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.

The Idea Hatchery, 1106 Woodland St. Nashville, TN 27206
The Idea Hatchery, 1106 Woodland St. Nashville, TN 37206

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.

Tomato Art Festival
East Nashville’s Tomato Art Festival

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:

Goodbuy Girls:

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?

Goodbuy Girls, 1108 Woodland St. Nashville, TN 37206
Goodbuy Girls, 1108 Woodland St. Nashville, TN 37206


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!

Alegria, 1108 Woodland St. Nashville, TN 37206
Alegria, 1108 Woodland St. Nashville, TN 37206

East Side Story:

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.

Eastside Story, 1108 Woodland St. Nashville, TN 37206
Eastside Story, 1108 Woodland St. Nashville, TN 37206

Fat Crow Press:

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.

Fat Crow Press, 1108 Woodland St. Nashville, TN 37206
Fat Crow Press, 1108 Woodland St. Nashville, TN 37206

John Cannon Fine Art:

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 worked around the world.

John Cannon Studio, 1108 Woodland St. Nashville, TN 37206
John Cannon Studio, 1108 Woodland St. Nashville, TN 37206

Let’s talk shop! What are some of your favorite places to shop local in your neck of the woods?






6 thoughts on “Community in Commerce: East Nashville’s Idea Hatchery”

  1. Gayle Padfield

    How exciting to find this article shared by Mike Wolfe of American Picker fame! I was Bret MacFadyen’s babysitter for many years, and I am as proud of his & Meg’s accomplishments (as well as those of his sister Marney) as I am of my own children. Maybe someday I’ll get to East Nashville to see it all in person!

  2. Karen Wright

    I’m in East Nashville girl as well although I live in Murfreesboro at this point I will be visiting soon.

  3. Karen Wright

    I am from East Nashville went to East Nashville High School love the upcoming of our neighborhood it looks wonderful we just sold house on Stratford that belong to my mom and my grandmother and now we were down there a lot my sister Casey and I but will be back very soon we love it!!!!!

  4. Jeff boggs

    I have alot of junk but none for sale. Lol in not that old yet maybe one day but i did just get several bundles of shop rags i ordered from mike online to wipe my junk off and love the way the are cut offset and all stitched up and patched up .

  5. Jeff boggs

    Received my shop rags today from mike to wipe down my rusty gold i refuse to part with and now i got people wanting my ole shop rags cause the logo and the way they are made is so cool. Great buy … thanks mike

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