Q&A With Karen Hollywood, Owner Of Pre To Post Modern In Nashville
The 8th Avenue South neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee is an anchor for the city’s thrift stores, with one business in particular that has been peddling retro-inspired furniture, signs, clothing, vinyl records and vintage finds since 2000. Owner Karen Hollywood is the mastermind behind Pre to Post Modern, an expertly curated locale with beautiful 20th-century pieces.
While you might not see Hollywood at the store, it’s likely because she’s bustling around picking up top-notch finds at low prices. But price is only the start of what makes the store a destination. Read our Q&A with Hollywood below to learn more about the store and its contagiously bubbly owner.
Tell us about Pre to Post Modern.
I love to shop, so I made it my job. The store is run by a private co-op, made up of a group of about 12 people. Some of us have known each other for 15-20 years. I have to know somebody as a person and friend for a while before they even get near selling in my shop. We don’t take public consignments or buy items directly from people. It’s very curated and different by design.
What’s different about the store versus other similar stores?
Shopping should be a pleasure, and that’s how we make our store. We play the right music, and we love to catch people dancing, because we know they’re having fun then. It’s decorated by genre and it’s orderly, so you can see everything. It’s a whole array of 20th-century fun. No grandma furniture, rusty or broken things, or shabby chic. I hate that shabby-chic crap.
People come in and go, “Oh my God, you’ve got all this stuff and it looks like new. How’d you do that?” And I’m thinking, “We just put it in there and organized it like that.”
What keeps people coming back to Pre to Post Modern?
When you go into most antique malls, they have just any old stuff in there. Good, bad, ugly—they dump it in. We only buy good stuff in good condition. That’s the way I like to live in my home, and that’s the way I want my store to be. We keep the prices firm, but low. You shouldn’t have to make people ask for the right price—you should put a fair price on there for the customer to begin with.
Do you think we’re going through a mid-century fad right now? Do you think it will go away?
Oh my God, no. People love this stuff—the people that think it’s a fad don’t realize that there’s been a market for this stuff for a while. This is good design, and people are not giving it up. They’re just becoming more aware of it. Good decor still sells, because it’s good design.
Your home has been the backdrop for several celebrity and band shoots. Who were your favorites?
I really enjoyed Dolly Parton’s shoot here, and Cage The Elephant—we drank beer and shot firecrackers. Wanda Jackson was my favorite. I’ve loved her and her music for a long time, and I can’t believe she came to my house. That was a very fun day. We were all just sitting on my sofa, having lunch and drinking wine. It was great.
Pre to Post Modern
2110 8th Ave. S
Nashville, TN 37204