What Southern Living magazine calls one of the South’s best comeback neighborhoods was not long ago referred to, with a hint of side glance, as “the other side of the river”.
Neighborhood visionaries Bret and Meg MacFayden met on the set of “Ernest Scared Stupid”, a Jim Varney film shot in East Nashville in the 1990s, long before East Nashville staples like Turnip Truck (a locally owned, natural food grocer) and Margot (renowned French and Italian cuisine) were East Nashville landmarks.
Bret and Meg own The Idea Hatchery retail space, affectionately referred to by tenants as simply, “The Row”. After a culmination of years listening to “creative types” coming through their workshop and business, the Art & Invention Gallery (located next door), designed spaces that were large enough for new business owners to create a cohesive presentation of their idea. So, the Idea Hatchery was born (or built, rather) and became a community of eight small buildings hosting eight small shops ranging from from clothing to artwork, to prepackaged oatmeal and handmade toffees, to a local author bookstore.
We all know how popularity works in a hot spot. When you’re on all the “it lists”, certain growing pains go along with that — rising costs and the sense of community literally gets overshadowed by high rises, cranes, and distracted by all-things new and shiny. What’s unique about this retail space is Bret and Meg have purposefully kept rent affordable in order to preserve a reasonable entry level opportunity for small businesses giving the owners the same opportunity given to them when starting many of their endeavors. Some of their other projects include the yearly Tomato Art Festival (last year drew more than 45,000 people!!), I Dream of Weenie (please order the Rebel Yelp weenie for me), Art and Invention Gallery (custom furnishings, metalwork, commercial fixtures and design work… some creative project is always in the works) and a list of other projects on their extensive East Nashville and also film production resume.
Mostly out of pure nosiness, I asked Bret what his favorite personal project is and as a East Nashvillian myself, I love what he had to say. “My favorite personal project? It probably is not a project at all. It has been watching each project find its footing AND working with my kind and generous friends at every turn. Keep in mind there have been hard, brutal days (each thing we did was a significant risk when we did it…and we went through 9/11, two wars, a market boom, bust and boom again) but Meg and I feel our time has been well spent…we are the lucky ones…for sure.”
This is why we love local. See what the Idea Hatchery has to offer below and be sure to show them some love online or in person next time you’re in the neighborhood:
Envy-worthy western vintage and selective new is what you’ll wonder into at Tanya Montana Coe’s, Goodbuy Girls. Tanya – who herself is a musician – has hand selected each piece as only an artist’s eye could. Did we mention a wall of vintage cowboy boots?
Alegria has been a neighborhood boutique in East Nashville for 14 years. The shop has locally crafted merchandise as well as fine leather goods, art, and accessories from all over the word. Be sure to say hello to Bil and pet Casey the dog while you’re in there!
Hello Boys is another great shop located in the Idea Hatchery in East Nashville at Five Points on Woodland. Full of vintage boots, bags, belts, and more, it is THE place to shop for the man in your life. Most days you will catch one of the owners, Gavin, at the store and he’s always ready to help you find the perfect item or just let you browse away.
East Side Story is Nashville’s first all local bookstore and is a platform for igniting, teaching, and encouraging the spirit of reading and writing in Nashville. A platform for local writers to tell their best story, their goal is to be a viable outlet to share these stories online through the website and at the physical bookstore.
Fat Crow Press is owned and operated by Julie Sola, a self taught printmaker who had the good fortune to work at Hatch Show Print where she learned to typeset, mix inks and work on her carving skills. Her shop is filled with her linoleum cut prints, fabrics, pillows, lamps and children’s books, all hand printed with her original work.
John Cannon Fine Art is located in The Idea Hatchery, 1108 Woodland Street, Nashville, Tennessee 37206. June is the 10 year anniversary of the studio gallery concept. At his studio, John paints commissioned pet, people and architectural portraits, and creates his own unique works, including his “skyscapes” and abstracts. John is an award winning artist, and has work around the world.
Let’s talk shop! What are some of your favorite places to shop local in your neck of the woods?