We’ve featured local shops and stores from Austin to Minneapolis in our continuing roundup of great places to shop local for the holidays. As SmallBusiness.com comes to you from Nashville, Tennessee (with help from friends, everywhere), we thought it only right to include some of the unique places we shop local (even when it’s just window shopping).
1. Imogene and Willie
(Photo via Imogene + Willie on Facebook)
The Americana fashion movement has its ground-zero at the high-fashioned denim boutique Imogene and Willie (@imogenewillie) of Nashville. Expect sticker shock, but know you’ll be wearing the same brand of jeans as superstars like the Black Keys.
2. Hatch Show Print
The history of country music is told through the iconic concert posters created by Hatch Show Print (@hatchshowprint) , one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in the United States. While it is today a division of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the shop is still a working printer, popular with customers who want anything from unique event invitations to CD cover designs. Those of us on the staff of SmallBusiness.com are especially fond of the shop as it recently moved from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (where its historic work is still on display) to anchor Nashville’s 5th Avenue arts district, three blocks from our offices.
3. Otis James
(Photo via Otis James on Facebook)
Otis James (@OtisJamesNash) is a young designer whose name is quickly becoming a popular brand for his unique handmade bow ties, caps and other accessories. With attention to detail and fashion-flare, his work has begun to gain attention from fashionistas far away from Music City.
4. Olive & Sinclair
(Photo via Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co. on Facebook)
Handcrafted by native Nashvillians in the hip neighborhood of East Nashville, Olive & Sinclair (@olivesinclair ) is, according to their website, “the paramount bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the South.” We’re not sure what that means, but we know it tastes as good as this description: “Slow-roasted and stone ground in small batches, select single origin beans are combined with pure brown sugar for a smooth and robust flavor unique to Southern Artisan Chocolate.”
5. Loveless Cafe
(Photo via Loveless Cafe on Facebook)
You may hear locals still calling it a motel, despite the motel being closed for decades, but what never changes about the Loveless Cafe (@LovelessCafe) is its authentic southern cooking, synonymous with the Loveless name since it was started in 1951. There’s always a line of customers waiting to get into the cafe, located about about 15 miles west of downtown Nashville, a few hundred yards from the the northern terminus of the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway. The cafe is today more than an eatery, selling a complete line of branded preserves (our favorite: Blackberry), jelly, bacon and their world-famous (at least to locals), biscuit mix.
6. Peter Nappi
(Photo via Peter Nappi on Facebook)
Another fashion magnet drawing shoppers to Nashville, the Italian leather specialty boutique and studio, Peter Nappi, is upscale but not high-brow. Southern hospitality and Italian design goes together surprisingly well.
7. Antique Archaeology
(Photo via Mike Wolfe American Picker on Facebook)
The actual antiques in Antique Archaeology (@AntiqueArchNash) may be less rare and more expensive than identical items found elsewhere, but that doesn’t stop long lines of customers forming at the store most days. They know this is the shop of Mike Wolfe, the creator and star of the History Channel’s American Pickers. And they are fans. We’re guessing they sell more tee-shirts than rare finds, but it seems like great fun and is located at Marathon Village, a renovated factory building near downtown Nashville and home to some of the city’s favorite artists and artisans.
7. Green Fleet Bicycle Hub
(Photo via google.maps)
Don’t let the tiny shop fool you. Green Fleet (@greenfleet) is a multi-faceted bicycle business that includes a robust tourism-related business, a rental operation and the repair and sale of some of the most unique urban-focused bicycles and gear you’ll find in Nashville.
(Photo via Grimey’s on Facebook)
It’s Nashville. We would have been run out of town had we not included some great music places where you can shop local for the Holiday’s. Fortunately for us, when you purchase a Taylor Swift recording anywhere in the world, you are helping our local economy. But Grimey’s (@Grimeys) is one of those places you just gotta be here to experience. Vinyl records still dominate the shelf space at Grimey’s. Yes, they have a fine collection of vintage country recordings but also a vast array of other types of music that extend to the far and dark edges of contemporary music from folktronica to post-internet classical house music. Live events and a downstairs performance venue help make Grimey’s the hippest physical music store in a digital download world.
9. Gruhn Guitars
(Photo via Gruhn Guitars on Facebook)
After three decades on Nashville’s historic (and tourist-packed) Lower Broad, this world-renowned vintage instrument store, Gruhn Guitars (@gruhnguitars), recently moved to slightly less retail-oriented space, but a location that allows it to cater to the type of customers who visit it from the world-over–superstar entertainers and high-end collectors.
10. Parnassus Books
(Photo via Parnassus Books on Facebook)
Saving the best for last, Parnassus Books (@ParnassusBooks1) offers local Nashvillians what mythological Mount Parnassus did to the Greek gods–“refuge for Nashvillians of all ages who share in our love of the written word.” Parnassus has earned national approval, ranging from coverage in the New York Times to a feature on the Colbert Report, but that hasn’t stopped the indie bookstore from maintaining its commitment to its community as a local retailer. Parnassus features local Tennessean authors (most notably, the store’s co-owner, best-selling novelist Ann Patchett), making it a great place to stock up on holiday gifts.
Bonus: Cumberland Transit
Started in 1972 with 10 bikes in the front window of a copy center, Cumberland Transit has grown to become Nashville’s largest and oldest outdoor adventure retailer. Whether you are ready to romp just outside the city or are planning a camping trip in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, Cumberland Transit will equip you with everything you will need for the great outdoors.
(Featured image via wikimedia commons)
Check out more great places to shop local for the holidays.