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VOL. 35 | NO. 37 | Friday, September 16, 2011

Sandersons help rescue neglected tourist draw

By Tim Ghianni

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Ruble Sanderson, 75 – “I’m an old dude,” he says – and his family are at least partly responsible for the revitalization of Lower Broadway.

Now the owners of Legends Corner, The Stage on Broadway, Second Fiddle and Nashville Crossroads, he and his Broadway Entertainment Venues – “we’re a mom and pop business,” he says of himself and wife, Brenda – got into the business by buying Tootsie’s back in 1993.

“The building had been condemned by codes and the occupancy permit had been pulled,” he says. They put in new plumbing and electricity, a new roof and breathed some life into the old joint.

He also was taking a pretty big gamble.

“Broadways was kind of sleazy back then. There were adult book stores, drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes and street vagrants.”

His gamble began paying off when the Ryman reopened and business picked up in 1994 and then when the arena and the Predators arrived. “We were about the first in line to buy season tickets,” he says.

He since has sold Tootsie’s, but has continued the rehab by opening the four other venues. Son, Brad, also is a part of the business.

The elder Sanderson says he’s proud of what has happened all up and down the avenue.

“We like to think we made a little bit of difference, he says. “We raised the bar. We didn’t let the street derelicts in.”

He adds that was tough, since there weren’t that many others who wanted to come in back then.

“Now we’re the focus of Music City for tourism,” he says of his and other establishments on Lower Broad. “We were just trying to make a living.”

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