Music & Sound Retailer September 2021, Vol 38 No 9

Page 44


A Musical House All Players Can Call Home By Michelle Loeb At Fanny’s House of Music, Pamela Cole and Leigh Maples seek to create a music store that serves as a safe and inspiring space for all musicians, no matter their gender, aptitude or walk of life. “We make a point of treating everyone the same, whether you’re a professional guitar player or a six-year-old child picking up a guitar for the first time,” said Leigh Maples and Pamela Cole Maples. “Boys and girls come in here on a level playing field, and there’s no questioning if the other can play or not. It’s quite a thing.” The idea to create a store that treats all players equally stemmed from a lifetime of experiencing both the high and the lows of being a female musician. Cole and Maples are both bassists and came to meet each other in college due to the sheer novelty of having two female bass guitarists on one campus. From that common interest grew a friendship that spanned decades, as Cole managed artists and ran her own business, and Maples worked in the restaurant business while continuing to tour. “We stayed close, followed each other’s careers, through the good and the bad,” said Cole. “We were in our late 40s and figuring out what to do next. And we happened to be in the same place at the same time to open a music store.” Added Maples, “One day we were in a coffee shop, and Pamela said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was a music store that was welcoming for everyone?’ And we thought maybe this is what we were meant to do.” With that, Fanny’s House of Music was born. The store opened in what had been a residence dating back to the 1900s. The building currently houses three lesson rooms, in addition to a retail sales floor that offers vintage clothing alongside a selection of catalog and player-quality vintage acoustic and electric instruments, amps, pedals, percussion, and accessories. Though the building required extensive renovations, Cole and Maples made sure to keep some of its more unique elements, including the hardwood floors and a threeway fireplace that divides the room “We brought in some of our own antiques, and we have an antique 44

Fanny's mural

Fanny’s House of Music 1101 Holly St. Nashville, TN 37206 (615) 750-5746 Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Pamela Cole and Leigh Maples, owners

counter from a general store,” said Maples. “We want it to feel like you’re walking into a house of music.” In order to make their space inviting for female players in particular, Cole and Maples made one very deliberate decorating decision: “We also only have women with guitars on the wall,” explained Cole. “We’d noticed that not even Bonnie Raitt was on the wall at Guitar Center. But a young girl can come in here and see herself on the walls.” She continued, “It’s important for young girls to mirror someone. Like if you’ve never seen a female astronaut, you’d never think a woman could go into space. We want them to see that a woman can do that.” Cole and Maples also go out of their way to make sure that there is a mix of both men and women on the staff, on the sales floor and as part of the lesson program. “Because we’re in Nashville, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a singer-songwriter or a musician, so that helps us with hiring, but we still have to be intentional about it. It’s easier to find a female singer than it is to find a female drummer or electric guitar player,” explained Maples. In addition to Cole and Maples, who work at the store full time, the store currently has five employees who work part-time in order to balance their music careers with their time at the store. “The people who work here are in bands, and they want to perform, so we make room for that,” said Cole. “We understand because we lived that life too, so we promote that and we’re very positive about it.” The unique customer service and shopping environment Fanny’s SEPTEMBER 2021

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