Libby Callaway is a fixture of the city’s creative scene, and Keep Shop is soon to be a fixture of the city’s retail scene. Curated by Libby herself, Keep Shop is a 600-square-foot wellspring of creativity located on the street level of the newly opened Noelle hotel in downtown Nashville. “Keep Shop and Noelle give people a glimpse at what creative Nashville looks like,” Libby says. And creative Nashville is represented everywhere — from the shelves of Keep Shop to the bathrobes hanging in each of the hotel’s bathrooms.
Situated on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Church Street, Noelle is an old hotel made new again. The building was constructed in 1929 and originally opened as Noel Place, a luxury hotel. Nearly 90 years later, the building has been restored from offices to a boutique hotel, this time with 224 rooms, three bars, a restaurant, coffee shop and retail space.
Upon entering the hotel, you are met with art deco design that is evident in the pink Tennessee marble, terrazzo floors, carved wood ceilings and brass detailing — all original architectural features that were thoughtfully preserved. Nick Dryden of Dryden Architecture & Design directed the design and worked alongside Feltus Hawkins Design to execute the vision of Rockbridge, the hotel’s parent company, which worked with Dallas-based hotel operator Makeready, to open Noelle. In marrying the hotel’s past with the city’s bustling present and very bright future, Dryden assembled an all-star cast of local creatives: Benji Peck, Bryce McCloud, Andy Mumma and Libby Callaway.
Benji Peck has an eye for design, and his talents shine through the work he does at his creative branding business, Peck & Company. His branding efforts are displayed at Noelle, but most notable of these is the blue heron, the hotel’s mascot, which can be found just about everywhere you look. Bryce McCloud, of Isle of Printing, developed and oversees the art program, which includes works of his own as well as a curated selection from local artists to fill the walls of the hotel’s public spaces and rooms. An on-site print shop, to be named Little Prints, is in the works and will bring a working printing press back to Printer’s Alley. Restaurant goers will have an up-close look at the print shop and experiential art space, and Bryce at work. Restaurant Makeready Libations & Liberation serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with Executive Chef Dan Herget at the helm. Upstairs, you will find the hotel lobby bar, Trade Room (Rare Bird, a rooftop bar, will be opening this spring), and Drug Store Coffee. Andy Mumma of Barista Parlor brought Drug Store Coffee to downtown, so folks can now get a cup of his brew, which has garnered a cult following in Germantown, East Nashville, the Gulch and downtown.
Libby’s involvement in the entire Noelle project comes in three parts: Her locally based creative consulting company, The Callaway, handles local and national PR. She also developed The Line, a newspaper found in the hotel that is designed to telegraph the history and evolving story of Nashville’s creative community. And Keep Shop is her “baby.” “The M.O. of Rockbridge has always been to highlight the best of local design. They identify local creators and help define the feel of the hotel,” Libby explains. “Noelle is here to celebrate modern Nashville style and culture.”
Keep Shop is a place where you’ll find French toothpaste from LEBON, a custom Stetson hat and a few things in between. “This is a place for local makers to be creative,” Libby says. “Who to involve was a no-brainer.”
Those involved include Ceri Hoover, Lemon Laine, Little Seed Farm, Otis James, Nikki Lane of High Class Hillbilly, Savannah Yarborough of AtelierSavas, Aila, Ona Rex, Emil Erwin, Jamie + The Jones, Third Man Records and the list goes on. Many of these makers created products exclusive to Keep Shop. Laura Lemon of Lemon Laine created a custom face oil, and Little Seed Farm created a custom scrub. You will find Benji’s blue heron on bandanas by Otis James. Tea towels by New Hat mimic the wallpaper donning the downstairs bathroom walls. Libby contributes vintage clothing and jewelry for the mix, and also teamed up with Stetson to design a hat. Ceri Hoover designed Libby’s favorite bag in exclusive colors.
Libby allowed herself and her tastes to shine through the store’s selection. Curated vintage pieces were pulled from her own collection, and she divulges her secrets by including makers outside of Nashville, such as Neon Zinn. On Thursday, February 22, the first in a series of pop-up events will feature this New Orleans-based company. Stay tuned for more companies to use Keep Shop as a platform to share their work and tell their story.
Nashville has a network of brilliant makers, and Libby intends to familiarize you with each of them. “We want people to shop, but more importantly we want to engage people with the creative community,” she says. “Ultimately we hope to send people out to shop more with local retailers.” Providing Nashvillians and their visitors with a different look at Nashville’s creative community and the mission of bringing retail back to downtown are the foundations of Keep Shop.
Stop by the store to see the who’s who of Nashville creatives and the inspiring work they create for locals and visitors to wear and enjoy. The clothing, apothecary, accessories and jewelry will always be changing, and we can’t wait to see what Libby finds next.
For more information regarding the hotel and its many experiences, click here.
Images are courtesy of Noelle.
Discover more local shops in our SB Guide!