Early Tuesday morning, a devestating tornado hit downtown Nashville, leaving at least 25 people dead and destroying numerous homes and businesses. As relief efforts continue, we're learning more about the stories of those affected by the damage.
Sneaker and clothing store Music City Vintage was among those impacted by the storm, losing its entire storefront along with Gold Club Electric Tattoo, which shared space with the business. Around a dozen Instagram images from Music City Vintage depict the aftermath, including employees trouncing through rubble and a handful of scattered remains once housed in the shop. Despite the destruction, store co-owner Trea Broyles tells Complex he and his team are trying to keep their spirits high.
"[It] sucks for us, but there’s people who lost houses and their whole lives," Broyles said. After opening the shop with partner Justin Allman in December 2018 in an agreement with Gold Club Electric Tattoo, Music City Vintage had amassed a sizable following in a relatively short amount of time. Now, the same community who once shopped in the store are chipping in to help the employees get back on their feet—and the store is doing the same in return.
Recounting the night of the tornado, Broyles says he was alerted to possible damage at around 2 a.m. after receiving text messages from a few friends letting him know the storm had torn directly through his store's location. He looked online for pictures, but couldn't find anything that showed Music City Vintage, so he and his wife jumped in the car, fearing the worst during their hour-long trek into the city. When they arrived, the whole block had been demolished, and Broyles describes he and other business owners staring in awe at the devestation and experiencing a "wave of emotions."
With their cell phone lights, he and a few friends began doing what they could to salvage items before a gas leak caused police to evacuate the scene. Broyles returned the next morning, and that's when he says he and Allman realized how bad it really was. Between the time he left and returned, the store had been looted, and daylight gave a full glimpse at the wreckage. But soon, customers and peers starting showing up in droves to lend a hand.
Although the property is a complete loss, Broyles says the spirit of the community is helping he and his employees stay positive through it all. Small things, like finding a pair of OG 1985 Air Jordan 1s they had once hung from a beam still intact or the beheaded remains of a Bearbrick figure, are helping them remember the good times they had at the store. Broyles says his friends Tyler (who started a Gofundme to help the store recover), Cheyenne, Cullen, Daniel, Diamond, Dom, and Dylan have been especially helpful in assisting the cleanup.
Now, Broyles wants to return the love the community has shown him, and says he and his employees have been donating and volunteering throughout the city in the days following the tornado. "[It's] the very least we could do, even though we’re hurting, we want to give that same energy back to everyone who helped us out," he said. "We made it this far. Yeah, it’s a setback, but at the end of the day we can always make it right back and move forward."
Readers can visit Music City Vintage's Gofundme here.