Two neighborhood musical entrepreneurs are hosting a showcase for teens on Friday, March 24, 5-7p.m. at Jones Coffee (5008 Xerxes Ave. S. location).
What is a “neighborhood entrepreneur?” For me, it’s a small business owner who actually has a brick-and-mortar building in the neighborhood. A business where most of the customers and clientele literally walk to the place from their homes in the neighborhood.
Meet Brad McLenmore & Anthony Jones
Just arriving in Minnesota, Brad McLemore was carrying furniture into his new Minneapolis home when he started getting calls from his hometown of Dallas. “Dude, are you all right?”
He recalled, “It was the day the bridge fell. 2008.” Within months, McLemore had a job teaching at the Linden Hills House of Music, and he was soon asked to take on the role of general manager there. In 2009, he bought the House of Music.
Around that time, Anthony Jones was working part-time in the 43rd Street Dunn Brothers while playing in his full-time touring rock band, The Push. One summer night, in the parking lot behind House of Music in what is now the Rosalia patio, Jones sang and played acoustic guitar on the Linden Hills Live stage that McLemore ran once a month in the summers.
McLemore expanded in 2010, opening a second site on the corner of Washburn and 50th. Jones quit touring, and went from part-time barista to manager. “I had a vision,” he says, “and, in 2014, at the age of 23, I started looking for a coffee shop to buy.” Turns out his old boss wanted to sell, so Jones bought both of his Dunn Brothers locations, in Linden Hills and Fulton.
Fast forward – business flourished. McLemore continued to volunteer in the neighborhood, hosting and producing teen stages at outdoor events. He also saw a group of his students win Best Teen Band at The Minnesota State Fair. Jones started hosting Open Mic Nights in his coffee shop, and both teens and accomplished players started showing up to play. [Author’s note: I actually played acoustic guitar in public for my very first time at one of Anthony’s Open Mic Nights.]
And then COVID-19 hit. Both businesses immediately saw their revenue drop in half.
As McLemore put it, “The late and very kind Don Hawkinson let me out of my lease, so I could close the Linden Hills location, and weather the downturn in revenue.” Jones said that after making it through COVID-19, he was determined to purchase the two shops for his own. House of Music survived, and Jones Coffee was born.
And they were right around the corner from each other. “It was a perfect fit,” Anthony says. “My whole reason for opening a coffee shop was to bring cool people together. You know... a community of artists and creatives and neighborhood people that like what we’re about – all while showcasing coffee in its purest form.”
“Plus, I’m there every day before I teach” McLemore adds. “So, eventually the music thing was bound to happen.”
Tell me about the March 24 show, Brad
“Well, one cool thing for me is that these are all my actual students. Most House of Music events have students from several teachers. This is a night with just six of my own – ranging from 14 years old to over 60.”
60? – “Yep. Retired guy, music lover, music appreciator. Now he’s taking lessons.”
What’s not to like? It’s all acoustic; and each person will play two to four songs, mostly covers.
“This is the beginning,” Jones says. “We’re planning on having a regular thing. It will be a supportive place to play, a place for people of our vibe, and for both aspiring and accomplished musicians. Let’s see how fast it takes off.”
McLemore and Jones both agreed that this is the first year since COVID-19 that they’ve had a chance to get healthy again.
“Summer camps are back,” says McLemore. “And they are booking up earlier and earlier.” Target age range for these four-day, three-hour/day intensives (each of which end in a “bar gig” at the Driftwood Char Bar at 4415 Nicollet Ave.) is 10-15 years. “But that’s not firm,” Brad says. “Last year I had three nine-year-old drummers, and all of them were great!”
Jones hopes to remodel soon, and he also wants to get this music thing going.
Word is, there may be an acoustic night there on March 30 – with Anthony himself, Alanna Snortland, and yours truly.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here