The East Side houses some of the city's most unique shops
By Hollie Deese
It seems many of the city's grittiest entrepreneurs have all congregated on one side of the Cumberland. East Nashville has its own, very distinct personality and that is readily reflected in the independently-owned boutiques, shops and stores found around the Five Points and beyond. Shiny new items can be found anywhere, but on the East Side it is all about that special find that can't be found in multiples. Over at the 1108 Shops at Woodland, many of the best shops can be found in one cluster. From the local-authors and their goods at East Side Story to the finely-curated vintage clothing at OMG and Hip Zipper to the tunes and local music found at Fond Object and Fanny's House of Music, there is no argument that East Nashville has a style all its own. With buzzy dining destinations, innovative galleries and a sense of neighborhood camaraderie that could rival any others in town, East Nashville and its residents have decided to do things their own way, on their own terms. And what shoppers have gotten is an abundance of locally-designed jewelry, an eclectic collection of cassette tapes and racks of well-chosen vintage. They are certainly doing something right.
The Green Wagon
The Green Wagon's main goal is to make living sustainably convenient for their East Nashville neighbors, and their neighbors are glad they do. All of their products - from edible to cleaning care - are held up to a rigorous set of standards based on all-natural ingredients, sustainable production practices, and local, US production. There are also an EV charging station, so try to leave the gas guzzler at home. Their latest offerings for winter include Breathe Easy, and all natural vapor rub, Scratchy Soother goat milk and oat soak for dry winter skin, peppermint and eucalyptus sinus steam and honey, all made in Tennessee. ((615) 891-1878)
Independent and locally owned, Specs took up residence in East Nashville after some time in Green Hills. Now located in Five Points, they sell high quality ophthalmic eyeglass frames, prescription lenses and sunglasses with or without prescription lenses. An on-site lab allows them to control the quality of lenses and, in most cases, get them cut and installed the same day. They are always trying new lenses, but can special order any pairs you prefer. Their collections are constantly changing, but look for stylish specs from Jason Wu, Derek Lam, Betsey Johnson, Kudith Leiber and 3.1 Phillip Lim. ((615) 329-3959)
Fond Object Records
This record store and arts collective that dabbles in vinyl, cassette, VHS, CDs and DVDs while also offering a selection of vintage furniture, custom clothing and jewelry items. However, it is the tunes that rule, and the selection of music is pretty amazing. You can spend hours going back in time with the vinyl selection, and sometimes you can catch bands out back playing to an intimate crowd. Owned by Coco Hames of The Ettes, the shop fits right in with the rest of the magical misfits servicing the area with its own offerings of everything cool. ((615) 499-4498)
East Side Story
East Side Story has quite a story of its own. In 2012, writer Chuck Beard entered his idea for what would become East Side Story into a nationwide idea contest titled Launch that was put together by Nashville's own Proof Branding Solutions. East Side Story won, and after snagging a brick-and-mortar location when there was an opening at The Idea Hatchery on Woodland Street, they opened their doors. The bookstore is filled with local literature-based artwork and shelves of locally written books. Come back often as they constantly rotate and display photos of artwork and reviews of the current books on the shelves. ((615) 915-1808)
Goodbuy Girls is the place to discover vintage treasures and contemporary outfits on a budget. Since their opening in February of 2010 the owners, Tanya Montana Coe and Kimberly Davison, have dressed hundreds of customers who they lovingly refer to as their GG's. Goodbuy Girls is constantly being stocked with new goods, so it does not hurt to stop in weekly to see the new arrivals and get the latest dish from the GG's. In the shop you will find casual, business and evening wear, as well as locally handmade feather accessories, boots, shoes, purses, jewelry and a recently added Men's (Goodbuy Boys) rack! It's not uncommon to see a Valentino piece hanging next to a hippie dress on the racks or a vintage Gucci sitting next to a handmade tapestry bag, as the shop carries a variety of brands and styles. ((615) 281-9447)
The epitome of all things local and cozily situated in East Nashville, Alegria offers jewelry, handbags, candles, soaps, clothing and a slew of other pretty pieces and accessories. This shop is more than ideal for picking up a gift, and while you're there, you'll probably want to treat yourself! Conveniently located in the Five Points shopping district, Alegria has neighborhood pride; much of what you'll find within its doors is locally handmade. You'll also find one-of-a-kind leather goods from owner, Bil Breyer. The leather artisan makes custom leather belt buckles, guitar straps, gauntlets, leather jewelry, cuffs, and one-of-a-kind custom fit sandals. ((615) 227-8566)
Hey Rooster General Store
Nashville native Courtney Webb is the shop owner, and she designs and makes a line of jewelry and accessories that has been in boutiques and museum shops across the country, including The Museum of Arts and Design. Of course, not East Nashvillians can find that as well as a rotating selection of of small-batch food and handmade goods right in their own backyard at Hey Rooster. This modern take on a general store focuses on living a well-crafted life, although you could always just come by for a soda and a chat just like they did in the past. ((615) 712-7680)
Hip Zipper Vintage
Open since 1999, The Hip Zipper is a pioneer in the neighborhood, and in fact, is considered to be one of the city's oldest all-vintage clothing shops. Owner Trisha Brantley sells only the good stuff, and fans come back more and more because the quality is so good. Men and women can both find fine duds here, every day of the week. And if you have a treasure trove of vintage items to sell, Brantley is interested in purchasing them, especially items from the 1930s-1980s. Not only that, the stock changes with the season so you aren't stuck mooning over sundresses in sub-zero temps. ((615) 228-1942)
Old Made Good
If magpies were able to secure a loan, they might open a place like Old Made Good, known around these parts as OMG. A little bit country, a little bit rock n' roll, OMG embodies everything East Nashville is all about right now - creativity and entrepreneurship with a devil-may-care attitude. Shoppers can find carefully curated furniture pieces, classic vintage clothing and one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces made by the owners themselves. And they have the full support of the community. When they moved locations and wanted a gold glitter floor, they took to Twitter to raise the $5,000 they needed - and ended up raising more than $7,000. That's a lot of glitter. ((615) 457-0543)
Fanny's House of Music
You'll notice right away, Fanny's House of Music is not your "normal" music store. With the belief that playing and buying an instrument should be an easy and comfortable experience, Fanny's carries all kinds of music and instruments in a simple store layout. From Hagstroms to Hello Kitty, their customers love the great selection of new, used and vintage merchandise. Their vintage gear comes and goes quickly! You are going to want to make a habit of coming to the East Nashville store-front or checking the online store often. They take trades and will gladly consign your used gear. Fanny's provides professional repair for your guitars and amps. Also inside at two vintage shops - Star Vintage and Mom & Pop Culture Shop. ((615) 750-5746)
About Hollie Deese
Hollie Deese is a Nashville-based writer who has spent the past 10 years falling in love with the sights, sounds and flavors of Music City. Hollie has 15 years experience as a writer and editor for regional and national publications, including The Tennessean, USA Today, Nashville Interiors, and the Nashville Ledger.
Read more about Hollie Deese here.