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Community Highlights: Meet Conni Tilley of Venue on Main LLC

Today we’d like to introduce you to Conni Tilley.

Hi Conni, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
My husband Bill and I bought a historic building in 2006. We have been rehabbing the facility to include an eight-person Airbnb and a Venue/Bar downstairs. We had initially planned a small rental venue with some weekend music events, but due to COVID, it has become much more. To stay open during the pandemic, we used our love of wine, music, and bourbon to keep us afloat. We now rent the space during the day and have evening music events. Our love of singers/songwriters has become a big part of our music. We support and feature original authentic music. We provide monthly writers’ nights featuring top Nashville talent and some local musicians. Last year, we invested in our PA System so we could provide quality sound that is consistent and is easier for the musicians. Something that our customers and musicians appreciate.

Neither my husband nor I have ever run a bar or venue, so we are using our passions to create a unique space that combines our love of music, wine, quality handcrafted cocktails, and bourbon. We have over 40 wines and 130 bourbons and whiskeys.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road has been rough since we opened the Venue a month before COVID hit. It was a cat and mouse chase, and we had to be flexible to stay in business. When the venue space was shut down, we had bands play on the street, and we opened a bar across the door. When it got too cold outside, we sold retail wines and bourbon. Our customers rallied around us and bought their spirits from us for Christmas gifts. After we were allowed to open, we found ourselves with a music and rental Venue space and a full bar. We are just trying to get the word out about what we do.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Venue on Main is a multi-functional space that provides a unique historical urban chic vibe to rental parties, art shows, wine and bourbons tastings, and music events. We have created a comfortable space specializing in original authentic music, high-quality hand-crafted cocktails, wine, and bourbon. Not only do we serve it, we know about it. We provided exceptional hospitality; my husband was always there to answer questions or welcome you to our place. Our bartender takes the time to find out what you like and will create a custom cocktail just for you. We are probably most known for our Manhattan and Old Fashioned cocktails. We each have our version based on our tastes.

Risk-taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
I am probably more of a risk-taker. I am very creative and have lots of ideas. My husband is generally the person grounding me and looking at all of the options before we move forward. Without risk in business, there is no reward. The business and competition keep evolving, and you must change quickly to stay competitive. So taking risks is just part of being a good business person.

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