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Nashville’s Best $10 and Up Boutique in Marathon Village offers hats, T-shirts, jewelry and more. 

One of my new favorite shopping destinations is Marathon Village.

Even though it is less than 5 miles from my house, I had not been to this eclectic mix of shops and interesting other attractions until recently. But I will definitely be going back.

My reason for checking out this collection of historic buildings was that one of my longtime “go-to” shops, the Best $10 Boutique on Second Avenue, was demolished in the awful Christmas Day bombing and has reopened within Marathon Village.

Owner Sandy Lee, who I had first known through her (and her husband Geff’s) HCI Fundraising Everything $5 pop-up sales in area hospitals and other businesses, invited me to check out her new store, Nashville’s Best $10 and Up Boutique.

It is “rebranded, relocated and reopened in historic Marathon Village, which is such a cool area,” Lee told me.

Lee said her new store combines the “best of both” of the stores that she and her husband operated on Second Avenue. About 75% of the new store is priced at the $10 price point — hats, T-shirts, tea towels, jewelry, sunglasses, trinkets, socks, etc.

In addition, there are some higher-end items, including other T-shirts, ladies tops, metal work pieces, handbags and some locally made candles and jewelry.

And be sure to check out the walls for remnants — and stories — of the bombed-out stores. Lee’s husband, Geff, has assembled a sort of living history of that terrible day.

Lee wanted me to see her store but said the entire Marathon Village “mall” would be a perfect feature for Ms. Cheap “as there is a free museum for all to view in the hallways and full-sized Marathon cars. Many come just to see this and are blown away by all of the fun shops,” she said.

Plus, she said there are free whiskey, wine and moonshine tastings offered at several locations in the historic North Nashville complex.

It didn’t take too much to convince me to check it out!

What is Marathon Village?

Marathon Village, at 1200 Clinton St., a true mixed-use development within the 1880s Marathon Motor Works buildings and other vintage brick historic structures, has been under development for more than 35 years.

Owned by Barry Walker, there are multiple shops as well as offices, work studios, service providers, assorted creative businesses, the Marathon Motors Museum, an event space, a theater and more.

When he first started assembling the historic properties in 1986, Walker said the area was “a rough part of town.” He says he saw the possibilities early on but that the real growth in popularity has taken place in the last 10 years, with “American Pickers” leading the way with the opening of its Antique Archaeology store in 2011.

These days, the complex has become a true tourist destination with the Hop On & Off trolleys, golf cart tours and other tour operators making Marathon Village a regular stop.

But this place is not just for tourists. It is fun for us locals to roam around from shop to shop and enjoy looking at the machinery and other industrial artifacts that are on display in the hallways along the way.

“People love the industrial museum in the hallways,” said Walker, who said all of the pieces on display were in use in 1914 or earlier. Plus the Marathon Motor Works Museum across the street features six of the remaining nine existing Marathon cars. The museum is free to visit seven days a week.

In addition to the Nashville’s Best $10 and Up Boutique, Marathon Village shops include Motorworks Gift Shop, Market Street Mercantile gift shop, Antique Archaeology, Tennessee Legend Distillery, Lorraine Frances jewelry, Jack Daniel’s General Store, Bang Candy Company, Vincent Peach jewelry, Paige Barbee Jewelry, Nashville Olive Oil Company, D. Luxe Home and the Boswell’s Harley-Davidson shop. There are also a couple of print shops, a tattoo parlor, the Third Coast Comedy Club, as well as tasting opportunities at Tennessee Legend Distillery, Corsair Artisan Distillery and Greenbrier Distillery, all of which are headquartered at Marathon Village.

Marathon Village is roughly the area between 12th and 16th avenues north and Jo Johnston Avenue and the train tracks. The redevelopment includes 32,000 square feet in the administration office building and 130,000 square feet of commercial space in the old factory.

The Marathon building was originally constructed in 1881 for Nashville Cotton Mills and was taken over by Marathon Motor Works in 1910 when it relocated from Jackson, Tennessee.

There is paid parking in the area but plenty of street parking for free. For more information see www.marathonvillage.com or call 615-454-2379.

Mary Hance, who has four decades of journalism experience in the Nashville area, writes a weekly Ms. Cheap column. She also appears on Thursdays on “Talk of the Town” on NewsChannel 5. Reach her at mscheap@mainstreetmediatn.com and follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/mscheap.

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