When you think of the rock and roll lifestyle, a clean house is not exactly the first image that comes to mind. However, cleaning houses is precisely how many Memphis musicians, artists, writers and students pay their bills while they pursue their dreams. Candace Mills didn’t start out to be the patron saint of the arts when she started Two Chicks and a Broom in 2002; she was just trying to make some extra money while she pursued her History degree at The University of Memphis. What started out as a side job has progressed into a business with over 500 clients and 30 independent contractors which will celebrate their 2nd year in their new digs at 885 South Cooper with a backyard party during Cooper-Young Fest which will include performances from Noise Choir, Antique Curtains, Jack Yarber and Harlan T. Bobo.
Although there is only one chick in charge, the company has always worked like a cooperative, giving the workers a lot of freedom, which is key when it’s time for a band to go on tour.
“That’s always been really important to me,” says Mills. “I want everyone to have the freedom to pursue their calling and be able to pay their rent.”
Members of local bands Snowglobe, River City Tanlines, Final Solutions, The Coach and Four, and Giant Bear supplement their income working for Mills.
“My boss is the patron saint of starving musicians,” says Mike Larrivee of Giant Bear. “It would be incredibly difficult to do what I do with any other job.”
All chicks (or in the case of the male employees, chucks) buy their own gear, and the company claims to be the only green clean company in town which means all of the cleaning products they use are non-toxic and biodegradable. Two Chicks also sells green cleaning products.
“The reason we are green is that we didn’t want to add any more toxicity to the environment” explains Mills. “We are actually removing toxins and being minimalistic in the products we use in the home.”
The backyard concert is Mills way to celebrate her employees and be a part of the Cooper-Young Festival.
“We have so many musicians involved; we just wanted to have a party and let the musicians showcase their work and last year was a grand opening office party for our new digs on Cooper. We had so much fun last year that we decided to do it again this year.”
With a consistent waiting list of 15 people trying to become “chicks,” the positions are highly coveted.
“It’s sort of a pit stop, but no one ever quits” laughs Mills.
Show starts at 2:30