Home Cd store Nashville record store struggling with intense real estate market

Nashville record store struggling with intense real estate market


The Groove is a small record store tucked away in a 1920s artisan-style house east of Nashville, Tennessee.

“The whole personality of having the house is having a squeaky door,” said co-owner Jesse Cartwright, “so we know when people come in.”

Inside, racks of vinyl records lined the walls, covered with band posters and black-and-white photos of punk shows. Cartwright straightened a few albums perched above the fireplace.

“It’s like being in your best friend’s house, browsing records,” he said.

In addition to being welcoming, the Groove has built a reputation for being a community space. He hosts concerts with bands – often before they get big – like Alabama Shakes and singer Yola. In the fall, he throws spooky movie nights with a projector in the backyard.

But the Groove is in danger; its owner sells the property.

Fortunately, part of the lease gives Groove owners the ability to purchase the building before it hits the competitive Nashville real estate market. Unfortunately, the price is almost $ 500,000.

“People say it’s a good price for Nashville, and I agree,” Cartwright said. “But for a small business, that’s a lot.

Cartwright’s husband and Groove co-owner Michael Combs stepped in. “We don’t have half a million dollars lying around in the bank. I would like us to do it, but we don’t.

Jesse Cartwright (left) and Michael Combs own the Groove. (Photo by Paige Pfleger)

Combs said they would need to raise funds by the end of January, and the massive expenditure comes at a precarious time for the company.

On the one hand, vinyl is more popular than ever. Sales have exploded.

“But the supply chain is tough right now,” Combs said. “And they are struggling to source vinyl. So that also drives up prices. “

In turn, profit margins are falling.

Plus, independent record stores like theirs aren’t the only ones getting in the action.

“There is a lot more competition because stores that never made a big deal out of vinyl, like Target, Best Buy, and Amazon – there aren’t any CDs anymore, but they have vinyl sections,” he said. said Combs.

The Groove has built a reputation as a community space. (Photo by Paige Pfleger)

These factors make the price of the building even more inaccessible.

What happens to the Groove is becoming a familiar tale in Nashville, especially among independent music-related companies.

For example, beloved Exit / In made a similar offer to own their space through crowdfunding earlier this year. Despite these efforts, the building was sold to a developer.

Fortunately, this developer has stated that he has no plans to demolish the place, so it’s business as usual for the rock club.

But standing outside the Groove, Jesse Cartwright said he’s worried their building might not be so lucky.

“If we don’t buy it, as soon as it is bought, it will be bulldozed,” he said.

All around Nashville little old houses like this are being bought and torn down. Sometimes several modular-looking houses or mixed-use buildings are grouped together on the same lot.

Cartwright said this type of cookie-cutter development doesn’t fit Nashville’s culture.

“We can make progress, we can make a hot city, without destroying everything that makes Music City Music City,” he said.

Nashville is growing rapidly, and Cartwright is hoping businesses like his won’t be left behind.