Ashley Nawal is founder of and publisher of a new guide for urban professionals.

By Peter White

NASHVILLE, TN — A new guide for urban professionals hit the streets this week. Ashley Lawal, who runs the website published the 24-page guide to ”urban hotspots and many of Nashville’s hidden gems”, according to a press release.

“It offers readers a new way to discover and experience the music city,” Lawal said.

Happy Hours “not to miss” can be found at the Americano in the West End, Little Donkey in Germantown, Nine Bar in Antioch, and Fin & Pearl in the Gulch. Tasty treats are served at Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria, Vanilla Bean cupcakes at Short Cakes Cakery, Green Tea Ice Cream at the Rolled 4 Ever Food Truck, and catfish nuggets at the Germantown Pub.

Nawal said the number of minority professionals is growing in Nashville but newcomers have a hard time getting connected or feeling they are not represented. The guide is to help them discover things to do and places to go they may not know about.

“There is a lot of going on. A lot of people are doing a lot of great things in regards to starting their own business or within their corporation or their non-profit,” Nawal said.

The guide highlights black-owned businesses like The Garden Brunch Cafe and Sinema, a restaurant and bar that is located in the old Melrose Theater on 8th Ave South.

Unusual for a publication of trendy consumer tips, the guide features stories and photos of its readers who are minority entrepreneurs and professionals. Some are homegrown and some are transplants but all are running businesses in a fast-changing Nashville. Lawal produced the guide with collaborators Francesca Rutherford and Sheena Steward. All three are women of color.

The first edition is 24 pages and Lawal plans to publish the guide quarterly. It can be found at Woodcuts, The Cupcake Collection, The Garden Brunch, The Nashville Post, and Nashville Public Library. You can also order the guide here:

Nawal handed out the guide to 100 black women who attended the Equity Alliance kick-off event last week to empower black women.  You can get a copy of the guide at several upcoming events including the kick-off party for the 2018 Blogger Xchange Xpo at The George Jones restaurant on Saturday, August 18, and the 36/86 Entrepreneurship Festival August 27-Sept 1 in Nashville.

The guide has a profile of Charlene Oliver who started the Equity Alliance. It is dedicated to advancing opportunity for minorities. Oliver is a community liaison in Congressman Jim Cooper’s office and created a Nashville Voter Guide for the midterm elections.

Another feature story is about Don Hardin a well-known Nashville builder who has an impish sense of humor. A Tribune reporter came up to him at a meeting of black business-owners and asked him if he was Don Hardin. ”He was here earlier but I think he left the building,” he said. The Tribune later quoted Hardin about the difficulty black-owned businesses have getting building contracts with the city.

There are six profiles in the guide and a video series about black women called “A Mother’s Work” on the website. They are mothers who run businesses. One is Dr. Terry Spurlin, a dentist in the Melrose District and a mother of two. Another is Rhonda Shaw, owner of The Moving Canvas. She brings paint and supplies to kids’ birthday parties. The third story is about three foodies, Amber Green, Jennifer, and Erica Greer, sisters and mothers, who run a popcorn shop in East Nashville called Kernel’s Gourmet Popcorn. It is located on Gallatin Ave near Cahal Ave.

“I hope people are excited and they have a go-to resource to stay connected here in Nashville. We love sharing stories and if anyone feels they have an amazing story they think should be included in one of our upcoming guides that would be amazing,” she said.