Taylor Swift hasn’t been spotted casually browsing in record stores over the years quite as often as LP shop-aholic Elton John, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have an equal interest in keeping them open and thriving. Grimey’s, an independent store in her hometown of Nashville, confirmed Thursday that Swift had quietly made a contribution to help out employees during the shop’s coronavirus-related closure.
Rolling Stone talked with Grimey’s co-owner Doyle Davis, who confirmed the donation. “We were very surprised, and I would have to say amazed, that Taylor Swift reached out to us through her publicist to offer some relief during the Covid-19 pandemic,” he told the magazine. “I didn’t even know we were on her radar, but she really stepped up to help after the recent tornadoes that struck Nashville and middle Tennessee, and now she’s trying to help a beloved small business in her city.”
Doyle added that Swift had “generously offered some direct relief to my staff and to cover three months of our health care costs for our group-insurance plan. It’s a huge deal to us, and now I have some peace of mind as we apply for [Small Business Association] loans to pay rent, vendors, and other expenses,” he told RS. “This assistance from Ms. Swift helps give us a real shot at coming back on the other side of this.”
Grimey’s, a 20-year institution in Nashville, is one of the better recognized record stores in America and a frequent location for in-store appearances. Even after being forced by the city of Nashville to shut down as a non-essential business, the store hosted an Instagram live-stream by local favorite Lilly Hiatt to promote the release of her new album. The store is continuing to operate via mail order on Discogs and other sites as well as its own.
Swift has been making donations to fans, too. More than a dozen have reported on social media that they received private messages from Swift after previously posting about their financial distress in the current crisis, with the pop superstar asking where she could send $3,000 to help out. Swift has not publicized these smaller contributions but has noted her donations to Feeding America and the World Health Organization and asked fans to do the same.
Before the pandemic became Nashville’s biggest crisis, she helped out after the toughest thing the city thought it would have to go through in 2020, the devastating tornados. Shortly after the March 3 devastation there, she donated $1 million to the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund.