February 22, 2016

Businesses Find New Ways to Work

WPLN News – Nashville Public Radio
by Bridgit Bowden

A chief economist from Fifth Third Bank says that the number of new business openings in Tennessee is gradually approaching the number of closings.

Fifth Third’s Chief Investment Strategist John Augustine said the transformation of old space into new businesses is fueling the slow economic recovery.

“We see a lot of businesses that were one thing before the recession, or properties that are something else after the recession. There’s a lot of creativity going on around filling up commercial space, and that’s very good.”

In a busy strip mall in Brentwood, Michael Woody’s new ice cream shop is the perfect example. He sells about thirty flavors that range from cinnamon roll to bananas foster. His trendy shop used to be home to an Oriental rug store. He spent several months renovating the place, but felt that it was the right location for his business.

“It was around all the high schools, the families, and a really good area of Nashville that, you know people, I felt were looking for something that pushed the limit a little further with their food.”

There have been almost 1000 more business openings in Tennessee this year than there were at this point last year.

Woody says that the recent economic downturn helped give him the opportunity to open Glazee Artisan Ice Creams.

“When the economy goes bad, you have to look at it not as a bad economy but as a buyer’s market. I mean, obviously all the rents and all the construction prices plummeted during the last few years, and I was in a financial position where I could take advantage of that. So, it just became a really good time to do something like this for me.”

He says he feels lucky to be so successful- the shop started paying for itself after only six months in business.