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Andy Crawford Photography

I have lived in Nashville since I was 5 years old. Prior to that, I was an Air Force brat who lived in a new city and state every year, and in 1991, my parents decided to leave the Air Force and settle down in Nashville. The rest is history. Now, I did spend some time living in New York City and South Korea in my adulthood, but Nashville always pulled me back into its orbit, especially when the city started to blow up.

Around 10-15 years ago, Nashville began making news. There'd always been a slight hum because of country music and its direct connection to the music industry in Los Angeles, but there were other factors in Nashville's booming growth at play like the healthcare industry, financial incentives for founding a start-up in the city, and further incentives for larger businesses (like Amazon, Google, etc.) building assets within city limits. 

Since around 2005, Nashville has seen Amazon and Google build here, new start-ups like SmileDirectClub kick off their business, and Lyft, Uber, and Postmates all open customer care headquarters. Suddenly, Nashville became the "It" City because of its growth and low cost of living (especially in comparison to the exorbitant prices in New York and LA). 

With all of this growth comes inevitable change. Long-standing local businesses close, new chains come in, and the "scary" parts of the city become gentrified by white people pretending that they're doing it because they're making the city more attractive and approachable. I won't delve into that today because honestly... I don't have the energy, and I'm not 100% sure people are ready to talk about it.

Today, I found out that the landlord of one of Nashville's longstanding restaurants, The Old Spaghetti Factory, would be terminating its lease and that they would not be reopening. There are a bunch of motivations behind this, but the main one is money. First, less than 2 months ago, a crazed lunatic set off a bomb on Second Avenue which ended up completely destroying many historical buildings downtown. Some of those buildings were declared a total loss. COVID also had a massive impact on all businesses, but especially restaurants, over the last year. In fact, just a week ago, another Nashville favorite, Rotiers, announced that they would be closing their doors forever due to the loss of business.

This is not a new feeling and is one that has been building for quite some time now, but my wonderful Nashville is truly no more. This may sound like I'm giving into gloom and doom, but I promise I have a point.

Nashville has changed. While it's perfectly fine to be nostalgic and mourn the loss of businesses that were a part of your formative years, there also needs to be an element of adaptiveness. As the American writer and pastor, John Maxwell, once wrote, 

Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.

 And he's right. Yes, we need to fight for the things we love, but we also need to train our eyes on the future. We must adapt along with the changes lest we get left behind. And with the pace that Nashville is going, it will be easy to fall behind and get lost in the settling dust. I don't plan to live the rest of my life here, but while I'm here I plan to acknowledge the places that helped me learn who I am but also embrace the establishments that will provide further context and experiences to my adulthood.



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