A lot has changed in 40 years. In 1981, Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th President of the United States, the Iran Hostage Crisis came to an end, Major League Baseball went on strike, Sandra Day O’Connor took her seat as the first female justice of the Supreme Court, over 750 million viewers watched as Charles and Diana tied the knot, and MTV officially launched in all its rocking ’80s music glory. Here in Nashville, there was a lot to brag about on a local level as several businesses opened their doors for the first time, becoming local fixtures we’ve relied on ever since. As Nashville continues growing at breakneck speed, we salute two local brick-and-mortar businesses that have survived and thrived for the past four decades and are turning 40 this year: Private Edition and Sprintz.
Forty years is unquestionably a milestone to celebrate. Just ask Linda Roberts, who founded Private Edition, an upscale Nashville cosmetics and skincare boutique, on April 1, 1981. Setting up shop in Green Hills, she found a void in the market that was as yet unfilled by bringing to town European brands that Nashvillians couldn’t find anywhere else. Little did she know that her burgeoning business would become such an esteemed and longstanding shopping staple. “I was 34 years old when I started it,” says Linda. “I had three kids and no money; I was just 1,000% plugged in. I worked seven days a week.”
Linda’s work ethic paid off. Forty years later, Private Edition has weathered four recessions and now, a pandemic. Through it all, Linda has continued to grow her business, and she now owns not only Private Edition, but also The Cosmetic Market and Therapy Systems. They all work hand-in-hand to offer clients top-of-the-line beauty products and aesthetic services. “Forty years ago, Private Edition was the first entity to sell all these European brands,” Linda shares. “We brought standout players that nobody else was carrying, and that really came from the fact that I was lucky enough to travel with my husband. We’d go all over Europe and find all of these weird things and bring them back. So, I feel like the [success came from] bringing all these high-end, prestigious brands to Nashville. You’ve got to stay ahead because there’s always somebody breathing down your neck who’s going to try to duplicate what you do. We’re still in business because we’ve continued to evolve. We certainly haven’t had the budget that Sephora or Nordstrom have, so I’m always grateful we’re still here. And we’re going to stay in business! My business goes way beyond me. It’s really about customer service, being innovative, and being a small business that’s really plugged in — not just locally, but nationally and internationally.“
To celebrate the milestone in style, Private Edition is hosting a two-day event that includes champagne, treats and promotions galore. Still, Linda says the entire month will be a celebration to remember. It kicks off on Friday, April 9 with their wildly popular Goody Bag Day, and this year, the beauty-product-filled bag is valued at more than $500 (the biggest they’ve ever had!) and given to clients who spend more than $350. “Goody Bag Day is always the biggest day of the year,” says Linda. “We’re going to have a big celebration — socially distanced, of course — and we’re doing some things for our clients that we’ve never done before. Then the party continues on April 10.”
In 40 years, Linda and her staff have seen changes in everything from the explosion of eCommerce to the crucial introduction of curbside service. “The number one change that’s occurred in the last few years, where there’s no going back, is convenience,” says Linda of the pandemic’s impact. “It used to all be about service, but that has now become secondary. Convenience is the number one change for everybody — I don’t care if you’re selling tires or selling lipstick. There’s no going back.”
Linda credits Private Edition’s longtime success to three things: incredibly hard work, devoted staff members, and never giving up. “Here I am at 74, and I work seven days a week,” she says. “I never quit working. I can tell you there have been five or six times when I should have called it quits. But once you’re defeated, it’s all over. Even with this pandemic, I’ve told all of my corporate employees that we’re going to come out of this stronger on the other side. So, you’ve got to work your tail off, you got to have great people who help you through, and you can’t give up regardless of what hits you in the face. You look at it, and then you move past it. That’s the whole secret! The rest is chatter.”
Officially opening on June 12, 1981, Sprintz Furniture started in an empty, 10,000-square-foot warehouse in Belle Meade Plaza that had once housed a Kroger. With careers in design and furniture store management (respectively), founders Alyse Sprintz and her husband Charles took over the building as it was on the brink of being demolished, turning it into a storefront filled with sofas, loveseats, beds, dressers and more. “They had only $1,000 in cash and a commitment to their customers to find them the highest quality furniture at the best prices available,” says current owner Bruce Sprintz, who also happens to be Alyse and Charles’ son. “By 1982, they had attained exclusive contracts with the country’s finest furniture manufacturers and moved to the current White Bridge Road location where they built a 25,000-square-foot store.”
The business continued to grow, and not only has the original warehouse expanded several times, but there is also now a second store location in Cool Springs. “We keep thousands of items in stock, have 45 design and sales associates, and a staff of 130,” Bruce says, attributing much of the company’s 40-year success to the staff. “We are blessed to have an incredible group of longstanding employees who genuinely care about making customers happy. We’ve also maintained the tradition established by [Charles and Alyse] to source the best products from the best vendors anywhere in the world and to offer our customers the best prices available anywhere.” Additionally, there are currently three Sprintz generations represented in this family business.
Though the celebratory anniversary plans are still in the beginning planning stages, Bruce and the Sprintz team look forward to an event later this year, including some great sales, to commemorate the past 40 years of success.
Cheers to 40 years! We wish Private Edition and Sprintz another 40 years (and more!) of success here in Music City.
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