Jimmy Brown answered his cell phone at 10 a.m. “Hello?” came the friendly drawl. Oops. I wasn’t sure if he’d had a gig the night before and slept in. No, he was there, at Guitar Emporium, opening a new week  – and one of the last, at least for him.

“I’ve been answering the phone at this place for 38 years,” he said. “Every Monday morning, gig or not.” We both laughed. No one wants to wake a musician too early in the morning.

Brown’s retirement is a sound decision that has struck a chord far beyond the Highlands – among collectors, instructors and a constellation of rock stars worldwide. March became a reverberating echo of opinions, ideas and advice, all of which Brown patiently addressed. “This was a choice,” he emphasized. “We’ve had one of our best years ever, so it’s not the economy.”

Jimmy Brown will do what he did when he opened Guitar Emporium. He trusted his gut then and he’s doing the same now. Personal time with his wife, family and friends, plus travel and other projects are part of this new chapter.

Per the cliche, “For every door that shuts, another opens,” let’s keep an eye on this one.

Almost in one fell swoop we lost Coco’s Chocolate Cafe, Burger’s Market, Joe Davola’s, City Cafe at Mid City Mall, John E’s restaurant and Lynn’s Paradise Cafe.

It’s sad, and we’re all curious, in our Louisville way. Maybe the advice, “It’s none of your business,” could apply, but when the establishment is also your neighbor and a community touchstone, there is a sense of ownership.

After 25 years, ear X-tacy plunged through rough seas, its captain going down with the ship after an aggressive personal campaign. But no white flag hangs above owner John Timmons’ door, which is now at WFPK.  You can take the boy out of the music store but ... you know.

“I didn’t expect the WFPK thing to happen,“ he said of his career morph from music store owner to radio deejay. “There are going to be a few more doors to open in the near future,” he hinted, “but right now I’m having a blast on the radio.”

Despite avid fans, budgeting and a compassionate landlord, Coco’s Chocolate Cafe quietly closed in December. “I love the Highlands and will miss interacting with people,“ said chocolatier Fred Moore. “So I will continue to have a presence in the city – farm markets, festivals and events.”

With the explosion of new, independent business, Louisville has been in the regional and national spotlight with great food and good press.

And it’s a map still in motion. Louisville is a fiercely collaborative village. It’s almost as if we are cross-trained to lend a hand, build community and push the best ideas forward.

Silver Dollar proprietor Shawn Cantley will open a southern California-style eatery in the structure abandoned by Avalon. Not bad for a river town.

And as Desserts By Helen thrives in Crescent Hill, Havana Rumba is making plans to open on the former’s Douglass Loop corner.

With a nudge from Joni Mitchell, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

Chances are, they won’t pave Paradise, but one has to wonder about the Barret Avenue real estate left empty by Lynn’s – what door will open next?

Cindy Lamb’s vocations of journalism, child birth and child care keep the lights on and the stories flowing. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .