NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Every day someone shows up in Nashville to chase their dreams of working in the music industry, and many of them work in the hospitality industry so they can support that dream.
Right now, more than 71,000 jobs are supported by the hospitality industry in Nashville, and that’s up more than 4% from just last year.
Lisa Horngren is one of those hospitality workers as a tour guide with Sweet Magnolia Tours. But her route to Music City was a little unconventional.
“I was an engineer for twenty-six and a half years, and two friends and a relative died and I was working in 7 different bands and music was bubbling out of me,” said Horngren.
When she’s not giving tours to Memphis and Lynchburg from Nashville she plays the bass all over the world.
“In my heart at 7 I wanted to be in Johnny Cash’s band. And I did anything I could. I saved my little allowance money and I bought Johnny Cash records,” said Horngren.
Decades later she played with some of Cash’s bandmates.
Her energy and enthusiasm helped Horngren win Nashville Convention and Visitors Corps’s coveted Hitmaker Award for outstanding customer service.
She was nominated after going out of her way afterhours to make sure two tour guests got home from the tour conveniently after a hotel mix-up.
“That’s really crazy but cool. I’m grateful, but I would do that any day,” said Horngren.
Horngren’s boss Dawn Evans says hiring people like her draws tourists to Nashville.
“She’s just such a genuine personality. Everyone falls in love with her the minute they meet her,” said Evans.
Horngren just views it as her duty and one of the things that makes Nashville so special.
“We’re always trying to be better the next time and try to serve. I love serving and I love helping so being able to do that and being able to do that with the entertainment part-- it’s a great fit,” said Horngren.
Each month the Nashville CVC selects a new Hitmaker and if you would like to nominate someone submit their name here.