Nashville man changing minds on Jefferson Street - WSMV Channel 4

Nashville man changing minds on Jefferson Street

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Nate Harris opened Woodcuts 30 years ago. (WSMV) Nate Harris opened Woodcuts 30 years ago. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Thirty years ago, a Nashville man had a bold idea for a new business on Jefferson Street.

It was different, and friends and neighbors told him it would never work. But it did.

Nate Harris thinks every picture looks better with a frame around it. That was his business idea in the mid ‘80s. And despite all the negative feedback, he wanted to put his Woodcuts store in the north Nashville neighborhood he grew up in.

“And I would say frame, shop, and they would say, frame shop?” Harris said.

Jefferson Street’s reputation 30 years ago was seedy, but Harris believed it could be better. So he got to work.

Harris found an abandoned fast food restaurant, hopped on a ladder and started framing his future.

“And there you have it. We just made a frame,” Harris said.

Thirty years later, he has made quite a few more.

“Oh yeah, probably thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of them,” Harris said.

Woodcuts is now a staple on Jefferson Street. Inside are homemade frames and the paintings they often hold. There’s also an art gallery, but in Harris’ mind, the art is what he created in the back room.

“I tell my employees a frame that almost goes together isn’t a frame, it has to go together perfectly,” Harris said. “To me, a painting doesn’t look finished until it has a beautiful frame around it.”

Now with his daughter Dionne, the family operation rolls on. That work ethic is inspired by Harris’ father, who took him to work at age 6.

“Riding in the truck, he had a huge dump truck, and man that was the highlight of my life, riding int hat truck up front with him. And I loved it,” Harris said.

That pride is now deserved for himself.

“I recognized in 1987 what some people are recognizing now, that Jefferson Street is a great place to open a business,” Harris said.

A recent run-in with a ladder while working led to a broken ankle. He is now recovering and thinking about retirement. He said he never realized until now that his daughter, grandson and staff could run the shop so perfectly without him.

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