Small businesses thrive in East Nashville

Nashville 2019

As East Nashville evolves, some people are being pushed out of the area to make room for the new, but some local businesses remain constant.

The area has come a long way in a fairly short amount of time.

“I grew up in West Nashville. I was told never to cross the river when I was younger,” said David Mitchell, owner of Mitchell Deli.

But things have changed.

“Where this neighborhood was when we first opened and where it is now is night and day. There were people that wouldn’t even stop at the intersection up here just because it was kind of sketchy,” Mitchell told News 2.

Once a place disregarded by many Nashvillians, East Nashville is now a destination.

“There’s been a lot of change in East Nashville over the years. There’s a lot more people, there’s a lot more traffic, we have tourists which never would have happened you know back when we were first here,” said Amanda Beaty, owner of Wags and Whiskers.

One business that’s been going strong since the 1930s is Weiss Liquors. It’s been in the same family for three generations.

“My grandfather started it in 1932 after prohibition ended. I grew up two blocks from here and so every Saturday morning I’d get up and come down to the liquor store with my dad. He’d check up in the morning then we’d drive down to Mrs. Winter’s and the biggest decision I had to make was if I was going to have one biscuit or two,” said Anne Nicholas Weiss, owner of Weiss Liquors.

Weiss says when she was growing up, she never expected to see East Nashville look the way it does today.

“Watching just the architecture, all the features of the city, watching it grow vertically, has really been amazing. The density that’s changing down here – I guess it’s not something we really foresaw 30 years ago,” said Nicholas Weiss. 

Weiss’ only concerns with the growth are traffic and parking. But with that in mind, she does want to see the area continue to flourish, and she’s not the only one.

David Mitchell said, “When we opened originally we had like, we were small, we had 16 seats, 12 employees. Now we’re up to, I don’t know 90 seats. We have 30 employees. It’s just incrementally year over year it’s just grown into what it is now and it’s been great.”

Amanda Beaty said her pet retail shop, ‘Wags and Whiskers,’ which opened in 2004, is also doing more business than ever before.

“We’ve been super fortunate in that we have grown every year. We’ve expanded and we have three locations now,” she explained.

She added that she knows pet retail is a very niche market, but one that East Nashville residents continue to welcome with open arms.

Beaty said, “People love their pets, we all do, but part of it’s the growth and part of it’s just the neighborhood that we’re in. We pick places that are very dog-friendly, people that like to shop local.”

Local business owners tell us they feel like the new mixes well with the old. Because even with all the growth, there is such a strong sense of community in the area; it’s the glue that holds it all together.

“It’s a creative spirit that built East Nashville in the first place. That’s kind of at the core of East Nashville, and that’s what makes it unique and different. I think that’s what’s bringing people here now, too,” said Beaty.

East Nashville is a unique community that has an appreciation for small business owners. And as long as there are places where residents can “shop local,” it seems people will continue to flock to it.

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