Giving you a tour of Marathon Village has been on my radar screen for over a year. The vast majority of Nashvillians don’t know what Marathon Village is, much less how to get there. Built around 1881, this 130,000 square foot industrial complex was home to the now defunct Marathon Motor Works. What remains is a huge conclave of red brick buildings located north of Charlotte Avenue on Clinton Street, which house a collection of some of Nashville’s most eclectic and diverse shop owners and make East Nasty look tame. From Tennessee craft-made bourbon and coffee drinks with names like Slingshot, to clothing (both bespoke and vintage) stores, to Antique Archaeology (Mike Wolfe’s store, of American Pickers tv fame) and more, you can find just about anything here.
I guess what intrigues me the most is the foresight of Barry Walker, the landlord of Marathon Village. Back in 1986, he secured the first building for a pledge of about $300, and with that meager sum battled drug dealers, gun toters and more. When the big chunk of other buildings became available, he found more money and kept on buying. Flash forward all these years later, and now this location, situated next to downtown, Germantown and the Gulch, is arguably one of Nashville’s most sought-after destinations. Proof of this lies in the changes that I saw in the brief 5 months since my last visit. Lots of new tenants have moved in and many have expanded to a larger space. True to his word, Barry Walker has a goal of keeping rents low to attract entrepreneurial businesses.
Admittedly, I am a tree hugger and lover of old buildings, so with the demise of the southwest corner of Hillsboro Village, the Rich Schwartz building and many other Nashville landmarks, Marathon Village is a mecca (of sorts) sitting smack dab in the middle of town that I just can get enough of! It makes me smile to walk through the wide halls with exposed brick and big pipes and see how this old space has been repurposed and, now, thrives.
My tour is divided between what has been at Marathon Village a little while, what’s new and what’s coming.
To say this is a popular shop is complete understatement. In fact, on some weekends, you’ll find a line wrapped around the building, with each visitor looking for a piece of nostalgia–American Pickers’ style. Once you get inside, you’ll be blown away, promise. Antique Archaeology is filled to the gills with antiques and tons of t-shirts. Most of what I wanted to purchase had a Not For Sale tag attached, but my years of antiquing tell me everything is always for sale for the right price. Wandering around there makes you feel cool.
Meet Emil Congdon, one of Nashville’s most talented and gifted craftsman. The next time you want to invest in a gorgeous leather briefcase or duffel bag, stop by his studio.
Maker and purveyor of handmade, custom ties and hats, Otis James combines old school craftsmanship with a modern aesthetic.
I got to take a look at Otis James’ new studio. It is a gorgeous space with custom lighting and furniture. In the next room, you can see all of the fabrics and sewing machines.
A little heaven on earth, right here. Bang Candy is one of our favorite local companies. At their new location here in Marathon Village, you can find their candies, baked goods and famous syrups in great supply.
Here is the skinny–two sisters headed up from Louisiana to make their mark on Music City. Their store contains oodles and oodles of curiosities. To read more about Moonshine Nettie’s, click here.
You have to check out their site. If you come in there with love handles, you ain’t leaving with ’em. Their client list includes Eddie George and a bunch of high powered execs, so what’s not to like?
Childhood friends Darek Bell and Andrew Webber began home brewing beer and wine, only to find their true passion was making whiskey. Soon after, Corsair Distillery was founded. Corsair’s spirits have been praised in publications like Food and Wine and Saveur.
Ok, I am biased, but as we sit in the hot seat of country music, I still think if you don’t like rock n’ roll something’s gotta’ give. Arguably, Lightning 100 is one of the best radio stations in the country.
Your go-to source for Americana music is located right next store to American Pickers/Antique Archaeology. Yep. It’s a picker’s heaven. From blues to bluegrass, they’ve got it all–mandolins, banjos, resonators, guitars, accessories. Check out their new video TV channel to see Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner singing ” The Last Thing on My Mind.” Pretty cool.
Here’s What’s New:
Is Nashville’s newest, coolest hipster magazine. It is free for the taking. If you want to read more, click here:
They weren’t open when I stopped by, but a quick look at their Facebook pages tells me to go again. The shop is filled with great chairs, lighting and tons of accessories.
Opening Soon! (We hear.)
Imogene + Willie Offices
You can’t buy a pair of jeans here, but Imogene+Willie have moved their corporate offices to Marathon Village. If you want the jeans, you’ll still have to hit 12th Avenue South. To read more about Imogene+Willie, click here.
Named after the engineer, William Henry Colliers, who designed the Marathon Automobile, this new bar promises to be a huge hit. How can it not be with its location right next to the Marathon Music Works and a thirsty clientele waiting for a cold one. Word has it the owners also own another favorite watering hole, The Exit Inn.
I could go on and on here–I’m only skimming the surface with this review today. For a complete listing of the businesses located in Marathon Village, visit the website: http://marathonvillage.com.
P.S. Marathon Music Works is deserving of a post all its own since so much is going on. Check out their music listings here: www.marathonmusicworks.com.