Donelson Businesses Brace for Development Boom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In less than one month, Nashville's city council will vote on a project that could transform the heart of one of its fastest growing suburbs. Donelson's transit oriented development would add several acres of mixed-use development just off Lebanon Pike and create a walkable plaza around the existing Music City Star station.

Ultimately, it'd create a walkable, downtown district in the heart of Donelson. For existing business owners, it'll undoubtedly draw more customers and more competition.

But some of Donelson's newest entrepreneurs believe that can be balanced out by a strong community.

"I think as the city grows and you see that push out of growth from downtown this way, we have a unique opportunity to plant our flag and say we're going to hold onto the things we love about small towns," said Keith Schwartz, who owns and operates Caliber Coffee alongside his wife Alaina. "We love being able to talk to the guy at the gas pump or saying hi to a random person."

Caliber opened just a few months ago, but already, the business is implementing new ideas to foster relationships.

Last week, they hosted a class to teach others how to make cold brew coffee at home. Next month, they'll host a crocheting class.

Inside, they offer a Shot of Grace board that allows customers to pay for a stranger's drink. Through fundraisers, they've sent two employees to camps for teens.

They said owning a business in an area destined to boom is not all about their bottom line, it's also about supporting the people who are their neighbors. And while new development could make that challenging at times, the Schwartz's believe it's possible to balance competition with community.

"We're neighbors, we help each other, we go to the Farmer's Market and support small businesses," Keith said. "We're a collection of families that edifies and builds up and we can hang on to that and still grow."

The city council will vote on Donelson's transit oriented development on July 17.

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