The shock began with a phone call. Heavy wind and the sound of sirens filled the streets. Nashville was being hit with a deadly tornado.
“I’m like, ‘Man, why are people calling me at 1:30 in the morning?” They was like, ‘Man did you see the news? The Lab, The Lab, the cleaners got hit,’” says Joshua Mundy, a Nashville native who lost all three of his businesses during Tuesday’s storm.
Mundy spent over a decade building a reputation as one of the city’s most respected business owners. He’s been on Jefferson Street and North Seventh Avenue in Germantown since before the neighborhood was redeveloped.
Two of his businesses, Music City Cleaners and The Lab — a business incubator — were on the first floor of a two-story building built in the early 1900s. His third business Events at 624 was on the second floor. It was turned into a pile of rubble.
“It’s not only my loss. But so many people that we’ve helped kind of craft into entrepreneurship, they don’t have a place to gather anymore,” says Mundy.
Over the years Mundy has given away youth scholarships and provided safe spaces for black Nashvillians in a gentrifying community. He opened a group home for men with mental illness, too.
Mundy says he’s struggled to find the silver lining in the loss of his community-based businesses, but is planning to rebuild and relocate to a temporary location.
He was a renter at the building that housed his businesses, but is hopeful he’ll finally be able to buy the property.
“It hurts,” says Mundy. “But at the end of the day, God has a plan. It happened for a reason. So we have to figure out that reason and keep moving. “