Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Online Network Created to Link Local Professionals

NSIDE Nashville BusinessA new online network has been established to connect business professionals in the Nashville area. Merrell Ligons, Director of Interactive Media at News Channel 5, created NSIDE Nashville Business to foster business relationships and the exchange of ideas in the local market. Ligons hopes the network will become “a lot of very intelligent, influential people gathered in one place sharing ideas, doing business, and making what I hope to be life-long friends.”

In addition to his responsibilities at WTVF, Ligons also writes the New Media Marketer blog where he discusses how the Internet is rapidly changing the advertising industry. In the blog, he encourages readers to share real world experiences, ideas, and opinions about Internet advertising and new media.

Participation is key to the success of the new business network. “The thing about networks is that the more people that participate, the more each member gets out of it,” says Ligons. “Because NSIDE Nashville is about making connections, the more people that participate in the NSIDE Nashville network, the more we will all benefit.”

Sound interesting? Join NSIDE Nashville.

Downtown: One gain, one loss

Pleased to report that the Homewood Suites has opened on Church Street in Downtown Nashville. Unfortunately, Judge Bean’s is leaving the Gulch area and moving to the site of the old Sluggers restaurant at Greer Stadium. Can’t win ’em all.

More Good News for Nashville

Tennessee has been ranked in the top 5 of the most economically competitive states in the U.S. The study by veteran economist Arthur Laffer, creator of the Laffer Curve, and Stephen Moore, a writer for the WSJ, confirms what many Tennesseans might already suspect: The lack of a state income tax and our strong right-to-work laws are helping the Tennessee economy grow. As the authors say:

The winners in this contest for the most valuable resource on the globe — human capital — are generally the states with the lowest tax, spending and regulatory burdens.

Part of the reason I’m posting this article is that I know a number of our readers may disagree with it. Let the discussion begin!

Why Nashville Is A Little Greener This Weekend

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This weekend, Vanderbilt University is hosting what is possibly the most important event in social and environmentally sustainable business practices; Net Impact.

Ok, so I can see you give whoop but it’s a pretty big deal in the business community. Either way, right now Nashville is the epicenter of the green movement with speakers from Patagonia, to Conservation International to Dupont.

If you are out and about on Saturday and feel like dropping in on some interesting speakers, check out Net Impact 2007. Registration is minimal or you can just check out the live blogging at

Is Chocolate Expressions the cafe north siders have been longing for?

Ever since I moved to Germantown (and no doubt well before that), I’ve been hearing folks talk about how much they want a coffee shop in the neighborhood. We had a tease a while back when one of the retail spaces on the street level of the Summer Street Lofts had a sign saying that a coffee shop was “coming soon” (and then, mysteriously, later said “pending“… and then disappeared entirely). And the new Starbucks at 8th and Dominican in Metrocenter is almost close enough to count, but even if it were right next door, most of the locals would prefer a locally-owned place.

So it was a pleasant surprise a few weeks ago when I noticed the “cafe” sign on a historic house at Jefferson and 7th. The rest of the signage identified the business as “Chocolate Expressions,” an African-American art gallery and bookshop… with free WiFi. Nice. My hometown in the south suburbs of Chicago had a book room and tea shop (though without the WiFi), and it looked like this might have a similar multi-purpose feel, so I was curious to check out the vibe inside. I went by once or twice hoping to catch them open, but the hours weren’t what I expected: the shop doesn’t open until 10 AM. (Which strikes me as a bit of a problem, but I’ll get to that later.)

I did stop by yesterday on the way back from the craft fair at the Farmers Market. The space is divided into two rooms, front and back, with the front room being used for selling books and art (of which the owner, Mark Miller, tells me some is locally created so that’s definitely a good thing), and the back room is where the coffee and food is served. I had a cup of coffee, which is served from vacuum pump pots. I didn’t notice espresso machines so I’m not sure specialty coffee drinks are served, but the coffee was pretty good. (The cups, however, are styrofoam. Hopefully that’s just a temporary accommodation that will be replaced with something both more eco-friendly and more palatable as resources allow. If you can, bring your own cup in the meantime.)

The posted hours show an 8 PM closing time on most days, so this isn’t exactly a night owl place, either. But from the looks of it, the focus will be on the early evenings for regular events. Here’s a sampling:

Thurs, 9/20 – Networking Night 5-8 PM
Fri, 9/21 – Wine Tasting 5-8 PM
Sat, 9/22 – Germantown BBQ 5-8 PM
Sun, 9/23 – Book Reading 2-5 PM

and so on.

Back to the late opening hours. If this business has any hope of satisfying the neighborhood cafe demand — and to be fair, I don’t know that they do have that hope — it’s almost a foregone conclusion that there will need to be earlier hours. As one of my neighbors quipped, “See, the thing about coffee is…” You don’t need the rest completed for you — it’s a morning beverage for most folks.

On the whole, this looks like a solid addition to the neighborhood business profile — not to mention a great resource for African-American books, art, gifts, and community. I strongly encourage folks in north Nashville especially to check it out, buy some coffee, meet Mark Miller and Frederica Hall, and let them know you plan to be back.

Chocolate Expressions
624 Jefferson St. Suite A
Nashville, TN 37208

Chains, chains, shackles and chains

Just a quickie to point out this Nashville Business Journals item about Einstein Bros. Bagels (they have the best ticker symbol: BAGL) and Max & Erma’s looking to open here in town. I’ve seen both in various places throughout the country but have never been to either.

Anyone with experience care to weigh in on whether we should be excited?

A Big Deal for 100 Oaks

The much-ballyhooed redevelopment of 100 Oaks Mall could finally be underway – and it’s not exactly what you’d expect. Instead of turning 100 Oaks into the true mixed-use, live work and play enviroment that it could be (ala Atlantic Station in Atlanta), the mall’s new owners in Dallas have decided to lease over half the property to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Now this isn’t altogether a bad thing. It will certainly rejuvenate the area, bringing in more daytime workers, boosting sales at the other retailers in the mall and in the surrounding areas, and probably raising property values in the neighborhood to boot. But it’s also a sad case of what could have been.

We could have gotten a true redevelopment: a mixture of apartments or condos along with new office, medical space, and retail. The groundwork was already in place with Southeast Venture’s Armory Oaks mixed-use redevelopment next door, and with one of the country’s largest movie theatres right on the property. Instead we got a bunch of clinics and backoffice uses.

100 Oaks has, geographically and access-wise, one of the best locations in the city. It’s a shame that it won’t be put to a higher use.

Nordstrom on the Way?

Confirming what local businesspeople and commercial real estate types have been talking about for weeks, the City Paper today discusses the possibility of a Nordstrom department store at Green Hills Mall. This is obviously great news for local shoe enthusiasts, fashionistas and idle housewives. Me? I look forward to shopping for new suits with a live pianist playing the background music.

What other establishments – retail, restaurant or otherwise – do you readers wish Nashville had? Let us know in the comments.

Mind your businesses!

Over at Enclave, S-townMike laments having to pick up doggy doo, and offers his patronage to anyone who sets up a dog poop cleanup service. Head over there and help him out if you know of any such service in Nashville.

But what really caught my eye was the category he assigned to the post: “Businesses We Need.”

Surely, I says to myself, there must be a ton of these. And who better to volley ideas with than the readers at Metroblogging? And if someone comments that “we need X” and someone else says “we already have X, and here’s some information on how to find it,” well, then, so much the better.

I’ll start: Trader Joe’s.

Who’s next?

Finally, A Smoking Ban… Sort Of

The legislature has at long last stepped up to the plate and passed a smoking ban in Tennessee, and the governor has said he will sign it. So what’s the problem? Unfortunately, though restaurants are included, bars aren’t covered by the new regulations. I’m still waiting for the day when I can go bar-hopping and not come home smelling like an ashtray. No one in other cities around the country with a full ban seems to have a problem stepping outside for a cigarette.

Oh well – it’s a start.

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