Still the 'It' City: Nashvillians Reflect on Music City's Growth and Greatness


Local entrepreneurs, officials, and thought leaders tell us what makes Nashville special.

We at MojoMediaPros love the fact that we live and work in Nashville!  

The city has been growing by more than 100 people a day, thanks in part to its affordable cost of living and that strong sense of community. Nashville is well-established in the health care and music industries. Its tourism sector is booming, from honky-tonks to professional sports to bachelorette parties to a dynamic food scene that is capturing the attention of America’s best chefs.

There’s also a thriving tech innovation scene, with vast growth resources for startups as well as talent pipelines like Nashville Software School.

But Nashville isn’t just a great place to do business, there’s a community culture that’s collaborative and supportive, in a way that takes time to really understand.

The "it" Factor

Five years ago, the New York Times dubbed Nashville as the nation’s “it” city. If you’ve lived here for a while or you’re from here, you probably get it.

Steve Lomas, MojoMediaPros’ Founder, describes it this way,

Steve Lomas, MojoMediaPros
"Nashville today reminds me of the early days of desktop computing, especially in the Mac community. We were all so eager to learn from one another; it truly broke down barriers. Everyone was accessible and willing to share. This same spirit of collaboration exists here and now in Nashville."

Steve Lomas
Founder, CEO, Idea Mechanic

To gain a broader understanding of what makes Nashville, Nashville, we reached out to local entrepreneurs, government officials and other thought leaders, asking them, “What makes Nashville such a great place to do business, and in what ways does the region help businesses succeed?”

Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:

Manuel Zeitlin, Manuel Zeitlin Architects
"Collaboration. Collaboration. Collaboration."

Manuel Zeitlin
Manuel Zeitlin Architects

Brian Moyer, Nashville Technology Council (NTC)
“The Nashville region is defined by a diverse economy, low cost of living and low barriers to conducting business, a thriving creative community, and a well-educated population. These qualities, along with the fact that Tennessee has no personal income tax, make Middle Tennessee a desirable destination for entrepreneurs, technology startups, and innovation-minded companies and individuals. This is evidenced by the fact that Nashville is ranked 4th in the Nation for startup growth and has the fastest-growing tech workforce of any region our size in North America.”

Brian Moyer
President and CEO
Nashville Technology Council (NTC)

Michael Dukes, Royal Circus
"Nashville is such a vibrant city in general – there’s so much life here, so much positive energy. And the momentum throughout the city is contagious. Among casual visitors and long-time residents alike, there seems to be a spirit of discovery. People know there’s always some cool new thing popping somewhere, so they become conditioned to expect fresh concepts, maybe even actively seek them out. I definitely think this can make life easier for entrepreneurs looking to take chances"

Michael Dukes
CEO + Founder
Royal Circus

Anthony Davis, East Nashville Beer Works
"Nashville has shown time and again over the last many years that we are a great hub in the Southeast for business. We have a very welcoming environment in our great city and Metro Government makes every effort to accommodate companies that depend on our resources for success. Nashville is still in high growth mode after many successive years, which creates more and more opportunities for companies, workers, and entrepreneurs to succeed."

Anthony Davis
President and Founder
East Nashville Beer Works
Metro Nashville District 7 Council Member

Carla Fox, Craft Content
"I think one of the best things about working in Nashville is the genuine altruistic nature of the community, particularly in creative fields. The referral engine is quite strong... Seasoned members of the creative community are consistently giving back, whether that's through events like Craft Content Nashville or by serving as mentors in other professional organizations or academic institutions. It's really unlike just about every other place I've experienced. The community here cares about the whole and wants each member to succeed."

Carla Fox
Co-Founder & Lead Organizer
Craft Content Nashville

George Cohn, Nashville Toffee Company
"Having been born and raised in Nashville, I have been a witness to growth over the last 20 years that has completely changed the cultural and economic landscape. I am proud of our diverse population as well as the abundant opportunity for companies of all sizes to succeed. There has been a wave of investment in Nashville that was notably sparked by professional sports franchises planting roots here in the late 1990s. What followed was an influx of innovative businesses, restaurants, luxury hotels, and a burgeoning tourism industry that continues to gain momentum... I cannot wait to see what the next 20 years bring."

George Cohn
Nashville Toffee Company

Tara Aaron, Aaron Sanders PLLC
"Nashville is great because it is growing, and because the businesses here are diverse and interesting. From healthcare to music to finance to entertainment technology, there are so many opportunities here. The leaders of the city have worked carefully to cultivate an environment that is welcoming and open for business, and the results are showing."

Tara Aaron
Founding Partner
Aaron | Sanders PLLC

Nancy Tunick, GrassRoots Promotions
"I co-founded GrassRoots Promotion in 1996 when Music City was primarily based on Music Row and was focused almost solely on country music. Now we are Music City for all formats and have become corporate headquarters for a number of major companies and music non-profits. The energy and momentum have changed the tone of the business here but it has only grown in excitement."

Nancy Tunick
Managing Partner
GrassRoots Promotion

pic 0011 Micdhael Woolf
"Community organizations, high-quality schools, and plentiful religious and arts communities allow more and more people to see Nashville as a place to put down roots. Nashville's diversity is a huge benefit to businesses with diverse Latino, African-American, Kurdish, Indian, and Asian communities. And, finally, support for entrepreneurs and businesses is evident, whether at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Pathway Women’s Business Center, Conexion Americas, the Wond’ry at Vanderbilt, or a host of other organizations."

Michael D. Woolf
Boon Legal

Dave Delaney, Futureforth
"Nashville is a great place to do business because it has a vast and growing talent pool. Creativity and ingenuity are a part of Music City's soul. We are in the unique position of having everything and everyone we need in one amazing place to run a successful business."

Dave Delaney

pic 0009 Kris Kelso
"The Nashville business community is very generous. People are willing to give some of their time, share their experience, and to make introductions to others. There's a general spirit of cooperation and "coopetition" - that strengthening the business community helps us all, so we don't need to be cutthroat about competition. The culture in Nashville has the right blend of ambition and empathy that encourages people to succeed by building others up rather than tearing them down."

Kris Kelso
Founder | Executive Coach
The Kelso Group

pic 0008 Jurnell Cockhren
"Nashville functions as an integration center providing opportunities to witness and participate in the multiple fields of study and industries simultaneously. People of all cultures, backgrounds, and homelands providing fresh views of pre-existent problem sets begets our innovations."

Jurnell Cockhren
Civic Hacker

Colin Pigott, Creative Mornings Nashville
"I consistently see people reaching outside of their industries for connection and collaboration. And even with explosive growth in recent years, we see our city investing in organizations and initiatives to help make these connections possible. So far, we have preserved this essential part of our culture, and I think -- with effort and intention -- we’ll continue to."

Colin Pigott
Nashville Host
Creative Mornings


Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would move its East Coast operations hub to Nashville, bringing 5,000 corporate jobs with an average annual salary of over $150,000.

Bill Haslam, Tennessee Governor
"It has never been clearer that Tennessee is a great place to do business, and we continue to attract a wide variety of global companies that provide high-paying, quality jobs for our residents,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam told Amazon’s Day One blog.

Bill Haslam
State of Tennessee

pic 0005 David Briley
"These are quality, high-paying jobs that will boost our economy, provide our workers with new opportunities, and show the rest of the world that Nashville is a premier location for business investment,” Mayor David Briley told Day One.

David Briley
Nashville, Tennessee

So apparently Amazon gets it. And hopefully, now, you do too! 

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