East Nashville Record Store The Groove remains committed to staying in place | Characteristics
Even as they strive to raise enough money to purchase the property on which The Groove resides, co-owners Michael Combs and Jesse Cartwright want their supporters to know that they are “pursuing all available options” in their efforts to save the record store. The owners of the store, who took over the longtime staple of East Nashville from founders John Moore and Louis Charette in 2017, discovered in late October that their owner would sell the Calvin Avenue building that is the home. of The Groove since 2010.
Combs and Cartwright are certainly not the first to take on this challenge, especially in Nashville, where house prices have been skyrocketing for a long time. This year alone, the property housing Exit / In has changed hands, and the owners of the Mercy Lounge complex have announced that they will be looking for a new location to open a store after their lease expires in 2022, making the future of these places less certain. .
A key difference for The Groove, however, is that Combs and Cartwright were given the right of first refusal, giving them the ability to purchase the building before it went up for sale. But that forces them to raise enough funds by the end of January, and the price is way beyond what they could afford on their own.
âIf we can’t and don’t buy the property, they plan to put it on the market immediately,â Combs told the Scene. “And once a new buyer buys it, then we’ll either have to leave it or try to lease it to them, but we don’t think that would be an option.”
The Groove could potentially move out if they find a new property to rent, but Combs says that even if they are actively researching, that option seems unlikely. It highlights the current rental market in Nashville and the difference between updated rental rates and the rates they are currently paying. Even with the space and parking limitations at the current location, Combs and Cartwright host a range of events there each year, such as Record Store Day concerts, benefit shows, signature events with artists and artists. horror movie nights around Halloween. They broke news of the potential sale on November 15, sharing details of their situation on social media and launching a GoFundMe with a goal of $ 500,000. At the time of going to press, the total exceeded $ 16,000.
âWe didn’t want freebies, we just needed help,â says Combs. âIt’s all going very quickly. There is a quick timeline, and the GoFundMe is only part of that as we are pursuing all the options available to us, but we couldn’t wait until the last minute to start a GoFundMe.
At the same time, Combs and Cartwright are working with a broker, realtor and lawyer to explore other possible solutions that could allow the store to remain open if they are unable to purchase the building.
âWe’re not quite ready to say it all yet, but there are different scenarios as to how this might work,â says Combs. âAt the end of the day, we would like to be the sole owners of the building so that it can’t happen to us later, but there are other options as well.â
Combs and Cartwright are committed to finding a way to keep The Groove open. The store is one of a relatively small number of LGBTQ-owned record stores. As they said in their initial Instagram post, âWe love that our customers can walk through the door and feel comfortable, welcome and appreciated. No judgment here, just music for everyone. Since launching GoFundMe and asking their community for help, Combs and Cartwright have received a surge of support, encouragement, and donations that have only strengthened their resolve.
âThe response has been overwhelming in a big way,â says Combs. âWe have received so many messages, comments and emails of support and love, and people have determined that we are buying the building is the only one [acceptable outcome]. This makes saving The Groove even more important, as it’s such an important part of Nashville and East Nashville and the community.
As people continue to donate and spread the word, Combs also encourages store supporters to continue checking their social media for updates as several fundraising events are currently underway.
âA lot of our friends do fundraising shows, pop-up shows, Twitch shows and things like that,â Combs explains. “And as the dates start to come true, we’ll start announcing them on our social media so people know.”