A Good Entrepreneur Chooses a Good Exit Strategy

A Good Entrepreneur Chooses a Good Exit Strategy

Jeff Cornwall / Director of the Belmont University
November 09, 2007


If you have spent any time in Nashville you have probably heard of the Bluebird Cafe, the iconic music club founded by Amy Kurland back in 1982.

After twenty-five years, Amy decided it was time to exit her business. From the Tennessean:

Amy Kurland, who started The Bluebird in 1982 as a gourmet
restaurant, is selling the now-legendary club to the Nashville
Songwriters Association International. The group promises not to change
a thing.

"I wanted to retire, but I didn’t want The Bluebird to go away,"’ said Kurland, 52.

Amy could have sold the club for a lot more money than she did. But,
money was not the only kind of wealth that Amy created in her business.
She measured her success as much in terms of her ability to create a
venue to help launch the careers of struggling songwriters and
musicians as she did by the income and wealth that her business
generated for her.

Instead of selling to the highest bidder, she sold to a group that
would forever keep her vision alive. That is clearly the act of a good

The list of now famous artists who got their start at Bluebird is
unprecedented in the music industry: Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, Garth
Brooks, Josh Turner…. the list goes on and on.

My first experience with the Bluebird Cafe came while I was being
recruited to work at Belmont University. The Dean took me to the
Bluebird to give me a taste of what Nashville had to offer. Immediately
I was taken back to my college days in the 1970s. Ann and I loved to
listen to coffeehouse musicians — singer songwriters just like the
Bluebird hosted night after night. (A note of trivia: I tried my hand
as a coffeehouse musician a time or two in those days). I was hooked.

We now get season passes every year to go to Bluebird on the Mountain.
Bluebird teamed with Vanderbilt University to offer a monthly Bluebird
songwriters night under the stars on top of the nob (that is what we
call big hills that are not quite mountains here in Tennessee) where
Vanderbilt has their observatory. It runs from spring through fall.

Thanks, Amy. Thanks for having the courage to start Bluebird, and
thanks for having the courage to insure it will stay the Bluebird now
that you are moving on in your life.


Posted November 9, 2007 07:24 AM


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Leave a Reply