Take a closer look around and you’ll see that many of the most high profile Bellevue-based businesses are owned or led by women. They’re not only invested in their business entities; they’re invested in their community as well. CurrentVue recently visited five of these local leaders to find out what inspires them and why Bellevue is such a compelling place for them to base their businesses.
125 Belle Forest Circle, Suite 100
After a few years as an emergency room doctor in California, Sommer White noticed that the rigors of that type of environment were taking a toll on her health. Suffering from chronic fatigue, she began studying macrobiotics. That was then that she became interested in whole foods and plant-based food and, with a change in diet came a dramatic improvement in her health.
“I began to feel better and I realized the ER was not the place for me,” she says. “I began to understand and appreciate how food and proper lifestyle can heal the body and I wanted to help people on an ongoing basis.”
She took additional courses, including a course in functional medicine (a discipline that treats the person instead of the disease) and was recruited to Middle Tennessee by a doctor in Franklin.
Generally speaking, functional medicine treats the person, not the disease.
She is now in fourth year as the head of Vitality Medical Center. Her practice enables her to combine four of her passions: medicine, nature, teaching and cooking. In fact, her website features dozens of all-natural, colorful and appetizing recipes.
Dr. White invests a great deal of time getting to know each patient so that she can determine the root cause of dysfunction. She then recommends lifestyle and dietary changes that enable the body to heal naturally.
She also says that Bellevue is an ideal location to lead a healthy and rewarding lifestyle.
“In Bellevue, it begins with the community aspect,” she says. “We love living here and especially enjoy the parks and the (Warner Park) nature center. I have a toddler son and there are wonderful places to play. Plus, there’s a Sprouts in Bellevue!”
7041 Highway 70 South
Improving the look and feel of her own home has always been a passion for Louise Frost. That’s one reason why she jumped at the opportunity to go to work for a floor covering retail store in Bellevue.
That was nearly 30 years ago.
Today she is the owner of The Design Studio, a high-end interior design shop that does floors, walls, ceilings and everything that goes on, over or in between.
“What I find fascinating is how the business has evolved from simply (installing) carpet or wood floors to today where we do everything, including the kitchen sink,” she says. “It all started with customers asking about what else we could do to help them turn their homes into the place that they wanted.”
In addition to bathroom updates, kitchen remodels and, of course, floors, The Design Studio will select window treatments, color palettes, furniture and bedding. “We’ve even moved walls!” says Frost.
Frost is a Kentucky native but has made Bellevue her home for 35 years. Aside from interior design, her other great passion is music. She’s a season ticket holder for the Pops Series of the Nashville Symphony and a frequent patron of top music venues around town from neighborhood haunts like Hidden Creek, 3rd & Lindsley and The Basement East, to all the major arenas.
However, her heart is in The Vue.
“Bellevue is home. At least 95 percent of my customers are from the Bellevue-West Meade area,” she says. “The buildings might change and the retail market has undergone change but the people who live in Bellevue are some of the best in the Metro. They were when I got here and throughout the changes we all have seen – Bellevue’s strength remains its people.”
7041 Highway 70 South, Suite 103
Perhaps no one in Bellevue wears more hats than Amy Napoli.
As CEO of the Bellevue Harpeth Chamber of Commerce, Napoli is tasked with a wide range of responsibilities. It’s difficult to imagine Bellevue’s largest business organization existing, much less functioning and growing, without her at the helm.
Essentially she’s the COO, CEO, CMO and HR director. Community relations, event management and sales (memberships and sponsorships) are daily activities.
Napoli has 13 years of experience in chamber and organization management but, in a somewhat literal way, stumbled into the job she currently holds.
“I was attending ‘A Taste of Bellevue’ in the parking lot at the old mall, late in the afternoon on a cold, windy day,” she says. “Saw a banner that said ‘Harpeth West Chamber of Commerce’ and asked a lady in the booth what it was.”
That lady was Rusty Powell, the Chamber president at that time.
“She said they were looking for an admin person, someone to work 20 hours a week to plan luncheons, pay bills and answer phones, and asked if I was interested. “I had just spent five years as a stay-at-home mom and it seemed like a really good fit.”
Eventually, Napoli was hired and when she started in January 2014, she found an operation that was in a state of disrepair. “It was difficult to determine how many actual members there were and where they were in terms of paying their dues,” she says. “And they had a website that was little more than a landing page.”
Today the Bellevue Harpeth Chamber has nearly 300 active members and, with ribbon cuttings, luncheons, networking events and signature events like the Crawfish Boil and Bellevue Picnic, Napoli is engaged in some level of event planning at all times.
“This job is never ‘complete’ and that’s an indication of a growing and thriving chamber,” says Napoli. “There are always new members to recruit, new needs to be met and higher levels to reach. Each year I’m excited to see how far we’ve come and how much further we can go.”
135 Belle Forest Circle
In a town where people are serious about the way they look, Nashville has an ample supply of salons. But when calling roll of those that truly stand out, Bishop’s Salon & Day Spa is always on the list.
That’s the way it’s been that way since 1988 when Mitzi Bishop opened the business in Bellevue. It’s been at its current location on Belle Forest Circle for 15 years.
Bishop grew up in the salon business as her late father, Tim Bishop, owned and operated Bishop’s Men & Women’s Salon in Midtown for many years. His advice to his daughter? “Go into it as a teacher, not a student.”
She took those words to heart when she left home in her twenties to live and work in California. Bishop studied under some of the nation’s top stylists and later attended the prestigious Pivot Point International in Chicago.
“I always knew I’d come back to Nashville to open a salon,” says Bishop. “The key is to give the client what they need at the moment. I teach each of my stylists how to do this the right way, and then they can apply those techniques to their individual talents and creativity.”
Bishop also emphasizes customer service. “We oriented to the business woman so we’re open two nights a week and we have a lot of parking.
“The spa component has been here since the beginning. Skin care is big.”
Bishop says that most of her clients come from a 10-mile radius but she has others who come from as far away as Kentucky and Alabama. Also, 20 percent of her clients are men.
“They are really loyal,” she says.
Currently Bishop employs 15 stylists and support staff, some who have been with her for more than 20 years. But she is always looking for new stylists and, unlike some salons, they don’t have to have existing clientele. Mitzi Bishop will train them her way.
8078 Highway 100
Coming from a family of chiropractors, Jocelyn Redlinski was set to break with tradition. Rather than follow in the footsteps of her father and his two siblings, she envisioned herself as a dentist. That changed one day as a college undergrad when she realized that, “working with mouths just wasn’t for me!
“I talked to my dad about chiropractic and decided to try it on a whim. Once I got to school and learned more about it, I never looked back.”
That started a journey that eventually led the Buffalo, N.Y. native to Middle Tennessee and Bellevue where, in 2018, she opened Crossroads Chiropractic. The practice is noted for it’s bright, welcoming spa-like vibe and high-tech applications that enhance the patient experience.
Dr. Redlinski is a former collegiate track and field athlete, having earned All-American honors while competing in the heptathlon (seven events) and open events (hurdles, high jump, long jump and 200 meter dash) at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. She credits that experience for enabling her to manage the challenges of moving to a new town and opening a business.
“I learned to thrive under pressure,” she says. “To be successful in the multi-events you can’t let what you did five minutes ago affect what you’re about to do. You have to be able to either shake off the bad or level-out the excitement to get refocused and not let it affect your next efforts (or) goals.
She also notes that balancing her academic and athletic commitments helped develop her work ethic and time management skills.
“All of these skills are things I use every single day as a business owner,” she says. “The biggest one is a level head. We can go from (experiencing) the highest highs and the lowest lows within two minutes but I can’t let it affect the next person I get the opportunity to help.”
Dr. Redlinski took to math and science at a very young age but she thinks she settled in Middle Tennessee (she lives in White Bluff) and Bellevue for spiritual reasons. “Honestly, Bellevue is where God needed me to be! I was single at the time when I decided where I was going to open up Crossroads Chiropractic and I had lived in different areas of the country. Tennessee was a great middle ground and doors opened here that weren’t opening anywhere else.”
Shortly after opening the practice, Dr. Kent Replogle joined the Dr. Redlinski’s team and the two became engaged.
“We love Bellevue because it is a middle ground between Dickson and Nashville,” she says. “We get people from all over (Bellevue, Pegram, Fairview, Burns, Dickson West End/Sylvan Park), in our office and we love it.”
Photos provided by Vitality Medical Center, The Design Studio, Bellevue Harpeth Chamber of Commerce, Bishop’s Salon & Day Spa, Crossroads Chiropractic and Current Vue staff.