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December 03, 2014 | Tom Ballard

PART 4: Open Chord is Holmes latest business venture

(Open ChordEDITOR’S NOTE: This is the last in a four-part series focused on Knoxville businessman and entrepreneur Randy Holmes.)

By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

Knoxville entrepreneur Randy Holmes has big plans for his latest entrepreneurial endeavor –Open Chord Brewhouse and Stage at 8502 Kingston Pike.

“I want to take this business to a larger scale,” he says.

The decision on what to do with the building came after Holmes and his former business partner split.

“I chose the hard route,” he says of his decision. The choices were lease the building, sell it, or make it into something great.

It’s for the love of music,” Holmes says about the investment that he is making, both in terms of dollars and his energy and time. “It’s an enormous investment and big risk.”

Yet, in his characteristic manner, Holmes says, “Without music in our lives, it would be dull.”

The lifelong musician is even involved in artist management, specifically with Andy Wood.

“He’s one of the top 10 guitarists in the country,” Holmes declares. They have their own record label, and Wood’s latest release – “Caught Between the Truth and a Lie” – occurred in October. One side features acoustic music, the other electric.

As a musician and manager, building an exciting new venue for musicians and music aligns with Holmes’ passions.

The business plan that he is pursuing for the Open Chord venue will be what he describes as “the Utopia for Musicians” – Live Stage/Open Mic/Music School/Network/Coffee House/Pub/Art Gallery/Retail.

“I’m completely renovating the whole building inside and out,” Holmes says.

The investment that he is making is based on a belief that the concept will play in other cities.

“I want a brand that can be duplicated,” Holmes says. “If the concept works here, we will build a second store.” He doesn’t say a third, fourth or fifth, but it is clear that he has a grand vision for what is possible.

Holmes adds that he is “starting over,” moving from manufacturing to the retail side. With his entrepreneurial instincts and demeanor, you want to follow his endeavor closely.

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