Nashville is HOT, literally, with temps nearing triple digits, and as a popular destination for discerning foodies, shoppers, artists and entrepreneurs. Neighborhoods that were once defined as lower-income, industrial pockets — East Nashville, West Nashville and Germantown — are now meccas for high-end retailers, gourmet restaurants and luxe living spaces.
A new area of North Nashville, recently christened the Buchanan Arts District, is now undergoing such change. Initiated by the brand Nisolo, which moved its showroom to Buchanan Street in 2015, other small businesses recognized the potential of the area and quickly followed suit. This past year alone, several big-name designers and makers have moved to the area and the trend is gaining traction.
Emil Erwin, a luxury leather goods brand, opened a light-filled showroom on Buchanan Street in the past year that displays their gorgeous bags, as well as a small selection of jewelry, accessories and home decor. The whitewashed brick corner store, contoured in sleek black trim, is refined, but rustic, speaking to the overall vibe of this new North Nashville. Nisolo is tucked next door and boasts a beautiful, airy space with artistic displays of their ethically sourced merchandise. The folks at Nisolo are excited by the growth on Buchanan Street and the promise it holds for small businesses. “Nisolo has called North Nashville home for the last three years now. Prior to our current location in the Buchanan Arts District, we were over in Germantown,” says Nisolo’s Devon Murrie. “North Nashville has a long and rich history of entrepreneurs and small business owners. Given that Nisolo is a growing startup ourselves, we were drawn to that legacy and are excited to be a part of its revitalization and development alongside great peers.”
Also new to the block is Otis James, the cap and necktie designer and maker which once resided in Marathon Village, another hub for creative entrepreneurs. Otis’ products are simple, sophisticated and well made, demonstrating a real attention to material and craft. His cheery patterns and subtle tweeds have become wildly popular, and Otis doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon, as his new Buchanan Street warehouse promises extra showroom space. Nearby is a leather handbag company by Annie Williams, whose minimalist designs are created and manufactured solely in Nashville and whose materials are gathered from vintage sources in small batches. Her handbags have gained traction locally and nationally with creative campaigns that showcase her distinct Americana aesthetic. Her collection ranges from cardholder wallets to foldover clutches and oversize totes, all in delicious natural hues.
Just down the road, located inside Earthen Studio, is Camellia Fiber Co., which sells a collection of handspun yarns and luxury fibers, each “ethically sourced and minimally processed.” Not only do they supply quality materials to Nashville creatives, but they also offer workshops and classes where they teach the value of these often displaced crafts. Additionally, they sell beautiful, American-made spinning wheels that are works of art in themselves. Kidd Epps Art Shop is yet another company that’s making a splash in North Nashville. They specialize in handcrafted contemporary furniture, decor and lighting, and their products have landed in some of the South’s most drool-worthy spaces. Businesses like these are evidence that Buchanan Street is hardly a hip stream of overpriced shops, but a center for arts and crafts where makers, suppliers, buyers and sellers have a constructive relationship.
An arts district wouldn’t be complete without its spattering of local coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Of course, neighboring Germantown has a slew of the city’s finest eateries, but Buchanan Street is excited to welcome a few of its own that offer a different atmosphere and price point. Mai-Bee’s Southern Cuisine, a sister to the beloved Chief’s Family Diner, is slated for the area, as is Tasty Wings, spearheaded by Wanda Amos. Slim & Huskys, a laid-back craft beer and pizza joint that champions a friendly, neighborhood vibe, has also opened on Buchanan Street this this month. With that lineup, we can’t wait to see how North Nashville grows!