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West Nashville’s Oldest

FAMILY BUSINESSES page 31

El Dia de los Muertos page 10

The Café at Thistle Farms Re-opens page 58

October–November 2017 VOL. I, ISSUE 6


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SHOP & DROP

Purchase children’s gifts & toys Bikes, dolls, legos, activity kits, games, gift cards, etc. Drop off Location St. Luke’s Community House 5601 New York Avenue, 37209

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Shop easily online from our list Simply scan the QR code, shop and gifts will be sent directly to St. Luke’s.

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Donors can be matched with a Senior or Family’s Christmas wishlist and shop for presents, necessities and/or clothing for neighbors in need.

ST. LUKE’S CHRISTMAS TOY STORE • SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9 For questions about matching with families or volunteer opportunities, contact Christie at (615) 324-8375 or christie.bearden@stlch.org.


Editor and Publisher MIRIAM DRENNAN

Creative Consultant EVELYN MARIE PARRISH

Historian YVONNE EAVES

Acting Managing Editor JENNIFER GOODE STEVENS

Contributors: EVELYN ALLEN

CARLY BROWNING

DEANA DECK

CLARE FERNANDEZ

NAOMI GOLDSTONE

NAOMI GOLDSTONE

SCOTT MERRICK

DAVID SCHRADER

STEPHANIE SEFCIK

Art Direction and Design ELLEN PARKER-BIBB

Photographer KAYLA ANDERSON YVONNE EAVES SONIA FERNANDEZ LEBLANC

Distribution DON GAYLORD

Advertising Account Managers LANE ABERNATHY

COVER Laverte’s in Blue JIM OSBORN

Advertising Inquiries: 615.491.8909 or 372WestNashville@gmail.com. @372WN

@372Wn

@372wn

372WN is a print and digital magazine published every other month by Next Chapter Publishing, LLC. All content presented herein, unless otherwise noted, is the exclusive property of Next Chapter Publishing and cannot be used, reprinted, or posted without permission. 372WN is free for readers; excessive removal of the product or tampering with any of our distribution racks will be considered theft and/or vandalism and subject to prosecution.


CONTENTS VOL. I, ISSUE 6 | October–November 2017

MAIN FEATURE 6

Don and Yvonne Tell It Like It Was, Tell It Like It Is

CURRENT HAPPENINGS 10

El Dia de los Muertos: A Sweet Celebration

14

OZ Arts Presents Love Song and “This Really Cool Instrument”

FEATURES 16

Real Music: Vinyl and CD Shopping in West Nashville

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Nashville Community Education: The Bucket List Place

24

Historic Feature: West Nashville’s Thayer Hospital

31

SPECIAL SECTION: WEST NASHVILLE’S OLDEST FAMILY BUSINESSES 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56

Bradley Health Cannonball’s Covers Garland’s Geny’s Wholesale Flowers Gossage Jewelers H&H Market Jensen’s Shoes Laverte’s Richland Ace Hardware Sanders Furniture Wendell Smith’s Corner West Meade Wine & Liquor Mart Whaley’s

IN EVERY ISSUE 58

372WestNosh

63

Weedeaters

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372WhokNew?

October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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and red tape.

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Don and Yvonne Tell It Like It Was, Tell It Like It Is by Scott MERRICK

Yvonne Eaves preschool graduation from 61st Avenue United Methodist Church in 1963.

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This is a gathering of West Nashville royalty, of sorts— Don Henry and Yvonne Eaves comprise the administration team for the popular “West Nashville TN Memories (Past, Present and Future)” Facebook page, which serves as an online gathering place for reminiscing about days gone by, chatting about West Nashville’s current events and discussing what lies ahead for our little corner of the city that is loosely defined as West Nashville. At press time, the popular Facebook page boasts more than 3,500 members who access it to learn, to view historical photographs and to engage in conversations about community happen happenings. As Don and Yvonne sit in an early-built “tall and skinny” home in The Nations, they share their own West Nashville memories.


What was your inspiration for starting the Facebook page?

“We used to set our Coca-Cola® bottles by the back door,” Yvonne chimes in. “And they would disappear on a Friday night. Gas was something like 50 cents a gallon, and those bottles would earn you around three to five cents a bottle.” “I lived on Mercomatic Drive, and it was really hilly,” “In 2014, there was already a West Nashville page, but Don adds. “It was named for Merc-O-Matic Mercury it wasn’t really monitored,” Don says. “The posts soon automatic transmissions. We started out around age became more about yard sales and other items for nine mowing lawns, and it would take half a day to sale—probably seventy-five percent of it was spam. earn something like two dollars and fifty cents, in the I liked the concept, so I created ‘West Nashville TN heat. We figured out right quick that picking up drink Memories (Past, Present and Future)’ so we could know bottles was a lot more lucrative and a lot easier than what’s going on as far as crime or what’s being built. mowing lawns. Plus we You know, just to keep everybody up to got to hang off the rafters date on what’s going on.” in the unfinished houses When Don decided he needed another and climb up on the roofs administrator, he looked to Yvonne, who and all that, so that was a had the qualifications he was looking for. pretty interesting time of A native West Nashvillian, Yvonne was my life. That would have active in historic preservation organizabeen the late 1960s.” tions, active in the Cohn Alumni Associa“I think the first house tion and co-author of the book, Nashville’s sold in Charlotte Park was Sylvan Park (Arcadia Publishing). 1967,” Don recalls. “It was “The page is set up so that members can actually the model home add other members, and that happens that had been built at almost daily,” Yvonne says. “Just this the end of River morning, for example, there were four Rouge where it new members. It just keeps growing.” ends at I-40, the second house on the right. Lewis Martin owns it. buildThe same build er handled the builds on all the “I remember when the Cumberland was so lots, so he would nasty, and we still used to swim in it,” Don just push rocks muses. “We’re lucky we didn’t catch anything from one lot over from it. There would be blood, there would be to the next one condoms hanging out of branches, tampons. Oh, when he was it was nasty. We’d fish off the ferry ramp there, Don Henry, while working at Mr. Battery in building. We had right off the Cumberland Retreat Apartments Charlotte Square, May 1973. these big boulobservation deck. We’d fish in the springtime and ders—I’m talking a fourth of the size of this room—all catch 20- to 30-pound carp. It would take us 20 minutes piled up together. They’d stack them up, and we’d make to get one in. And then we figured out that some of these forts and clubhouses down inside them. the folks who were waiting for the ferry would buy “There was an oak tree going up the hill on Charlotte— them from us. So we would take them up to their just past where Chick-fil-A stands now—and there used cars and they’d ask, ‘What are you going to do with to be three or four houses there. One of the houses had a that?’ And we’d say, ‘Throw it away.’ They’d say, ‘No, spring behind it, with a little pond that was crystal-clear I want to buy it.’ And they’d give us five dollars for and ice-cold. We used to go swimming there.” them. And then Don explains that woods filled the space of course we also from that point to where Pizza Hut now stands, so picked up bottles— when construction moved in, homes and businessthat was another es weren’t all that was being built. “With all the one of our things to construction going on, we’d take the scrap lumber do for money.” and build clubhouses. We actually had several.”

What are some of your own favorite West Nashville memories?

October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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What do you miss the most? Both history buffs pause for a moment. “Being safe,” Don finally offers. “I really miss Charlotte Square, you know, during the Big-K era. Once Walmart went in, it was all different. You used to have game rooms for kids—of course we didn’t have video games back then. There was a 99-cent movie theater we could go to. “Now I don’t like the traffic. Charlotte Pike, actually 70 South, is four-lane all the way from somewhere in South Carolina to Arizona. Highway 70 was like Route 66, but in the South—it used to be called the ‘Broadway of America’ before the interstate. The only two-lane portion is in Nashville, and then there is one little two-lane strip before you get to Memphis.” “But you know, it’s kind of interesting that that is pretty much the same path that James Robertson would have taken going to Memphis,” Yvonne adds. “It was laid out by buffalo. Do you remember down the road, before Opryland was built, that Rudy’s Farm had buffalo out there, in the barn?” “Actually, Rudy’s daughter was a student teacher at Sylvan Park Elementary,” Don answers. “And the Rudys also married into the Clees family. One of the Clees brothers married a Rudy,” Yvonne adds. (At this point, it’s evident we are simply recording their conversation, and enjoying every second of it.) “Did you see the Facebook page photo of the folks at the ‘new’ 70 highway, where they were just cutting a dirt road through from the Old

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Charlotte —which was actually the old route of Charlotte Pike?” Don asks. “There was an old car there, and if I had been living in my house back then I would have been able to see that car from my front window.” “There’s an old house out there,” said Yvonne, “the Stagecoach Inn, and James Robertson’s nephew had that built in 1820. I have read that that was a day’s trip going from town to there, a day’s trip from Nashville. There was a blacksmith’s shop—it’s actually a really old house, and it all looks like it’s in desperate need of repair. I’ve seen pictures of the inside of it. It has a root cellar, and it looks like just rocks and bricks stacked up on one another.” She adds, “I remember when outhouses were still in West Nashville.” “I guarantee there were some outhouses in The Nations,” added Don. “If you see a house with the plumbing on the outside, that house had an outhouse before the toilets were moved into the house.”

Since you brought up The Nations, we’ll ask a question that springs eternal:

How did The Nations come by its name?

Don answers first: “From all the research I’ve done, what I understand from Tom Fetherling, ‘the Nations’ was originally called ‘the Nation.’ It had to do with James Robertson and his treaty and the Treaty Oak, which was two blocks this way [points]. The Chickasaw and some others met there to sign a treaty about sharing the hunting grounds.” “The Cherokee did not come, because they were afraid they would be ambushed,” Yvonne adds. “Or their living quarters would be ambushed and their villages destroyed. So they would not come.” Going with that theory, how did

the s get added? “You know it’s a Southern thing that we add s to things,” Yvonne says. “‘KMarts, Walmarts, Krogers,’ like that.” “I still have not found anything that is definitive on why it’s called The Nations,” Don admits. “But another theory is that when this area was built, the Tennessee State Prison housed prisoners from around the country who were held there. And that’s one reason St. Luke’s got started, was to help the families visit. When they developed this neighborhood, they named the streets after different states to entice people to move here and feel like they had a little part of their home states.” “I don’t think it was called The Nations until the last 20 years or so,” Yvonne adds. “I remember it being called The Nations when I was a teenager,” Don responds. “When we would come visit people who lived there, we would say, ‘Let’s go to The Nations. There was Redmond’s Bar, and a place called the Bloody Bucket. When we were kids, we went to church on Clarksville Highway. And there was no interstate, so we would cut through James Avenue to Centennial Boulevard, on out to Schrader’s Lane, past A&I and out Clarksville Highway. We drove through the neighborhood since I was old enough to remember.” “I really wasn’t allowed to come over here as a teenager,” Yvonne laughs.

What are your thoughts on West Nashville’s more recent progress? “There’s a lot of debate and opinion about some of the newer houses,” Yvonne says. “Still, with some of the older ones, there’s not enough historical significance to keep them. It’s more of a nostalgic significance. I do like that we’re


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“I don’t know. It just kind of flows along,” Don says. “I would hope we could get a few more older members to contribute to it, but I think they’re a little technologically challenged.” “I’m technologically challenged, and I contribute!” Yvonne laughs. Maybe that is the wider challenge: Contribute to the conversation. Perhaps more importantly, though, listen to neighbors who know the history and have stuck around to tell it. They believed in this community and chose to remain here, working hard to make it the desirable location it has become. At the same time, West Nash-

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What’s next for the Facebook page?

ville is in the middle of some major changes. We shouldn’t fear them—we should be a part of the conversations that will affect what our community looks like for generations to come. Take some notes and share photos or documents that can help us understand where today’s West Nashville came from, where it is now, and, together, where we are going. E

paid, but it was a job. They could feed their families, but I don’t think they could care for their houses like they should have, or may have wanted to.”

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being a little bit more progressive with new paving and such.” “I think this area needed it,” Don adds. “A lot of it was in bad disrepair. My uncle owned a couple of houses on Tennessee Avenue, and they were sad. Just the construction of them, you know, no basement—block stone on top of the ground, rough-sawn lumber and not well-cared-for.” “My grandparents never owned a house,” Yvonne says. They moved up here from Athens around 1938, when my father was five. My grandparents worked at Ingram Mill, which was near 63rd Avenue. Then my grandmother got a job over at Werthan Bag and worked there. They just got by.” “A lot of the people who lived here in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s worked at the industries along Centennial Boulevard,” Don says. “It was probably very hard to get along on what they were being

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who currently resides in The Nations and teaches middle school students about technology in Metro’s public school system. Connect at http://about.me/scottmerrick.

For more information: Search “West Nashville TN Memories (Past, Present and Future)” on Facebook or visit http://bit.ly/ wnmemories to read, comment and add to the growing historical record.

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Committed to serving your family’s dental needs. ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS! October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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a Sweet Celebration by Stephanie SEFCIK

photos courtesy of Cheekwood Estate & Gardens

he first of November has long been a day of celebration of the dead. The history detailing the customs of the day is varied depending on the source, but there are some generally accepted traditions and lore that add up to a holiday dedicated to the departed souls of the world. Rewinding all the way back to the seventh and eighth centuries, Celtics in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man celebrated Samhain (pronounced “SOWin”), which, hastily explained, was seen as the midway point between the autumnal equinox and vernal solstice, when souls and spirits could most easily cross into the world of the living. In the ninth century, Western Christian mythology shifted the traditionally springtime celebration of All Saints’ Day to coincide with the Celtic date of November 1, with All Souls’ Day to be celebrated on November 2. The Day of the Dead—Dia de los Muertos—is the Mexican and Latin American iteration of these celebrations, stemming from an indigenous Aztec ritual. When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico in the 16th century, they found the people there were celebrating an Aztec ritual that dated back 3,000 years. As happens with religious customs, elements of these Aztec Day of the Dead celebrations merged with Christian customs, and the celebration spread north, carried by the Spanish settlers. Aztec cultural figures linger within this richly blended celebration, the most recognizable being that of the feathered serpent god, Quetzalcoatl, who frequently makes appearances in Dia de los Muertos parades and dances. The first of November, the first day of the Dia de los Muertos celebrations, is typically reserved for

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the spirits of deceased children to reunite with their families for 24 hours, while the adult spirits enjoy the festivities and offerings on November 2. Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, has hosted El Dia de los Muertos for a long time, and Oct. 28, 2017, will be the beginning of its 18th year celebrating this special holiday. Caroline Jeronimus, communications manager of Cheekwood, calls El Dia de los Muertos “one of the most important celebrations in Mexico and Latin America.” She emphasizes that the colorful, energetic displays “demonstrate the strong sense of love and respect for ancestors while celebrating the continuance of life.” Cheekwood packs the day full of history lessons, cultural tidbits and crafts, along with dancing, music and a special altar exhibit that is crafted by local groups and organizations who applied in August to be part of the celebration. These altars are designed to memorialize the dead and are known as “ofrendas.” Ofrendas are usually decorated with items that the departed enjoyed during his or her life, and they frequently are lively and colorful. Traditionally, a white cloth is placed on the altar first, then covered with colorful tissue paper. Pictures of deceased loved ones are set upon the altar, sometimes accompanied by pictures of saints. Far from being for worshipping, the altars are instead intended to welcome the spirits of deceased relatives who visit during this time. As one might prepare a favorite dish or buy a favorite toy, these things are prepared and placed on the altars, which usually consist of multiple tiers. On the top level usually are the saints, along with a light or October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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Vastly different from Halloween candy, the sugar skulls represent remembrance and honor. candle of some kind, and maybe a crucifix. Sometimes a candle is lit for each deceased relative, which is thought to guide their spirits. One of the most recognizable symbols of Dia de los Muertos to the outsider is the “sugar skull” image. Cheekwood's Director of Education and Programs Nathalie Lavine says, “Cheekwood annually makes over 1,200 sugar skulls for guests to decorate during the event.” Sugar skulls, called “calaveras,” may be made from cane

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sugar or from clay and are often decorated with colored foil, icing, beads and feathers. They are often marked on the forehead with the name of the departed soul, and they often adorn the altars, or ofrendas, mentioned above. Vastly different from Halloween candy, the sugar skulls represent remembrance and honor. Caroline says this is a focus during the celebrations that make them so much more than just a Halloween– type party. “El Dia de los Muertos offers programming for families

of all cultures to learn about this noted Latin American tradition and participate in a wide range of activities conducted in both Spanish and English.” Sugar skulls aren’t the only crowd-pleaser at Cheekwood. They share the attention with the Tapete Display & Competition, a 12-year tradition at the festival, as explained by Caroline: Tapetes, meaning “carpets” in Spanish, are traditionally made with colored sand and serve as symbols of the temporary nature


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of life on earth. In the Latin community, annual competitions commonly take place across Mexico and other areas. In Cheekwood’s, participants will use chalk, a similar temporary medium, to create the large-scale colorful murals to honor the deceased. In addition to Cheekwood, the local Hispanic community has a new locale to visit for Day of the Dead celebrations this. The Plaza Mariachi, which is on Nolensville Pike near the corner of Harding Place, is also hosting a festival. The Plaza Mariachi Music City is lauded as “Nashville’s cultural shopping experience in the heart of the Hispanic community.” As such, the team at the Plaza is getting ready for a spectacular Day of the Dead celebration to kick off their first holiday season. At press time, plans for the celebration were not finalized, but the Plaza’s Chief Marketing Officer Cristina Allen says the festival will consist of two weeks of activities, special foods and music. The Plaza’s setup is reminiscent of a Latin American village, with bodega-like restaurants, an outdoor plaza, a bar and plenty of markets to suit every need. For those who want to celebrate by eating and drinking, there are a variety of ways to satisfy. Other local events include the Day of the Dead Tequila Festival, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on October 27, a 21+ event held in The Pavilion East off 10th Avenue. Admission is $39 and includes sampling of a variety of tequilas, sugar skull face painting, DJs and “spooky surprises.” On Charlotte Avenue, try stopping in to Bajo Sexto Taco Lounge and Taqueria del Sol, both primed for fun celebrations and delicious drinks and tacos. VI

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Stephanie Sefcik lives in the Robertson Road area with her dog Zephyr, and has recently

taken up kayaking on the Harpeth.

Visit our *new* location in The Nations! 1400 51st Ave N Nashville, TN

FROTHYMONKEY.COM @frothymonkey October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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OZ ARTS PRESENTS

Love Song to the Sun & “This Really Cool Instrument” by

Naomi GOLDSTONE

n October 5, at 7:30 p.m., Tracy Silverman and the Vanderbilt University Orchestra conducted by Robin Fountain (with Blair School of Music) will perform Silverman’s Love Song to the Sun. In this performance, Silverman and the orchestra will “reimagine the traditional classical orchestral performance for both performers and audience inside OZ Arts’ non-traditional warehouse space.” Silverman spent more than a year composing Love Song to the Sun for his six-string electric violin and an orchestra. Two things make this show so unique—Silverman’s composition is accompanied by multimedia interactive projections and the orchestra will not be in front of the audience. “Rather than putting the orchestra on the stage and having the audience in front of it,” Silverman said, “we’re putting the orchestra in the middle of the room and the audience will be on either side of it. The screen will also be in the middle of the room over the orchestra head, so the audience will be able to watch it from either side. I’m thrilled to reinvent the traditional violin concerto in an exciting and meaningful way that reflects the richness of our contemporary American musical culture.” “We are excited to present yet another first in OZ Arts’ TNT (Thursday Night Things) series—a performance with 77 undergraduate musicians,” says Lauren Snelling, Artistic Director of OZ Arts Nashville. “Tracy, Robin and Rus (OZ Arts’ Production Manager & Lighting Designer) have devised and designed an immersive concert environment that offers the undergraduate players a unique performance experience. It also provides the audience with a visual and sonic landscape that is customized to enhance the story behind the music.” Broken into two acts with an overture at the beginning and a solo interlude in the middle, Love Song to the Sun tells the “dramatic, one-day life story” of a gnat, as seen through the gnat’s eye. This continuous piece goes from sunrise to nighttime, which is essentially the entire life of a gnat. By focusing on something “as seemingly insignificant as a gnat,” Love Song to the Sun becomes a “sort of parable, reminding us that everything on this planet has exactly the same right to be alive.”

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photo credit: Daniel DuBois, Vanderbilt University. Used with permission from OZ Arts.


Don’t forget to order your cakes and casseroles from us this holiday season!

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two lower strings so that it can Snelling hopes the piece will reach the bottom of the guitar also implore us to think differently range and can be played through about how we live our own lives. guitar amps. “I discovered that “If we looked at our lives and all we when you plug those electric had was today, how would we live violins in, it levels the playing differently?” Snelling asks. “Would field,” he says. “Most of my we take advantage of really special friends thought of the violin as moments? Would we talk to each something that played old-fashother differently? Would we look at ioned music, and I wanted to the sky differently?” play something that sounded Both musicians and non-musilike 21st-century U.S. and not cians alike will enjoy this show. 19th-Century Europe.” This is es“The music will be very accessipecially important to Silverman, ble,” Silverman says. “It’s heavily who believes that “string-playing influenced by rock’n’roll, jazz, and must reflect our popular mupop music. It’s also going to have sical culture or risk becoming this cool video and will be more [old-fashioned and] irrelevant.” like a film score than a typical When the performance of classical concert.” Love Song to the Sun is over, the Snelling agrees. “If music is not audience will be encouraged to someone’s favorite thing, I would stay and hang out on the patio to say that there is so much more talk with Silverman, Fountain and going on in this work,” she says. those associated with putting this “Not only is the composition and performance together. “As with evthe playing extraordinary, but the ery TNT show, we always make an video design is stunning. There effort to let the audience are also live interactive ask the artist a quesvideo projections by tion,” explains SnelTodd Winkler that ling. “It allows are being affectpeople from ed by Tracy’s the field to ask movement as super-detailed he plays.” questions, and Silverman it also allows also notes novices to that Love Song ask how these to the Sun things came to also features to this “really cool A be.” There will be a cre Z O m formal Q & A, too. instrument,” too: the dit: Kur o r nf t Rie issio mann, Doors open at 6:30 six-string electric violin. used with perm p.m., food trucks will be stationed “It’s something I invented and in the parking lot before the show developed in the 1980s,” he said. and wine and cocktails will be sold “It was basically because I wanted before and after the show. Tickets it to sound like an electric guitar, are $20 and can be purchased and I was a classical violinist at the door or in advance at who wanted to play music that www.ozartsnashville.org. your average person would like.” Silverman realized that the music When she’s not being dragged around The his friends were listening to was Nations by Mr. Ernie Banks and her other rock’n’roll, so he wanted his sixthree dogs, Naomi Goldstone is a professor of English and coordinator of the string electric violin to “sound like African American Studies program at Austhe instrument they were most tin Peay State University. She is the author familiar with—the electric guitar.” of Integrating the Forty Acres and blogs at dwonnaknowwhatithink.com. His six-string electric violin has VI

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4410 Murphy Road 615.269.9406 www.mccabepub.com October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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written and photographed (unless otherwise noted)

by David SCHRADER

REAL MUSIC: Vinyl and CD Shopping in West Nashville

Just like the all-around growth of West Nashville, new ideas and old traditions are on the rise when it comes to how people consume music today. The Recording Industry Association of America reports that in 2016, revenue from modern paid subscriptions through services like Spotify more than doubled. At the same time vinyl album sales—once practically extinct—registered their best showing since 1985. If there’s a rub to this reality, it’s that those who prefer walking into a store to buy physical music don’t always have great options. Big-box operations offer a limited selection in the online ordering age, and new music retailers that once thrived on this side of town—Cat’s Music, Port O’ Call, Sam Goody—are gone. Fortunately, this is Music City, USA, and West Nashvillians have a wealth of storied used record shops to frequent, each with its own charm. In the noble quest for vintage vinyl and cheap CDs, four worthwhile secondhand spots are open along one five-mile stretch of 37209 alone. So if the feel of music in your hands is as meaningful as the sound of it in your ears, let’s go shopping!

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372WN.com | October–November 2017


by Stephanie photos courtesy of

SEFCIK

Rick Malkin Photography

photo courtesy of McKay's

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t 636 Old Hickory Blvd., near the edge of Bellevue, the warehouse-like McKay’s features an impressive vinyl and CD inventory that is always churning—thanks to a combination of trading tactics, low prices and easy access just off Interstate 40. During peak season, the store’s CD director Stuart von Stein oversees an inflow of 4,000 old-school records and 20,000 discs people bring every week to the store, which has been described as feeling like an exceptionally well-organized garage sale (everything is barcoded). “Vinyl has really ramped up the past four years,” says Stuart, who estimates the top floor of McKay’s has 50,000 LPs and 45s in stock. “We stay reasonable on prices; our goal is not to sit on anything. We want to sell what we take in within a month. That’s how we’re able to remain as big as we are.” If you still use the format or just rip songs to MP3 files, McKay’s bargain CD section is a deal hunter’s paradise. Thirty percent of the discs taken in go straight to that area at quirky prices ranging from five to 95 cents. From pop and rock to New Age, Christian and country, you’ll find obscure favorites and A-list artists alike— Sting, Madonna, Dwight Yoakam, Norah Jones, George

Winston. (This writer once picked up Paul Simon’s The Rhythm of the Saints and U2’s Rattle and Hum for a total of 14 cents!) McKay’s has roots going back to a bookstore started in 1974 and still sells books, as well as movies, games, musical instruments, electronics and more. The company’s Nashville location opened in 2007. Stuart is especially proud of the organization’s process with the public. “You’re going to get the best trade or cash offer here,” he says. “We give you 50 percent in trade of what we sell it for; you’re also saving ten percent in sales tax if it’s a trade, so that is a great deal.” Moving toward town to 994 Davidson Drive, Alison’s Record Shop is a boutique operation dedicated to top-condition vintage vinyl—original pressings rather than new reissues. As such, prices are higher, but audiophiles who gravitate to the cozy 600-square-foot room will know that going in. In 2014, Alison Warford spun the shop out from Brian’s Custom Theaters & Hi-Fi, located next door and owned by her husband. She began with inventory culled from a longtime Nashville record collector’s stash of rock, blues and jazz. Alison’s offerings have since expanded from selectively buying walk-in collecOctober–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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tions but mainly through ongoing dealings with a network of fairpriced, high-quality online sellers. “That’s how I get a lot of my harder-to-find records, as well as keeping stocked with good copies of more common titles,” she says. “I find there has to be a balance between keeping stocked with Pink Floyd and bringing in new titles that will appeal to my regular customers who already have those albums.” Expect an average price range of $10 to $20 per title at Alison’s, but also be sure to peruse the $1 to $3 bargains and consider the true rarities on hand. Alison sold an original copy of Small Faces’ “Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake” (with the jacket made to look like a tobacco tin) for $250 and has an original “Catch a Fire” by The Wailers with the hinged album sleeve resembling a Zippo lighter for $225.

Alison Warford, Alison's Record Shop

Above all, Alison’s Record Shop is where music lovers can step back in time—flipping through the New Wave/Alternative racks to feel like it’s 1983 again or attending one of the store’s album listening

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events to hear a classic like The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” played on a high-end turntable. “I’m most proud of the overall quality and selection I have to offer in my shop,” says Alison, “which is hard Alison's "Grammy Wall" to match in any other and became known for stocking Nashville store.” front-list favorites from acts like Speaking of hard to match, no Public Enemy and N.W.A. used music stores have better One day the phone rang at New stories than the ones coming out of Life, and controversial rapper New Life Record Shop (5343 CharLuther Campbell of 2 Live Crew was lotte Ave.) and The Great Escape on the other end, asking Lee if his (5400 Charlotte Ave.), situated group could do an in-store appearacross the street from each other ance there when it toured through toward Sylvan Park and founded Nashville. Other acts would folin 1976 and 1977 respectively. The low suit, including Master P, Too walls of these Nashville institutions Short and Ludacris. The store was can’t exactly talk, but the longtime regularly packed, and Campbell employees can. dropped in once just to watch bas“We started out selling ketball with his new friends. new music—vinyl, 8-tracks, “We were fortunate,” Lee says. then cassettes,” says New “When rap came along it just kind Life co-owner Lee Lane, who of took over, and I let it take over. If holds court each day with we had tried to make that happen, a stream of regulars in what it never would have worked.” has always been equal parts Today, New Life’s inventory is record store and smoke less defined; a multi-genre stew shop. “We sold a lot of rock of modestly priced trade-ins plus ’n’ roll in the beginning. Back new vinyl from The Mavericks, then, we had lots of converMarty Stuart, Meghan Trainor and sations about music bemore. The hip-hop history lives on tween us and the customthough—before opening his local ers. I don’t want to say it store, Jack White stopped in to was Floyd’s Barbershop, special-order a Sir-Mix-a-Lot record. but it was a cool place to You’ll want to load up on Lee’s hang because we were great stories just as much as your turning people onto stuff favorite music. and they were turning us On the other side of the street, onto stuff.” The Great Escape is known for the Used music entered New decades it spent located near MuLife’s racks as a means of sic Row, where customers included competing with larger chains legends from Johnny Cash to Taylor who could afford to sell highSwift. The store’s vice president er-priced new CDs at a discount. Greg Walker recalls telling a shopBut what most of those stores per he looked like Martin Sheen; it didn’t stock in the late 1980s was was the actor’s son, Emilio Estevez. underground rap music that had The Great Escape moved its main begun to explode in popularity. Lee location to West Nashville in 2010, was receptive to customer requests now residing in a former bowling


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alley. That allows 7,000 square feet of retail space for more than 20,000 used vinyl records, aisles of CDs and thousands of comic books, games and movies. And there’s twice that much room left over to house business operations and significant overstock storage for online sales. Like McKay’s, the store offers cash for trade-ins and prices to sell fast, with bargains starting at $1. But the knowledgeable, service-oriented staff also knows how to move a genuine collectible—the store sold a mint copy of Elvis Presley’s first single on Sun Records, “That’s All Right Mama,” for $11,400. “We go the extra mile to ensure each customer is able to walk away with whatever they came here seeking,” Greg says. “Nothing makes us happier than when someone smiles and says, ‘I’ve been looking for this for years!’” VI

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David Schrader has always lived in West Nashville, mostly just off Charlotte Ave-

nue. If you can’t find him, check the bargain CD section at any of the above locations or the cat room at Nashville Humane Association.

Lee Lane, New Life Record Shop

The Great Escape

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NASHVILLE COMMUNITY EDUCATION:

The Bucket List Place by Naomi GOLDSTONE

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y husband is a former baseball coach and a Hall of Fame player, my daughter ran track and my son played football. They each had a bunch of T-shirts, and I refused to throw them all away,” said Toney Cole, a Nashville Community Education student and instructor. That led Toney to take her first quilting class at NCE, and then to later teach a T-shirt quilting class. “My friend took me over to NCE to take a beginning quilting class, and for two straight years I took every quilting class they offered. They were 12-week classes, and even though they were the same class, I worked on different projects,” Toney said. “I kept telling the instructor that I wanted to make a T-shirt quilt,” she said.

“M

“We are here at The Cohn School, and we are rebuilding and rebranding with a new logo, a new mission and a new vision.” Mary Beth Harding, Executive Director Toney realized that if she wanted to recycle old T-shirts, then other people probably did, too. “So, I wrote the outline for the class, and NCE accepted it. I’m doing my fifth class now, and the students have made some wonderful T-shirt quilts,” she said. Formerly called the Community Education Alliance and later Cohn Adult Education, Nashville Community Education used to be a part of the Metro Nashville Public Schools. They once offered GED classes, adult enrichment programs, a senior renaissance center and adult literacy classes. In the early 2000s, however, the school system decided to cut the program. Since the city of Nashville had been subsidizing the program, they decided to absorb it into their budget. Today, the Metro Nashville Community Education Commission of the Metro Government sponsors Nashville Community Educa Education. Its main location is at The Cohn School on Park Avenue, and there are two satellite campuses—one at Wright Middle School and the other at the Martha O’Bryan Center. “Since 2009, we have been pushing to let people know that we are not closed,” Executive Director Mary Beth Harding said. “We are here at The Cohn School, and we are rebuilding and rebranding with a new logo, a new mission and a new vision.” NCE’s vision statement—“A service that enriches the diverse fabric of Nashville through affordable educational opportunities”—so accurately reflects the classes that are offered. According to Mary Beth, not only are the classes a good way to learn something new, but they are also a “way to learn about each other. We try to make sure that the class offerings October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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showcase the city and the diverse community we have,” she said. Volunteer instructors teach each class, and most instructors are just “regular people who want to teach others something they love.” One such instructor is Stephanie Dauenhauer, a computer programmer who teaches beginning sewing at NCE. Stephanie first learned to sew from her mother. “When my mother was teaching my older sisters to sew, I used to watch her and was sewing by the age of 7,” she said. After taking an upholstery class at NCE, Stephanie said that she noticed that “people struggled with the sewing part,” and the instructor

in charge asked her if she would be interested in teaching a beginning sewing class. Thus, “Beginning Sewing” was born, and Stephanie and NCE bought six sewing machines for $149 for the first class of students to use. Stephanie’s “Beginning Sewing” class meets for three hours once a

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week for 10 weeks and costs $40. Students do not have to purchase a sewing machine to take the class, though she encourages them to buy an inexpensive one if they think they will continue sewing on their own. Each class begins with students learning how to make a pillowcase and then moves on to learning how to make tote bags. Because about half of the people in each class are returning students, Stephanie said they “get a choice on what they want to work on.” There are many reasons why a student might take Stephanie’s sewing class. One woman came to learn how to mend and hem her 90-year-old father’s pants, and another woman came to learn how to make baby blankets to give to friends and family. “I give them an opportunity to do what they want to do,” Stephanie said. “If they want to do craft items or pattern sewing, then I work with them and help them finish their project.” There are no requirements to take a class at NCE—all you need is a desire and willingness to learn. Most classes at The Cohn Center, Martha O’Bryan and Wright Middle School are held in the evenings Monday–Thursday. However, they do offer some classes during the day, including several options they Occasioncall “lunch and learn.” Occasion ally, too, NCE has classes that meet on Fridays and Saturdays. The classes also range in size from five to 20 students, and in price from free to $100—but the average class is $35. There is a scholarship program that will cover the cost of up to two classes a session. Just email NCE (cecinfo@ nashville.gov) for information. There is a wide variety of class offerings. This fall, NCE offered 334 classes, including 80 new classes. The class topics covered each term are: Language, Arts, Create, Fitness,

Legal, Career, Technology, Life and Finance. The most popular classes are Spanish, Estate Planning, Tai Chi, Introduction to Computers and Oil Painting. In Fall 2016, NCE introduced a new series: classes taught completely in Spanish. These classes were designed for native speakers, as well as for those who “want to practice their second language skills.”

Imelda Alamilla, Program Coordinator at NCE, is tasked with scheduling classes at all three campuses and with finding instructors. She is very proud of the disparate range of classes she and her staff puts together every Fall, Spring and Summer session. For example, there is two-hour class on “Chinese Medicine: Body, Heart and Mind,” where participants will learn about the “physical, emotional and mental benefits” of Chinese medicine. There is a three-week class titled, “Is This a Scam?” where participants learn how to “recognize scams and how to report them. They also offer beginning and advanced guitar classes; a class on teaching people what their rights are when encountering the police; a class on creating a web page using Squarespace; a class on iPhone and another one on Android basics; and a class on strengthsbased parenting. NCE offers a variety of cooking classes—from making mooncakes and pot stickers from scratch to slow-cooker tips and recipes; they have also offered classes on juicing


This fall NCE offered 334 classes, including 80 new classes.

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with a check or credit card information to NCE. If you have any questions, you can call 615-298-8050 or email cecinfo@nashville.gov; the staff members at NCE are happy to help. IN

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(one is on “Juicing for Meat Lovers”) and kefir. In addition, there is a Nashville Farmers’ Market series—titled “Grow Local Kitchen”—that meets 6–7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month during the course of the term. Each class features a “farmer, producer or maker” who talks about their specialty. There is also an instructor who offers “tips about cooking seasonally, demonstrating a recipe easily re-created in your home kitchen.” Tastings and samples are provided, too. To be an instructor at NCE, all one needs is a passion and a skill to share with others. Though it is seen as a “volunteer commitment,” instructors are provided “a small stipend based on a percentage of student fees collected for their class.” Many instructors, like Cary Freeman who owns the Stained Glass Emporium in Sylvan Park, teach multiple classes. In addition to teaching students how to make their own stained glass, Cary also teaches badminton. “I have been playing badminton for about eight years and have been teaching for about five,” he said. And, like many current instructors, Cary began as a student at NCE. “I started playing with Dr. Chin Zue Chen, a professor of engineering technology at Austin Peay, and then I took over teaching Dr. Chen’s class when he could no longer do it.” The badminton class, as are many others offered through NCE, is a reflection of the racial and ethnic diversity of West Nashville. “Badminton is probably the most international class at Cohn with over a dozen countries represented by the students,” Cary said. “I teach not for the money but for the love of the sport and for those who play with me. NCE gives us the opportunity on Monday mornings and Tuesday evenings to enjoy and to learn from each other.” To teach a class at NCE or to view a complete list of class offerings, please visit: nashville.gov/ce. You can register and pay for a class there, too. If you’re not comfortable registering and paying online, you can go to the NCE office at The Cohn School (4805 Park Ave., Suite 123) and sign up and pay for your class there. Lastly, you can mail your registration form

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When she’s not being dragged around The Nations by Mr. Ernie Banks and her other three dogs, Naomi Goldstone is a professor of English and coordinator of the African American Studies Program at Austin Peay State University. She is also the author of “Integrating the Forty Acres” and blogs at dwonnaknowwhatithink.com.

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October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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NASHVILLE THAYER GENERAL HOSPITAL by Yvonne EAVES unless otherwise noted, photos are from Thayer Fare newspaper, courtesy of Tennessee State Library and Metro Archives.

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IF YOU drive along White Bridge Road today, there is nothing that suggests the once-sprawling presence of Thayer General Hospital. Where today you see Nashville State Community College, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology and Lion’s Head Shopping Center, there once were 142 acres of Thayer Hospital campus stretching from south of Knob Road to Post Road. Dedicated in October 1943, the hospital had more than 1,600 beds and cost $3.5 million to construct. The Nashville, Chattanooga & Saint Louis Railway built a spur to it off of the tracks near White Bridge Road and Richland Creek, along which trains brought more

than

17,000

wounded World War II soldiers for treatment and recovery.

May 1958, photo courtesy of Metro Archives.

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Chosen for its proximity to military installations, Thayer Hospital was accessible from Tullahoma and Clarksville Army bases, Smyrna’s Army air field, the naval base in Covington and the military bases in Kentucky and Alabama. The first patient was admitted on November 16, 1943, and the hospital went on to treat wounded from war zones across the globe. The buildings and grounds were maintained through the Prisoners of War Plan, by POWs who were detained at Camp Forrest near Tullahoma – mostly Italians, Germans and a few Japanese. Local residents told stories about how the prisoners would walk away from Thayer, have difficulty communicating with civilian neighbors and then return to the hospital without incident. The plan started with 50 inmates and was so successful that it swelled to 250 prisoners. The complex could have been considered a small town. On the Thayer grounds there were 148 buildings for troops from all branches of the military—all the structures, set end-to-end, would have stretched for more than six miles! Protecting those structures was a Fire Department that employed 18 civilians; it had two trucks and could respond to a fire within two minutes.

The first patient was admitted on November 16, 1943, and the hospital went on to treat wounded from war zones across the globe.

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The firefighters were not the only civilian employees of Thayer Hospital. Its post office could deliver 7,000 pieces of incoming mail a day. Its laundry service employed 43 people and handled 235,500 pieces of laundry a month. (Laundry service was provided to any civilian wearing hospital-issue apparel, and it was free for all enlisted patients and Conditioning Service trainees.) The hospital had its own “private branch exchange” phone service, and its switchboard operators could handle up to 7,000 calls a day. The Thayer Fare newspaper was published biweekly, and regular radio broadcasts kept everyone aware of current events. Though Thayer Hospital was a military hospital, every effort was made to help the recovering patients feel comfortable and to support their morale. Many of the enlisted patients missed their families, but they were still committed to serving their country. Commanders were diligent in their support of the recovering troops. For patients’ spiritual health, Thayer Hospital had a chapel that provided a place for all faiths to worship. October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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Roy Acuff, Tex Ritter and West Nashville’s own Dinah Shore were frequent performers at Thayer Hospital.

For their entertainment, USO shows were the order of the day. The United Service Organization, with as many as 3,000 clubs around the globe, took entertainers to military bases, installations and hospitals. In Nashville, there was some stellar local talent—Roy Acuff, Tex Ritter and West Nashville’s own Dinah Shore were frequent performers at Thayer Hospital. For the patients who were hearty enough to participate, the hospital offered many athletic and recreational pursuits. There was a bowling alley, a tennis court and a 100-foot swimming pool. Men’s and women’s softball teams and a basketball team competed with other Nashville-area clubs, and an 18-hole putting green was built with proceeds from a Richland Golf Club-sponsored tournament to raise money for the hospital. The club also provided 100 putters and donated the needed golf balls. Helping the soldiers become whole again was the goal of the hospital’s Physical and Occupational Therapy processes. “Physio” treated up to 135 cases a day, dealing with anything from frostbite to fractures. Occupational therapy could handle up to 50 a day and treated 1,100 patients in its first year. One aspect of occupational therapy was gardening. Convalescing patients would plant a garden and tend the growing vegetables, then harvest them as part of their rehabilitation. The Thayer garden was not the only one supporting our troops. Residents in West Nashville grew Victory Gardens to produce vegetables, fruits and herbs. Nashville even set aside 1,000 acres in Percy and Edwin Warner parks to be used as public gardens. The gardens served as a way families on the home front could help make sure there was enough food for the soldiers fighting around the world.

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West Nashville residents rallied around service members in many other ways. They followed the nation’s buying restrictions on shoes, tires and automobiles. Ration stamps were used to purchase gasoline, coffee, sugar and milk. Schools held scrap drives, collecting newspapers and anything metal. The Tennessee Enamel Company (Temco) stopped making gas heater elements and started manufacturing bomb heads. Phillips & Buttoff created pontoons. General Shoe made military footwear. Seling Hosiery Mill produced rip cords for parachutes. As American men left their jobs to join the military, Nashville women stepped into “Rosie the Riveter’s” factory jobs as part of the nation’s work force. It was estimated that 18 million women across America worked in factories during World War II. Thayer General Hospital was named in memory of Dr. William Sydney Thayer, who served as an Army Brigadier General during World War I. On Dec. 6, 1945, President Harry Truman signed an order turning the hospital over to the Veterans Administration, and in 1963 the VA hospital was relocated to 24th Avenue South. By 1966, the old hospital site was cleared and photo used with permission from the Ralph Mitchell photo collection. readied for its next incarnations. VI

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Long considered West Nashville’s historian, Yvonne Eaves spends a lot of time documenting its changes through the lens of her camera. She is the former president of the Cohn High School Alumni Association and author of Nashville’s Sylvan Park (along with co-author Doug Eckert, Arcadia Publishing). Sources used for this story include: Website History.com/topics/world-war-ii/ us/home/front, during-world-war-11; Nashville Since the 1920s by Don Doyle; Thayer Fare newspapers Tennessee State Library & Archives and Metro Archives; and Vertical Files at the Nashville City Room, Nashville Public Library. LLE

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SPECIAL SECTION

WEST NASHVILLE’S OLDEST FAMILY BUSINESSES These are exciting times for West Nashville; new businesses are moving in by the droves and it’s fun to guess what’s going in a new or renovated space. There are some businesses, however, who chose West Nashville long before it was trendy. Families chose to establish their businesses here, building and nurturing customer relationships and staying put—while bearing witness to the sorts of historical events that are (hopefully still) studied in school: The Civil Rights Movement. The Vietnam War. Ali’s “Fight of the Century” and “Rumble in the Jungle.” Watergate. The Bicentennial. The Gas Crisis. Some were even around during The Great Depression, World War II, The Korean War, Mickey Mantle’s “favorite summer” of 1956, Elvis, The Beatles . . . Most of the businesses profiled on the following pages are still owned by the families who founded them, and they’ve been here for 40+ years; in fact, one was established just three years after the Civil War ended. If you’ve ever driven by them and wondered—or you’re one of their customers who never knew their stories—the following pages will get you acquainted. They can attest to the West Nashville that was, while successfully navigating today’s “It City” spotlight.

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by Deana photos by Sonia

DECK

Fernandez LeBlanc

Bradley Health Center and Everything Diabetic

here was a time when “fast food” meant lunch at the soda fountain counter in the neighborhood drug store. Bradley Drugs was one of those places. “We served everything from cheeseburgers and milk shakes to plate lunches,” says Phil Bradley, the company’s second-generation owner. “There were 34 seats at the counter, but on many days that wasn’t enough. Some days there would be a line out the door of people waiting to get in!” Bradley grew up in the drug store. “Working for my Dad, I did every kind of job before I went to college: soda jerk, stocking shelves, cashiering, cleaning, delivering and, as a pharmacy tech, counting pills.” Bradley Drug Company was founded by Joseph Bradley in 1963 in the building where the Thistle Farms Café is now located, just a block or so away. “I learned to skateboard on the sidewalk out front when I was about six years old,” Bradley says. “I went to St. Ann’s elementary and had a lot of friends in Sylvan Park.” Three years after opening, the business moved to its present location. Bradley graduated from Father Ryan High School and attended pharmacy school at Sanford University in Birmingham and took over the business when his father retired in 1998. The soda fountain closed in 1973 so the pharmacy could expand. “The crowds were hurting the pharmacy side of the business, because customers couldn’t get in,“ Bradley says. “It became obvious that for the pharmacy to survive we’d need to diversify. Because pharmaceuticals were more profitable than cheeseburgers, focus turned to serving the needs of a growing population of older customers. The company began to carry medical supplies and equipment such as walkers and

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wheelchairs, which required more space for customers to shop in. “Even in the darkest days we never considered moving,” Bradley says. “It’s a tight-knit community and we took pride in it.” Today the company is actually three separate businesses under the Bradley umbrella. The pharmacy offers services that include bubble pack packaging of medications to assist customers in taking the right drug at the right time on the right day. And, as customers moved to the suburbs, Bradley Drugs began delivering in what is now a 60-mile radius.“ Bradley Health Services, established in 1983, provides equipment and medications to nursing homes, long-term care facilities and hospices. Following the 2002 death of Bradley’s mother, who was diabetic, Everything Diabetic was created. “It was sort of a memorial for our mom,” he says. (Bradley has two sisters, one who works at the store as a pharmacist and another who is an accountant for Ingram Industries.) “We’ve had a very good response to it. The building where Everything Diabetic is located was once a Goodyear store. “When we remodeled the building, we added contemporary architectural details and greenery that rejuvenated the location,” Bradley says. “We’ve received many compliments on it.” Bradley has been glad to see all the new homes and businesses that have been added to the neighborhood. “The beauty of West Nashville has been brought to the forefront,” he says, “and the Metro Council has done a good job of maintaining the historic nature of the neighborhood.”

What is the secret to your business’s longevity? Diversity, the willingness to change and adapt.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about Bradley Drugs? That we deliver within a 60 miles radius, which includes Gallatin, Lebanon, Murfreesboro, Clarksville, Columbia and Dickson.

Why have you chosen to remain located in West Nashville? We enjoy the West Nashville spirit and sense of togetherness.

What is the biggest change you’ve observed? The fact that the new homeowners are bringing in additional income and want to keep their property beautiful. They want to support West Nashville and the businesses of West Nashville.

What do you love most about being in West Nashville? The people. The families. We have served three generations.

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by Deana

DECK

photos by Yvonne

Eaves

AA es, we usually know how to add and subtract. And we also know that Cannonball’s Covers comes just short of the 40-year mark that qualifies the other businesses in this special feature, but 37 years of mostly 12-hour days is remarkable, and Cannonball White is a force in the West Nashville community. He knows everybody, and everybody knows him—whether through his remarkable work as a trimmer, a kindness extended, golf tournaments or his devotion to the UT Vols. So before Cannonball's Covers makes a major move to Clarksville Highway early next year, 372WN wanted to give this business a much-deserved shout-out. After graduating from Cohn High School in 1967, Cannonball White attended Austin Peay, Vol State and UCLA. It was while he was in California following a stint in the army, that he began automobile-upworking for his future father-in-law, who had an automobile-up governholstery business. “Thanks to the G.I. Bill, I’m the only govern ment-certified trimmer in the country,” he says, underscoring upholthat a “trimmer” is a designation for the top of the line in uphol stery expertise. “If somebody comes in looking for a job, I ask if they’re a trimmer. If they don’t know what I’m talking about, they can just keep on walking.” When his boss decided to move the business to his home state of Arkansas, Cannonball went along. “We did everything, upholstering chairs, airline seats, convertible tops and antique car restoration.” He learned the latter while working on the top and interior of a 1934 Ford. He soon married the boss’s daughter, started a family and went into partnership with a friend as C and C Upholstery, doing covers, convertible tops and trim. He was 25. Unfortunately, business wasn’t brisk enough to support two owners, so he moved home to

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Nashville, constructed his current building and opened Cannonball’s Covers not far from where he was raised on Indiana Avenue, in West Nashville. The re-married father of nine, Cannonball is a family man and he’s proud that his sons represent the third generation of the business. “I learned from my father-in-law and passed it on,” he says. “Michael, my oldest boy, is a full-time paramedic, and a part-time trimmer, but he’s one of the best in the business. I wish he’d do it full-time.” One thing you’ll notice when you enter the front office: Cannonball is a diehard University of Tennessee sports fan. The walls are covered with posters, banners and autographed photos of some of UT’s most famous players and coaches, including Robert Neyland, the legendary head football coach between 1926 and 1952. Others include Peyton Manning, Phil Fulmer, Johnny Majors and Pat Summit. Asked why he didn’t attend UT, Cannonball says bluntly, “I wasn’t good enough. Didn’t have the right class credits.” Also enshrined on the wall is a photo of one of the restored automobiles Cannonball is especially proud of. “It’s the only 1909 Oldsmobile in existence,” he says. Step into the garage and the first thing you’ll encounter is a 1987 El Camino being brought back to life. The exterior is a blaze of orange and includes a large photo of Neyland Stadium on its left flank. Upholstery and tonneau cover are done in black with tasteful orange trim. A little further along is a restored 1950 Mercury that looks like it’s on fire, thanks to the flame motif applied from hood to trunk. Nearby sits another vintage El Camino, awaiting its turn at restoration, the interior having been stripped down to the bare floor. Football and antique cars aren’t Cannonball’s only interests. He loves country music and claims to be a “two steppin’ fool!” One of the artifacts decorating his office is an autographed, limited edition copy of a Waylon Jennings photo. “Waylon was my friend,” he says. He also has a framed, original music manuscript of “Rocky Top,” on which some of the earliest lyrics were crossed out and edited. Another interest is the Cohn-Head Golf Tournament, currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. Cannonball played on the East West All-State All-Star football team in 1967 and some of his fellow players and Class of ‘67 pals have been gathering for an annual golf tournament they founded in 1992. “They come in from all over the country to play,” he says.

Why have you chosen to remain located in West Nashville? It’s the place to be: Home sweet home. I was raised over on Indiana Avenue.

What has been the biggest change you’ve observed? Everything. There are houses in places I used to go squirrel hunting! Some people don’t like what they call shotgun houses, but they’re pretty, and new. And there are no more broken down, junk cars in the yards or crumbling old houses. My wife and I counted on both sides of the street and there have been 52 houses built between here on 51st (Maryland Avenue) and Morrow Road.

What do you love most about being in West Nashville? It’s home. Even if I moved it would always be home. We’re in the process of downsizing and will move to a new location in a year or so. Still in the neighborhood, though.

22222222222222222222 What is the secret to your business’s longevity? Being fair and honest.

What’s the one thing most people don’t know about Cannonball’s Covers? That we’ll cover anything that stands still long enough!

October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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by Scott

MERRICK

photos by Yvonne

Eaves

wner Stan Garland’s grandfather, Eugene George (E.G.) Garland first began working on cars out behind his house back after WWII. “He actually had a paint shop during the Depression but nobody was painting cars so he went to work for a dealership,” he says. “After the war, he took a week vacation and he made more money fixing cars in a week than he did in a month at the dealership. So he called in his notice, and didn’t go back.” When he died, Stan’s father tried running it for a while. “My Dad was a great body man, but he just wasn’t a businessman. He brought me in to run it.” He continues, “We did some restoration, but we got to the point where we had to go for restoration or collision repair and we opted for repair. We’ve added to the building four times over the years.”

2222222222222222 What’s the secret to your business’s longevity? Just doing what my grandfather taught us to do--doing good work and taking care of people. When I was a kid down at his shop, probably 18 years old, some teenage boys came in and had some bicycles. One had a wobbly wheel and a bent fork, and they asked if they could air up their tires and borrow some tools to straighten the wheel up and he let them do it. After they left I said, ‘Papa, why did you let those boys do that?’ He said, ‘Those boys are going to grow up and one day, they’ll have cars. They’ll remember we let them do that.’ I never forgot it.

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What’s one thing most people don’t know about Garland and Sons Body Shop? We’ve been here so long they pretty much know everything about us. People do come in and ask if I’m kin to Wayne, that’s my brother, who played pro ball. A lot of people probably don’t know that. He played football, for Baltimore and Cleveland both.

Why have you chosen to remain located in West Nashville? It’s just our home. We grew up here and we love it here. Although I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to stay. Bigger companies have tried to buy us out. The industry is changing so much—we’re real close to the disposable car. We probably won’t be doing any major wrecks within the next eight or ten years; it’s just going to be little minor stuff, because if it’s major it’s going to total.

your name and ‘You better stop doin’ that ‘cause I’m gonna tell your momma.’ I think televisions and air conditioners ruined that, because they moved people inside. Nobody’s sitting on the front porch anymore and no one knows what’s going on in the neighborhood.

What do you love most about being in West Nashville? We love the people; we love helping folks. And they keep coming back, year after year. Why? We don’t try to rip people off. I learned years ago that you treat people right and they’ll come back. We don’t try to gouge them. There’s a lot of body shops out there, if they can get you in one time, they don’t really care whether you come back or not. We’re not that way. We do work for grandchildren of people my Daddy did work for. We’re just passing it down.”

What has been the biggest change you’ve observed? The biggest change I have seen is up on the Pike. When I was a kid, that was a popping place up there. We had movie theaters, a doughnut shop, drug stores, furniture stores, appliance stores, all kinds of clothing stores, hardware stores—if they didn’t have it we didn’t need it. Everybody in the neighborhood knew everybody. People would sit out on their front porches and you could be two blocks away and you would hear somebody shout

Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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by Evelyn

ALLEN

photos by Sonia Fernandez LeBlanc archived photos courtesy of Geny's Flowers and Bridal

he history of Geny’s is really the history of the cut-flower business. They are, without competition, the oldest purveyor of fresh flowers in Nashville. At present, John Geny and his business partner Joan Presley are carrying the family tradition forward. “The story is John and Leon Geny, Master Gardeners from Alsace, France, who came to Nashville to do the gardens of Adelicia Acklen at Belmont in the mid1800s,” says Joan. Since then, there has been a Geny growing and selling flowers in the Nashville area. At one time, Geny’s had retail stores all over Nashville but in the past 50 years, they have been primarily wholesale growers and sellers. Their latest adaptation is a one-stop bridal salon that provides dresses, flowers and wedding planning and the customer-retention rate spans three generations, with no signs of slowing down. “We are now doing weddings for couples whose parents’ and grandparents’ weddings were also handled by us,” says John. Geny’s has a had a presence in West Nashville since the 1950s. For years, the business was run from Westlawn Avenue in the Sylvan Park neighborhood, where they had greenhouses and a wholesale supplier for florists. “In the 1960s, we had greenhouses on Morrow Road that grew cut flowers—carnations, snapdragons and football mums,” John says. During the 1980s, the importation of flowers overtook the greenhouse business and since then, Geny’s has been the go-to in Nashville for fresh flowers for floral designers. Through all of these changes, Geny’s lives in the collective memory of long-time Nashvillians. “I still have 80-year-old customers call who don’t know we have moved,” John laughed. Even though they’ve been in Nashville nearly 150 years, Geny’s has called West Nashville home for over 60 of those years. With the dramatic changes that West Nash-

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ville has gone through in the last few years, it’s nice to see a business and neighbor still thriving. “The advantage of working with an experienced local wholesale provider is that we have the knowledge to ensure your flowers are the freshest they can be, and we can ensure the proper timing for your event,” says John. “You don’t always get that from ordering off the Internet.”

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Floral hours are Monday–Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. For bridal services, appointments are preferred, Tuesday–Saturday, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Every customer is special regardless of whether they are big are small.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about Geny’s Flowers? We moved from Sylvan Park to Charlotte Avenue 14 years ago, and we don’t sell flowers retail anymore.

Why have you chosen to remain in West Nashville? We’ve always been here.

What is the biggest change you have observed? The biggest change we have been through has been the Internet, because people now order straight to their door.

What do you love the most about being in West Nashville? Everybody is so nice in West Nashville!

October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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by Stephanie

SEFCIK

photos by Kayla Anderson (unless otherwise noted)

orking at Gossage’s is truly a family affair. Siblings Chuck Gossage and Lesa Gossage Cart work alongside Kim Gossage, Chuck’s wife, and Robbin Elizer, long-time employee of 29 years. Steven Gossage, Kim and Chuck’s son, and Carrie Cart Mayer, Lesa’s daughter, are two of the fourth generation of Gossage jewelers to work in the shop. Steven says he began in the shop around age 12, remembering how “I’d play in the back with a bin of costume jewelry,” always knowing he’d someday take up the family business. There’s a furry family member ready to greet new customers as well—Nicky, an adorable black dog about a foot high, sleeps on guard underneath the back jewelry counter, ready to sound the alarm if someone should try to come through the business side of the counter. A recurring theme for the Gossage family was that of treating customers like family and appreciating the neighborhood community that exists in West Nashville. They are happy to help any customer, whether buying a ring for a loved one or fixing an old-fashioned “motion-activated” watch, something Chuck says he’s done not just once, but a few times.

22222222222222222 What is the history of your jewelry shop? Lesa: The original location was where the E-light theatre is now, and they were there for about a year before moving to this location. We’ve been neighbors with the Cook family, who runs the liquor store next door, for 60 years.

How are you related to the original founder? What was it like to be part of a family business? Lesa: The shop was started by my aunt and uncle in 1949. My dad went into business with them in 1966, and my brother, Chuck, and me started working here as kids. We just did little things like clean up, replace watch batteries. Steven (Chuck and Kim’s son): I always kind of knew I’d end up here—I got into sales and management after college and knew I’d bring that experience here one day.

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What is the secret to your business’ longevity? Lesa: Being here this long, we’re friendly with customers. You develop relationships with your customers, and their families come back, and they pass it down. Kim: Honesty and great customer service. That’s why people come back to us. Robin: We treat customers like family.

Tuesday–Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about Gossage’s? Lesa: We haven’t changed really anything in the shop since my aunt and uncle opened it. One day, a man came in here and said he was the one who installed this tile floor in 1966!

Why have you chosen to remain located in West Nashville? Lesa: We have seen the area change a lot and we’ve ridden through that because we still have the same people come to us—neighborhood families—and my Dad, who passed away this year, always said, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

What has been the biggest change you’ve observed? Lesa: Kim made a huge change when she painted the cabinets. They used to be blue (she painted them cream), ha ha. Gossage’s has mostly stayed the same.

What do you love most about being in West Nashville? Kim We love meeting the new young people who are coming in to the neighborhood now.

Steven Gossage sits at the workbench his grandfather used with a photo of his grandfather taken in 1956 at the very same work bench.

Grand Opening 1949—Original location on Charlotte in the Elite Theater Building. Owner Bill Gossage, his brother Othell, sister and brother-in-law Helen and Preston Trapp, and parents Dolly and Pat Gossage. photo courtesy of Gossage Jewelers. October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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by David SCHRADER photos by Kayla Anderson

escribed as “the heart of The Nations” by a local bodybuilder stopping in for his daily peanut butter sandwich, H&H Market is owned and operated by Roger Hunt. That protein-craving patron may be new to the area, but he gets it: Hunt and his wife, Patricia, are vital to West Nashville’s charm for the personal, unassuming touch they’ve long brought to a family business that started more than sixty years ago. The market opened in 1954 as Estes Drive-In, owned then by the late Walter Estes. (Yes, that Estes family, from that grain silo—Walter’s now 91-year-old brother Lee, another H&H regular, is the one whose image stands 160 feet high on the grain silo painted by artist Guido van Helten). In 1962, Walter asked childhood friend Arthur Hunt to become his partner, and the store was renamed E&H Drive-In. Soon, ten-year-old Roger was pushing a mop bucket across the market floor for his dad, picking up more hours at age 16, and joining full-time in 1972 after high school graduation. Walter and Arthur had two stores when they retired in 1991, selling out to Roger and his brother Raleigh Hunt. The latter retired in 2016 and sold his Kentucky Avenue H&H. Patricia likes to say the name now stands for “His & Hers.”

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Indeed, Patricia and 34-year employee Lavon Dubois bring zest to the market and its famous sandwich counter, which features low-price favorites like “The Multi-Grain Healthy” (roast beef and smoked turkey) and Arthur Hunt’s original “Hobo Sandwich” (salami, baloney, ham, Swiss and American cheese). Roger has a theory about what keeps his main customers—construction crews, grass cutters, bricklayers—coming in each day. “A sandwich is just always better when someone else makes it,” he says with a laugh. “It’s nothing special, but we’ve got all the fixings.” The Hunts can expect to be fixing a lot more sandwiches at H&H Market. The empty lot across from them is slated to have 193 new residences built on it in the near future.

2222222222222222222222 What’s the secret to your business’s longevity? Patricia: The care and love Roger has for the people who have been coming in for three different generations, maybe going on four. He knows everybody—the families and their kids, and then those kids who are now having children of their own. It has been kind of sad because some of that community has slowly moved out with all the new development. So we have half of the regulars, and the other half is all new. But now it feels like everyone is just bonding together. It’s kind of neat—the young with the old.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about H&H Market? Roger: What people don’t realize is how friendly this store and its customers are. Also, I think we had the first walk-in beer cave in The Nations.

Monday–Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, closed

Are you looking to buy or sell real estate? Contact me for a free, NO OBLIGATION consultation!

Why have you chosen to remain located in West Nashville? Roger: Well, we always stayed so busy that we never even had a thought to move anywhere else! It’s kind of like being on the Internet; I enjoy being on the Internet, but I never have time.

What has been the biggest change you’ve observed? Roger: I’d say how the neighborhood has gone from rental property to people owning their own property. Before all this growth I used to know everyone’s name. Now I don’t.

What do you love most about being in West Nashville? Roger: The history—my grandparents and my parents lived here. My wife’s parents and grandparents lived here. October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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by Evelyn ALLEN photos by Kayla Anderson archived photos courtesy of Jack Jenson

Changing the world one foot at a time. ack Jensen, owner of Jensen’s comfort shoes, wants to change the world with his business, one foot at a time. “Your feet are the foundation of your posture,” he explains. “I’m passionate about educating people on how they can improve their lives through proper shoe-fitting. Feet are crucial, and the state of shoes in the modern world is built around the idea that everyone’s feet are the same. People don’t realize that there are options.” If you experience pain in your feet, your knees, your hips or even your back, Jensen’s may be the place to find solutions. Beyond shoes, they sell products and accessories like their proprietary Jensert’s— a type of orthotic insert/custom-made footbed, molded to your feet. Jensen’s Shoes started out in Belle Meade Plaza in the mid-1960s, primarily fitting children and women’s shoes. At one point Jensen’s had five retail stores. Passionate about helping people, Jack Jensen began to take a different approach to fitting shoes. “The problem with making custom shoes is they are very expensive,” he says. “It’s better to have a shoe with a good solid base and to have a molded insert.” In 1989, he moved his operations to its current home on White Bridge Road. At age 80, Jensen speaks with the conviction that comes from age and wisdom. His enthusiasm is infectious as he speaks about his future desire to educate people on the importance of proper shoe-fitting. “So many people don’t even know that their feet are beating them up,” he explains. Just like a car, you’ve got to do maintenance. My primary goal is to change people’s lives. I sleep well at night because of the good that I do.”

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What is the secret to your longevity? The secret to longevity in the business is customer service, caring about the customer and being unique. We are very unique; we have customers from all over the world. We have good products and we know how to support people.

What’s the one thing people don’t know about Jensen’s shoes? What most people don’t know is that taking care of your feet is the most inexpensive thing you can do to improve the quality of your life.

Why have you chosen to remain located in West Nashville? I’ve remained in West Nashville because it’s my home. It’s a nice area. The location is easy to reach from I-40, Highway 70, Charlotte Avenue, and West End Avenue.

What is the biggest change you have observed? The biggest change occurred in the 1970s, when I realized how inadequate most shoes were.

Monday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Tuesday–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

What do you love most about being in West Nashville? What I love the most about being in West Nashville is the customers. I love my clients. It’s a lot of fun and I love helping people.

October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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by David SCHRADER photos by Kayla Anderson

e know, we know. Maybe it’s not the same family who has owned it since 1953, but how can you possibly leave out a place like Laverte’s in a feature like this, with its deep-set, West Nashville pillar roots? Laverte’s Market opened at the corner of 51st Avenue North and Centennial Boulevard in 1953. It was originally owned by Laverte Smith, the brother of Wendell Smith whose namesake restaurant and liquor store also continue to thrive in West Nashville. Tragically, Laverte was murdered outside his market in 1973, robbed of the money he was bringing in to kindly fulfill check cashing services for local workers. But his legacy has lived on through a couple of different owners who have demonstrated their commitment to the neighborhood and its residents’ daily craving for coffee, smokes, snacks and so forth. At the time of Laverte’s passing, Charlie Sigler was already working at the market and duly took on the business, ultimately spending 47 years there until his retirement. Customers remember Charlie as a man who wore a gun on his hip and could keep the store safe in an era when The Nations was not so safe. Sigler sold his business in 2009 to Kris Hamid who had come to the United States from the Netherlands years before. Laid off from his customer service job at Delta Airlines not long after 9/11, he transferred his people skills to Laverte’s with ease, fast becoming an expert on West Nashville history. “They used to sell penny candy, and you could get a combo meal for a quarter,” said Kris. “And look at this section of the floor where the checkout counter used to be. It has completely worn out through the tile down to the concrete. That’s from all those years of foot traffic. I’ll never cover that up.” Laverte’s also proudly stocks new locally brewed craft beers—a classic enterprise helping the upstarts.

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What’s the secret to your business’s longevity? Location is one thing—we’re on the corner so a lot of people go by. At one time there were a lot of industrial workers in this area, and now there are a lot of construction people and young professionals. It’s a place where you are known. A lot of my customers I know by their first name and what they smoke. Before they even come in I put their cigarettes right there on the counter.

Monday–Thursday, 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday–Saturday, 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about Laverte's Market? It’s a popular filming location for musicians. We’ve had a lot of requests, and the 2015 American Idol winner, Trent Harmon, made a video here. It was before my time, but back when the store sold shells (bullets) I’m told the rapper 50 Cent came in once to buy some once.

Why have you chosen to remain located in West Nashville? This place is just part of West Nashville history. I have customers who moved into the neighborhood to work for 40 years at Ford Glass Plant (now Carlex), and even though they’ve retired, they still come in here wearing their Ford work shirt, getting beer or a sandwich at Laverte’s like they’ve always done.

What has been the biggest change you’ve observed? All the new houses, the roads with bike lanes. We have a lot of customers who come in when they’re out running with dogs. Back in the day it was a completely different neighborhood. We have a lot of good restaurants and breweries coming in. You don’t have to go anywhere else; it’s all here.

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Register now at nashville.gov/ce

What do you love most about being in West Nashville? It’s close to so many major areas: downtown, West End, Briley Parkway, I-65. And I like the old buildings— there’s a lot of history here.

October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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by David SCHRADER photos by Kayla Anderson

Newspaper images courtesy of The Guthrie Family

f you’ve ever felt lost or alone at a big-box store amidst a home improvement crisis, you’ll appreciate the easily accessible, personal service at Richland Ace Hardware. West Nashville residents have purchased tools, supplies, equipment and more from the shop since it opened in 1951, back when it was located at the corner of White Bridge Road and Charlotte Pike. J.W. and Pearl Owen started the place, at first just a small storefront between a pharmacist and grocer. O.D. Guthrie, Jr. joined their growing business in 1958 and helped facilitate the move in 1960 to its present location (formerly the home of Nick’s Feed Store). Guthrie and his wife, Anne, purchased the Owen’s share of the enterprise in 1974 and have kept it in the family for three generations. Today, O.D.’s son Johnny Guthrie owns Richland Ace Hardware while grandson Cole Guthrie handles the daily operations as general manager. The Guthries have seen a lot of interesting things happen at their store in their 43 years of total ownership, but one more recent event especially stands out. “In February of 2015 we got six to eight inches of snow and ice,” says Cole. “There were close to 200 people waiting in our store and parking lot for several hours waiting for our Ace truck to arrive with sleds, ice melt, shovels, and heaters. We had sold completely out of those things the day before and sold everything right off the truck upon its arrival. That was a big day servicing the west side of Nashville.” When the weather is better, customers also come in to get keys made, glass cut, knives sharpened, screens repaired, and propane tanks refilled. There’s also a paint and plumbing supply department ready to handle any project. Richland Ace employees are knowledgeable and friendly, proudly in touch with the community and ready to help their neighbors get the job done. Rest assured that old fashioned service doesn’t equate to outdated inventory. The shop stocks top name items from Stihl power equipment and Weber grills to Benjamin Moore paints and those popular ENO hammocks. And over the years, the staff has seen some well-known customers, including Grammy Award-winning singer Vince Gill and the late Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair. “Really, we like to treat all our customers like they are famous,” says Cole, hitting the nail on the head.

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What’s the secret to your business’s longevity? We do our best to treat all people (both customers and staff) like we want to be treated.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about Richland Ace Hardware? We are 67 years old and being operated by the third generation. We still have customers shopping with us that attended the grand opening in 1951.

Why have you chosen to remain located in West Nashville? The community has kept us here by supporting us for 67 years.

What has been the biggest change you’ve observed? We’ve seen a lot of changes in West Nashville in 67 years, but we would have to say the recent changes in the real estate are the most significant we have seen.

What do you love most about being in West Nashville? The people! Down-to-earth, loyal people!

Monday–Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.

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MIDAS TIRE AND AUTO SERVICE While-You-Wait Service for Many Services

www.Midas6008.com

Locally Owned

KEITH BOLDUS – GENERAL MANAGER KBOLDUS@COMCAST.NET October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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by Scott

MERRICK

photos by Yvonne

Eaves

few years before the founding of Sanders Furniture, Tommy Sanders received $500 dollars from his father to start a business up in Dickson on Dead Man’s Curve, “selling rugs and one thing and another,” says son Tim. “Our Dad moved to Pleasant View for a little while, and then he had an auction business down on Centennial in The Nations. We hand-built a block building next to it for storage, which later burned down with everything in it. He bought this building at an auction, and we started doing more business up here, so we used that other one just for storage.” Now running the business with his brother Randy, the elder Sanders says that their mother, who passed away at the age of “93 and a half” worked in the showroom all the way up until the age of 90. “I’d say, ‘Mother, just stay home, I’ll pay you.’ And she would say, ‘No, I just want to be there,’ and she would keep coming in. Everybody knew her. People would stop in just to say hi.” Tommy Sanders notes, “I have four grandchildren working here now and one (9-year-old) great-grandchild “who thinks he’s working here.” He adds that on Fridays and Saturdays the store is often so busy “it’s hard to wait on people, no matter how many you have working.” One incredibly popular feature is the touchscreen kiosk where customers can browse a vast selection of upscale options, then order, send the link to their email or phone, with an average six-day delivery turnaround. There is a standard $39 delivery fee for anything within 20 miles of the store.

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What’s the secret to your business’s longevity? Just being fair to the customer, having good prices and standing behind everything we do. We’ve been grateful and blessed that a lot of people like small family businesses instead of the big box stores. We’re more personal and if you buy something this morning and you need it today we can usually work it in whereas the big box stores may take two weeks, four weeks eight weeks to get your stuff to you after you buy it.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about Sanders Furniture? We use word-of-mouth and a lot of people new to town don’t know about us until they Google us. We have really good 5-star reviews online.

Why have you chosen to remain located in West Nashville? It’s where we were born and bred, were raised and moved around in. It’s just a good neighborhood.

What has been the biggest change you’ve observed? Tearing one house down and building four in its spot. And traffic. But you know, it’s good for the neighborhood and it’s good for business. A lot of the old people are moving, but we get new faces and new customers and we get to keep the old customers, too.

Monday–Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

What do you love most about being in West Nashville? I used to go to school across the street at Cohn High School and walk across the street to work. I couldn’t be late, couldn’t goof off, had to come to work. I’ve worked for my Dad since I was twelve and you know we’ve just never chosen to move out anywhere. This building is over a hundred years old. That helps contribute to our lower prices because it’s old and paid for. I’d never live anywhere else. .

ELLEN PARKER BIBB design | painting | letterpress

ellenparkerbibb.com

October–November 2017 | 372WN.com

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by Naomi GOLDSTONE photos by Kayla Anderson

(Liquor Store & Restaurant)

endell Smith’s Liquor Store opened in 1948 and Wendell Smith’s Restaurant opened in 1952. Second-generation owner Jakie Cook joined Wendell Smith’s family when he married Beverly Smith, one of Wendell Smith’s daughters. Cook began working in the liquor store in 1958. After Wendell Smith died of a brain aneurysm in 1967, Jakie took over as manager of Wendell Smith’s Corner and percustomfected the “meat and three” that so many of his custom ers continue to love today. In 1985, Jakie Cook bought the liquor store and restaurant from Wendell Smith, Jr. Jakie’s son, Benji Cook, bought Wendell Smith’s Restaurant in 2001, and today Benji’s sons work in the restaurant during the summer. All three of Jakie Cook’s children own a stake of the liquor store. Wendell Smith’s Restaurant has evolved in its 65-year history. It began as “kind of a drive-in,” Jakie Cook said. The restaurant also used to sell 15-gallon kegs of beer, but they had to stop. “We quit selling beers because we were drinking more than we were selling, and that wasn’t very good for business,” Cook said. When Porter Wagner and Dolly Parton would film their show at WSMV on White Bridge Road, the two would often come to dine at Wendell Smith’s Restaurant. Dolly Parton would come by herself, too. “Dolly would hang out here when she had time to kill, and I’d sit and talk with her,” Cook said. He said that Dolly still loves Wendell Smith’s: “Every time she comes to West Nashville, she sends her hairdresser to get her some turnip greens.” Wendell Smith’s Liquor Store has been successful because of how

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they have priced their goods. “When Mr. Smith was alive,” Jakie Cook said, “we went to cost plus six percent, and although we lost money, we wanted to make sure people always bought their liquor from us.”

2222222222222222 What’s the secret to your business’s longevity? Wendell Smith used to say, “Customers will forget the price, but they won’t forget how good the food was.” We personally greet every customer as they walk into the door because everyone wants to be recognized.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about Wendell Smith’s? A lot of people don’t know that Wendell Smith and Laverte—the person for whom Laverte’s Market in the Nations is named—were brothers. Their parents owned a grocery store on Centennial Blvd. near the old Tennessee State Penitentiary, so it is little surprise that the brothers opened their own businesses in West Nashville.

Why have you chosen to remain located in West Nashville? I’ve been here since 1958, and I love these folks. I enjoy taking care of my customers and feeding them a good meal.

What has been the biggest change you’ve observed?

Monday–Saturday, 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

I guess I’d say the hippies and the yuppies and the houses in the Nations. I have a more diverse customer base than a lot of the other restaurants, and no matter who moves to West Nashville, the food will always be good and the price and the service will be even better.

What do you love most about being in West Nashville? It’s convenient and customers still want a home-cooked meal, so no matter what new restaurants open around us, we’ll always be here for them.

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by Clare

FERNANDEZ

photos by Sonia Fernandez LeBlanc archived photos courtesy of West Meade Wine & Liquor Mart

est Meade Wine & Liquor Mart’s history actually dates back to the pre-WWII era, when Nick Varallo, one of the original founders, owned a restaurant and small liquor store on Church Street, which later moved locations. Shortly after, he met Anthony “Big Tony” Hostettler, Sr., who was his best manager. In 1951, Nick moved operations to West Meade, purchasing the current property and opening Nick Varallo’s Bar-be-que. He then closed the restaurant in 1972, razed the building, and constructed the wine and food mart. That’s when Big Tony became his partner. Current owners Frances Anne Varallo, Tina Hostettler Whitley and Anthony “Tony” Hostettler, Jr. have kept the business in the family after all these years. There have been many memorable moments, including visit from Titans football players and an incident of a car crashing through the front window—luckily, there were no injuries, save for many bottles of wine. Beyond grateful to their loyal customers, they host Happy Hour Friday every week from 4:00–6:00 p.m., with free beer and wine tastings. They also host a big party in their parking lot every five years, featuring a band and Whitt’s BBQ, as a thankyou to their customers.

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What’s the secret to your business’s longevity? Frances Anne Varallo: Excellent managers starting with Mr. Pete DeGrawe when we first opened. Big Tony was always there. My father spent most of his retirement days there, also. But it was my mother who would drive up, blow her horn and ask whoever came out to “straighten up those boxes” out front! Tina Hostettler Whitley: My twin brother Tony and I have both lived within a couple of miles of West Meade Wine & Liquor Mart all of our lives. Many of our customers are our neighbors, friends and relatives whom we have known since we were children. Our employees are extremely knowledgeable about wine, spirits and beer. Our customer service is excellent!

What’s one thing most people don’t know about West Meade Wine & Liquor Mart? FAV: Choosing a name was a really big deal. My brother Nick would call saying, “How do you like Grape and Grain?” I’m not sure exactly how we got to West Meade Wine & Liquor Mart but we did manage to incorporate the grape and grain on the marquee. THW: We now offer curbside service, which is particularly nice for senior citizens, mothers with children in the car, those who have had surgery, or someone planning a big event. Anyone can call ahead to 615.352.3001 to take advantage of this offer.

Why have you chosen to remain located in West Nashville? FAV: Well, we own the property—that’s a big incentive. THW: And the area is home to us.

What has been the biggest change you’ve observed? FAV: That would definitely be the Wine In Grocery Stores bill. We changed our business plan and are constantly looking for the next new, wonderful wines and spirits. Our manager is excellent at picking and choosing new delicious and affordable wines that come through our doors daily. THW: The growth of Nashville to the west of us has also been a huge change. I remember when there were no subdivisions and very few homes to the west of our store.

Monday–Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday–Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

What do you love most about being in West Nashville? FAV: It’s always been home base. I remember my mother telling Daddy that he must be nuts, that no one is ever going to drive out this far. That’s when he was opening the BBQ restaurant, when Hwy 70 was just two lanes. THW: West Nashville has always been my home. I have lived in this part of town since I was three years old. We are located in one of the nicest parts of Nashville. Our customers are old friends and new friends.

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photos and text by Stephanie

SEFCIK

haley’s Body Shop is a West Nashville institution that has been repairing cars and building relationships in the community for almost 60 years. Current owner Linda Whaley is the daughter-in-law of J.T. Whaley, who founded the shop originally known as Lovvorn & Whaley’s back in 1958. The shop relocated to Alabama Avenue in 1982. Linda enjoys being a part of the close-knit, neighborly atmosphere of West Nashville, and the way people help each other out (she donated the paint and labor to paint the giant purple thistle atop Thistle Stop Café on Charlotte Pike!). She makes a point to include a hand-written thank-you note with a few “goodies” to put in every car that comes through the shop. “We average about 120 notes a month, and that’s something I take pride in doing myself,” she explains. “My job may not be glamorous, but it’s also never dull.” Underscoring her point, Linda recalls a specific incident from a couple of years ago that involved one of her friends, and it’s a definite contender for the ‘now I’ve seen it all’ category. “She had this Dole banana blanket—it was yellow and had bananas on it,” she says. “Her car was leaking something and her husband put that blanket under the car to protect the garage floor. When she backed out, she somehow it got wrapped around her wheel . . . she pulled into the shop having dragged that banana blanket all the way down Charlotte Pike. This happened in the late 1980s and it’s still the top story in my brain—that bright yellow blanket with bananas all over it, rolling down Charlotte Pike.”

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Whaley's making the giant thistles that they donated to their neighbors at Thistle Farms.

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What is the secret to your business’ longevity? I hang my hat on customer service. When they come to us, a lot of people don’t understand the [auto repair] process and so you just educate them when they’re here. We strive on repairing the car correctly and giving them back a safe car they can feel comfortable driving.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about Whaley’s? We’re female-owned. Women love it when they walk in and I happen to be working the front when they find out I’m the owner. Not to say anything about men specifically, but in general, we are a little more organized, a little more compassionate, and I like to interact with my customers and not stay behind the scenes.

Why have you chosen to remain located in West Nashville? Whaley’s has become a household name here. The demographics, too—there aren’t a lot of body shops near Bellevue. They chose not to allow any body shops within the Bellevue zip code, so the next closest shops west are in Fairview/Dickson. I pull clients from the Nations, Belle Meade, Bellevue, Sylvan Park, all around here.

What has been the biggest change you’ve observed? We’ve seen a lot of revitalization here. The volume is so much higher in people living here that we’ve definitely seen an increase for maintenance and also from people who are driving distracted. I keep about a 4–6 week backlog of non-emergency work.

What do you love most about being in West Nashville? West Nashville is expanding, but it’s still a community. Like I said before, we’re a household name here—people read my reviews on Google and they know I’m going to take care of their cars.

Monday–Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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SPECIAL EDITION

372WestNosh by Carly

BROWNING

We’re dedicating this issue’s installment of 372WestNosh to the grand re-opening of The Café at Thistle Farms, which expanded, renovated and moved its retail operations (“The Shop”) to 5201 Alabama Avenue. The Café at Thistle Farms remains in its original location on Charlotte Avenue. Constant Eater took a break for this issue, and is very grateful to writer Carly Browning, who took the reins.

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T

he Café at Thistle Farms has a carefully curated menu. Its dining room is adorned with simplistically elegant fixtures and furnishings. It looks like just another hip spot in the “new” Nashville. It’s not. Its intentionally calm aura is a manifestation of the good energy Thistle Farms has been exuding in West Nashville for more than 20 years, when founder Becca Stevens welcomed five women—survivors of trafficking, violence and addiction—into a sanctuary of healing. The organization’s world-renowned two-year program has provided free housing, medical care and therapy to hundreds of female victims of trafficking, prostitution and addiction. Their impact has spread even further through advocacy and referral services, job training and employment within several facets of the company. Its bright light has influenced the West Nashville community and spread to spawn similar projects in cities and countries across the globe. While the café came into being only around five years ago, its identity as a safe space where women can meet, eat, work and learn is integral to the heart and soul of Thistle Farms. In recent years, the café had operated well beyond

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capacity and faced challenges at every turn. The kitchen resembled a college dorm room, with a panini press and hot pot for the cooking. The small dining area couldn’t accommodate both patrons and education classes, resulting in a frustrating and fluctuating schedule. It seemed there always was a hurdle to conquer. Determined to rise to meet the challenge, the team at Thistle

Farms decided to close the café for renovations, with the goal of giving themselves and their community the kind of space they needed. They launched a successful capital campaign, and in December 2016, they got ready to close for the revamp. And nature happened. Heavy rains collapsed the roof onto the homey wood floors within the cozy green walls. reThey closed for a month to re pair the roof, briefly opened for a quick week of farewells, and renovafinally dug deep into a renova tion that would take almost 10 months to complete. The renovation, though long and challenging, resulted in an incredible reward for the dedded icated team of employees and

community volunteers who have donated long hours to the café and the organization as a whole. “To see our team thrive in this environment is something I’m really excited for,” says Courtney Sobieralski, the café director, who has been through both the creation of the initial Thistle Stop café and the renovation. She truly believes that with this new space the team has all of the tools necessary to succeed—and then some. Stepping into the brand-new space, now known as The Café at Thistle Farms, patrons are surrounded by that familiar aura of calm and comfort. Teacups, donated from all across the country and world, have been woven into a hanging piece of art above the entryway, interlaced in netting


and suspended above simple round lights. Light streams in through simple factory windows. The biggest change is the state-ofthe-art kitchen. Worlds away from the original pantry-turned-kitchen, the beautiful cooking space will bring the menu of Culinary Director Martha Stamps to life. A Nashville native and a chef for more than 30 years, Stamps describes the opportunity to head up the café’s kitchen as a dream come true. An avid supporter of local farmers and healthful food, Stamps’ main focus for the café is scratch cooking. She is creating a thoughtful menu that is aimed at training the staff in skills that they can take into their homes

and also translate into careers. Breakfast and lunch service (7:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.) will include a variety of locally inspired dishes, including a sweet and savory pastry selection. Stamps is most excited about the main specialty: seasonal tartines. A creative canvas to reflect the seasons, these French-inspired, open-face sandwiches will satisfy any sammy bon vivant. For those on the go, a grab-and-go case of freshly made menu items is available — and it will include some house-made cakes and pies for a sweet treat or to brighten someone’s day. The Café at Thistle Farms also says it will present Nashville’s only traditional afternoon tea service. A selection of sweet and savory bites

will be served alongside various teas from Firepot and Moringa Madres. Hours are 1:00–3:00 p.m. in the tea room (also known as the private dining area.) These teas will accompany an all-day offering of signature

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coffee drinks, Just Love coffee and Nitro Coffee on tap. Whether for the tea program, the overall menu and the surrounding space, the Thistle Farms team has carefully chosen its products. All of the food and drink is sourced sustainably, locally or seasonally, or procured through an organization empowered by a similar charitable mission. Perhaps the most heartwarming aspect of the renovation is the team’s dedication to preserving the café’s original atmosphere. Those following the café from the beginning will remember the priceless California Red Pine floors, which were handcrafted by volunteers in a touching display of devotion and love. The wood from those floors has been reclaimed and crafted into banquettes that wrap through the main dining room. The walls are adorned with gorgeous interpretations of the café’s namesake: the thistle. A photo mural of a thistle field spreads across the wall of the private dining room, evoking memories of calm breezes and relaxing porch afternoons. The renovated space offers plenty of room to soak in this calming atmosphere. The front door opens into a living room setting, followed by an open kitchen and the classic banquettes. Behind the sliding barn doors is the stunning private dining room. Available during and after café hours, this dining room (or the entire café) can be reserved for rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions, business meetings, you name it. With a total capacity of more than 100, it’s perfect for any event. Behind a curtain is the private tea room, furnished with a round table dappled with sunlight. Perfect for a luncheon or a meeting, it seats eight to 10 people in a secluded setting for easy conversation. Outside a sliding glass door is the public, dog-friendly patio—a relaxing outdoor space, away from the

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bustle of Charlotte Avenue, where everyone is welcome. In addition to the dedicated restaurant space is a state-of-theart education center. Women who are enrolled in the Thistle Farms program can take classes there, and there also are public education workshops. The facility will be fully equipped for teachers and presenters. Immense care has been put into designing a welcoming space.

“We’re trying to reflect a connection with the earth and with one another, and it’s reflected in our furnishings and our style of food and our attitude,” Stamps said. The complex wouldn’t be complete without a brand new retail space to go along with Thistle Farms recently rebranded products. They still carry the popular soaps, candles and lip smoothies, plus textiles, woven baskets and more. The retail counter, with easy access to The Café, will keep relatively the same hours but hold its own vibe. The product rebrand is part of an organization-wide push to be more productive, successful and competitive on the national market. All the products now are essential-oil based and sustainably packaged, sporting a little bit of a new look. Some great deals and special edition products are promised for the grand reopening. The café, the storefront and the orga-

nization have been, and continue to be, a labor of love that could not have been imagined without the support of the dedicated community of West Nashville. Sobieralski thinks back to the construction of the first café and the challenges they were able to overcome with the help of volunteers. “The first moment of seeing this community come together was beautiful,” she explains. “Community is where healing takes place.” It’s a feeling, she says, that fuels each day for The Café. Each day in the café, the staff begins with group meditation and intention setting. The core team has set the tone for a hardworking, loving community that’s deeply rooted in the neighborhood that surrounds it. “We all believe that physical, mental and spiritual health all come from what we eat and the way we treat each other,” Stamps says. Operations Manager in training, Angela Willis, is a graduate of the Thistle Farms program and credits it with helping her learn to love herself. “It takes a community of people to help us get back what we lost,” she says. And the community of Thistle Farms is dedicated to making The Café at Thistle Farms a spot that brims with passion, love and great food. Ready to join the family? The Café at Thistle Farms is looking for volunteers to take regular shifts once a week in the café. Volunteers will help with the daily operation of The Café and The Shop, which couldn’t function without their help! If you are interested, email Courtney Sobieralski at courtney@thistlefarms.org. Carly Browning is a semi-recent Nashville transplant with a B.A. from Ithaca College in upstate New York. www.carlybrowning.com


WEEDEATERS

by Miriam DRENNAN

only YOU have to know it’s yard clippings

Lambs quarters is a leafy green that can easily replace spinach in many dishes. he avor is milder lac ing the bite that some leafys have, which makes it a great addition to smoothies. Some of you may know it by its other name, “goosefoot,” and it’s a great source of Vitamins A, C, B6, calcium, iron, folate, fi er . . . yo get the point. yo s er from allergies, however, please sample before diving in—goosefoot pollen is a weed allergen. Lambs quarters and beans makes a great side dish—it’s a variation on similar dishes made with spinach or turnip greens. Add more beans, a slice of cornbread and you’ve got yourself a meal!

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LAMBS QUARTERS AND BEANS 1.5 pounds fresh lambs quarters 1 tablespoon olive oil

This is the final installment of the Weedeaters series, in order to make room for some exciting features coming up in future issues of 372WN.

HAPPY FORAGING, EVERYONE!

4 cloves garlic, minced lee s or t o small panish onions finely chopped 1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained or soak dried beans overnight and cook in advance teaspoon chili po der or red pepper a es Salt and pepper, to taste Rinse greens and squeeze out excess water. Repeat until sand is removed. Steam greens in tightly covered pot until wilted. Drain and chop them, setting them aside. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and leeks. Let them cook a few minutes until leeks are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally. Stir in the lambs quarters, beans and chili powder and or red pepper a es. rn heat to lo and cover. oo or a e more min tes ma ing sure the lambs quarters are warmed throughout. Use salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately. Serves 6, about 90 calories per serving.

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lives in The Nations.

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372Who kNew? Name: What’s your relationship to West Nashville? How long have you been here? Favorite thing about West Nashville? Favorite food? color? drink? dessert? hobby? Where will you be on Friday night? Dog or cat? Mustard or mayonaise? Mountains or beach? Dream occ pation hen yo

ere five

What’s your hidden talent? What’s your superpower? What excites you about West Nashville?

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Minh Le is a marketing and public relations professional at DVL/Seigenthaler.


372WN vol i issue6  
372WN vol i issue6  

October–November 2017

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