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On The Rise: Bars struggle in changing Nashville climate

Posted: 1:21 PM, Dec 18, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-18 19:29:55Z

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It was always Ryan Brown's dream to own a bar in Nashville, which is why closing Stirrup sports bar last week was the hardest decision he's ever had to make.

Brown used his entire life savings to purchase the bar a few years ago. Located near the Nashville Fairgrounds, he was hoping to stay afloat until a new MLS Soccer Stadium was built. But the bar continued to lose money the last few months and Brown saw no other option. He closed the doors and laid off his bartending staff.

"It was easily the hardest decision I've ever made in my life. You're not just making a decision for yourself, you're making a decision for the people that work for you," he said.

The closing of Stirrup is emblematic of the larger challenges facing small business owners in Nashville right now. While the city is experiencing unprecedented growth, it's also seeing a massive influx of new restaurants and bars. With more businesses opening, it makes it harder to compete for a piece of the pie.

Facing similar financial circumstances, dozens of other bars and restaurants have closed around Nashville since the start of 2018.

"There's so many new places that opening that there's not time for people to develop loyalty before another new place pops up down the street," Brown added.

In an effort to avoid further financial trouble, Ryan has put Stirrup up for sale. He's hoping in Nashville changing climate that a new owner will come in quickly. 

"You don't want to feel like you've failed at something, like you let other people down."