a student and educator in pursuit of these art-forms. She maintains a teaching practice in Tribal Belly dance and performs often around town.
Continuing a pursuit of wellness, Jaia enjoys organic gardening and micro farming on her family’s small acre of land. Teaching her kids sustainable practices and environmental stewardship is top of the list!
Jaia’s wellness pursuits, experience in the outdoors, and dedication to Customer Service makes her uniquely qualified on our sales floor.
Many moons ago a sun, sand, and surf lover embarked on a transplant journey from the flatland of Florida to the hills of East Tennessee.
Avid hiking coupled with three park ranger internships with Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s fisheries biology crew has quickly helped Mallorie to develop a love and appreciation for the Appalachian hills and all they have to offer.
Currently Mallorie is returning to college after a two year hiatus to study fisheries and wildlife management at The University of Tennessee. She enjoys camping, hiking, fishing, photography, and cuddling with her pet rabbit Monty.”
Mike’s history in the outdoors began with his love of our mountains early on and would soon include a love for the sea as well. The Smokies were nearby and were a great classroom to hone his outdoor skills. He would soon visit many more outdoor destinations all across the country. Scuba diving became one of his passions taking him to exotic locales including the Galapagos Islands, all over the globe.
His professional life centered around tools, as the local Mac Tool Distributer. And he would soon start up a business testing and re-certifying gas cylinders for industrial and recreational use, which he still operates today.
Mike’s wide range of outdoor activities enable him to bring valuable experience and is a great asset to the sales floor.
I’ve been the general manager of Cycology Bicycles since we opened the newly remodeled shop in 2006. After 25 years working as a Carpenter/Project Manager, I was looking for a career change. As an avid cyclist, fisherman, backpacker and outdoorsman I’m always looking for the next adventure.
Born in Texas and raised in Brazil with several other stops along the route, I ended up in Indiana where I met my wife and settled down.
I moved to Louisville TN in 1987 with my wife and daughter. Having spent my childhood on Ft Loudon Lake at my grandparents and hiking, fishing and swimming the creeks and lakes of the Smoky Mountains with my cousins, I always knew Blount County would eventually be my permanent home. My ancestors moved to East TN from Scotland in the 1700’s, so it’s in my blood. After a few trips from our home in Indiana, my wife fell in love with the area — and the rest is history.
I’m excited to team with Dave Penegar to manage Little River Trading Company and Cycology Bicycles. Our staff’s meticulous attention to customer service and quality product selection will be a great asset to your shopping and outdoor experience. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to improve your outdoor life.
Bert Emmerson aka “Wildcat”
Standing 5’ Awesome” and hailing from America’s heartland, this ruggedly handsome fellow is equally comfortable whether he is long distance backpacking or giving Chuck Norris life advice. When “Wildcat” is not on the trail he is out chopping wood, passing out homemade business cards (which are currently going for hundreds of dollars on ebay), or combing his lovely wife Becky’s locks. Bert also spends time educating local youth on the importance of calf strengthening. In all seriousness if your bucket list doesn’t include meeting Bert Emmerson then you need to rewrite it. ‘Merica hearts Bert Emmerson!
Jayson is our youngest employee but by no means does that give him any less outdoor experience than the rest of the crew. Jayson is an avid outdoorsman; whether it be backpacking, fishing, recreational paddling, sport climbing, or his most recent passion, fly fishing. You can almost guarantee to find Jayson in the woods somewhere when not in school. Jayson is an eagle scout and has had a passion for the outdoors his entire life. He hiked the AT through the Smoky Mountains when he was 15 years old. Jayson started out as one of our youngest and most faithful customers, at the age of 13 he saved his money and purchased a Kayak from the shop, he has shopped with us for many of years and when he was finally old enough to get a job we snagged him and he has been a blast to work with ever since. Aside from the outdoors, Jayson is quite the artist as well. Jayson is finishing up his senior year at Maryville High School and is looking into colleges. However, upon graduation and before college he hopes to embark upon an epic journey, which has yet to be announced.
Maggie is a native of Blount County, and a current student of Maryville College. Although she has only been hiking for a little over a year, her first camping trip was in Cades Cove at the age of 4 months, and she has been in the Smokies ever since. She eventually hopes to hike the Appalachian Trail (maybe after graduation…). In the meantime, she hikes with her daughter and manages and leads the Mary T. Wilson Hikers’ Guild, a beginner/kid-friendly hiking group in the Maryville area.
Deborah “Deb” Duda comes to the Little River Trading Co. by way of central Florida. What started out as a 3 month stay in Knoxville has turned into a permanent move from her home in Apopka, FL. After retiring from public education, Deb has been able to follow her love and passion of the outdoors by working as an outfitter for both the Zion Adventure Company and Glacier Guides and Montana Raft Company. When she is not spending her summers working out of state she has worked as an adventure fitter for Travel Country Outdoors in Altamonte Springs, FL. Some of her favorite adventures include: paddling and camping on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, scuba diving on the USS Spiegel Grove, Canyoneering the Subway from the top down in ZNP, kayak camping on Lake Powell, hiking to Crypt Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park and the Canadian side of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and hiking to Iceberg Lake in GNP. Her other hobbies include mountain biking, riding her motorcycle and hanging out in her ENO.
Kelsie started with us about a year ago.
She’s a local, graduated from Heritage High School now at Pellissippi.
When not in the shop fitting Chaco’s you might find her in the mountains day hiking, or running the neighborhood.
Her favorite category though, is clothing; ensuring that Customers make an informed decision when they put their outdoor clothing outfit together. The outdoor lifestyle means having the right gear and any outing begins with the a good clothing choice.
She recently returned from a trip to the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii with some beautiful pics. Travel being one of her favorite things we look forward to enjoying many more adventures in pictures with her!
Growing up around here, exposes a person to many different outdoor pursuits. While Megan’s most likely to be found hiking in the Smokies (Andrews Bald is her favorite), she may be sitting horseback on a trail as well. A 2012 graduate from Maryville Christian, Megan is studying Business Management at Maryville College.
In the year she’s been here she has worked in all areas of the store. She enjoys working with Customers and talking with them, ensuring their shopping experience was all they expected. Working at both of our stores offers her an opportunity to work with many different Customers. Merchandising, displaying pulling together outfits is another area where we depend on Megan.