Dentist Buzz Nabers sells downtown Knoxville building and closes Gay Street office

Knoxville dentist Clarence “Buzz” Nabers has sold his Gay Street building and closed the branch of his practice located there. 



a sign on the side of a building: The former office of Buzz Nabers Dental Studio on Gay Street in Knoxville, Tenn. on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2020. Though the company signage is still up, Nabers sold the building and closed this location of his practice.


© Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel
The former office of Buzz Nabers Dental Studio on Gay Street in Knoxville, Tenn. on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2020. Though the company signage is still up, Nabers sold the building and closed this location of his practice.

Josh Smith, founder and former owner of Master Service Companies, purchased the four-story building in late September for $2.8 million under the LLC Master OZ 300 Gay St.

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Around that time, a Knox County Circuit Court judge denied Nabers’ motion to dismiss a proposed $50 million class-action lawsuit, allowing the case against him to move forward to what seems likely be a costly and time-consuming discovery process.

The lawsuit alleges Nabers endangered thousands of his patients by improperly sterilizing dental equipment, potentially exposing them to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. 

Nabers still operates out of his 2061 Thunderhead Road office in West Knoxville. 

A different dentist, Ethan Long, has leased the dental office space in the Gay Street building, Smith told Knox News.

Buzz Nabers controversy

Nabers was fined $11,000 in August 2019 and his license placed on probation after the Tennessee Board of Dentistry found he improperly sterilized dental equipment and forged certification documents. 

More: Knoxville dentist Buzz Nabers improperly sterilized tools, forged certificates, state says

The investigation found Nabers had dental assistants perform procedures outside their scope of practice, including filling cavities and placing permanent crowns.

The state mandated that Nabers inform patients of the risks associated with some of those improper sterilization techniques. Months later, some patients received unsigned letters from Nabers’ practice stating they could obtain HIV and hepatitis tests if they “would like to be tested.” 

More: Buzz Nabers dental patients urged to get tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C



a person wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a building: Buzz Nabers and his wife Trish pose in their building located at 304 S. Gay St. Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011. Dr. Nabers will open his dental practice on the first floor while the couple will live on the upper floors in their private residence.


© News Sentinel Archive
Buzz Nabers and his wife Trish pose in their building located at 304 S. Gay St. Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011. Dr. Nabers will open his dental practice on the first floor while the couple will live on the upper floors in their private residence.

Three patients filed a $50 million proposed class-action lawsuit against Nabers.

Though a judge denied the defense’s motion to dismiss the case, the class has not yet been certified. It’s a procedural step in which the judge will decide whether the case can move forward and, if so, how to break up and define the groups of individuals involved. 

Smith investing profits of company sale



Stephen Marcus sitting at a table: Josh Smith, CEO of Master Service Companies at the company headquarters on Monday, August 26, 2019. Printed on the wall are the company values.


© Saul Young/News Sentinel
Josh Smith, CEO of Master Service Companies at the company headquarters on Monday, August 26, 2019. Printed on the wall are the company values.

Smith sold his company, one of the region’s largest residential waterproofing and foundation services providers, for an undisclosed sum in November 2019 and invested $8 million into 4th Purpose Foundation, a prison reform nonprofit he created.

Smith was released from a federal prison camp about 16 years ago and

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Former downtown London fitness studio to become city’s first ‘zero waste’ grocery store

London’s grocery scene will be a little greener in November with the opening of the city’s first and only “zero waste” grocery store in the city’s downtown. 

The couple behind the store is Heenal Rajani and Kara Rijnen, who own Reimagine Co. the city’s first “waste-free” store. Their grocery venture, Reimagine Gorceries, will be located inside a building that once housed a former fitness studio located at 206 Piccadilly Street just off Richmond Row and will be based on a similar philosophy. 

Rajani told CBC News Monday that the store will sell all of its goods in bulk. 

“Rather than just grab a package of rice and throw it into your cart, you’ll actually be able to choose. ‘Will I need this whole kilo of rice or maybe I just need half a kilo?”

“You’re not going to be dictated to based on package size. You can grab as much or as little as you want.” 

He said it means customers will have to remember to bring their own Tupperware, jam jars or reusable bags and if they forget, the store offers its own reusable containers on-site. 

“You can bring containers from home or we’ll have containers there that you can pay a small deposit on.”

“You wash them and bring them back or we sanitize them with a commercial dishwasher, so that way the containers are going to be used 10 to 1,000 times.” 

The store was made possible after Rajani and Rijnen launched a crowdsourcing campaign last month, quickly surpassing their $50,000 goal and increasing it to $75,000. In the end, the couple raised more than $88,000 thanks to the donations of more than 865 supporters. 

Rajani said the 865 people who donated to the cause will be reimbursed once the store opens with the equivalent of their donation as pre-purchased groceries. 

The exact date of the grand opening hasn’t been determined yet because there is still plenty of work to be done on-site to get the store ready, including renovations, permits and installing commercial appliances. 

The only real hitch, Rajani said, is making sure everyone who contributed and anyone who’s curious doesn’t show up all at the same time. 

“What we don’t want is for all 865 people to show up on opening day. That’s not something we would be able to handle, but we will be continuing to communicate through our social media channels to let people know how we’re going to be opening.”

“Maybe it will be a soft opening, where we’ll open for a couple of hours on the first day and gradually bring that up.” he said.

“It’s such a new concept.” 

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