12 Days of Shopping in and Around Memphis
I don’t need an occasion to shop, but I’ve heard that such people exist. Others don’t know where to look (if this is you, I’ve outlined your attack below). And if you just don’t know what to buy, read on – I’ve talked with Memphis shop-keepers and taste-makers who shared some extraordinary ideas guaranteed to make you look like a holiday gift-giving hero this season. You can thank me later.
Day 1 The Attic Recently opened in the comeback-corridor of Memphis’ Overton Square, this dream attic for adults who like to dress is “full of classic, timeless treasures” (as owner Alexandra Rushing puts it). Its small footprint ensures a well-edited collection of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories (in places, it reads like Lucky, showcasing wonder-products from Butterfly Twist travel flats to Lollia’s Library of Flowers bath oils alongside media write-ups and how-tos). But Rushing is quick to note that the items she fills this Attic with are “stylish without being just the trendy stuff.” She’s also committed to carrying sizes small through XL, a rare promise among boutiques. As for your gift idea, Rushing recommends Handbag Butler’s Mighty Purse, a cute clutch capable of charging a smartphone. “You can’t even go on the [company’s] website and get one,” Rushing tells me before intimating, “We have our hands on a select few right now.” Even better? “They sell for $120 and we sell ours for $94,” she says.
Note: Select dates Nov. 29-Dec. 29, shop Overton Square’s Indie Style Market (last year, I picked up hand-painted tree ornaments while a friend selected handmade purses). On Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m., the Square celebrates with a Sugar Plum Shindig (think tree-lighting, caroling, photos with Santa, a scavenger hunt and more). Free admission.
Day 2 Burke’s Book Store This fixture in Midtown Memphis’ Cooper-Young neighborhood is a local favorite for used tomes, but Burke’s is equally beloved for its selection of new, signed and all-things-Memphis books. For this season, co-owner Cheryl Mesler says her biggest seller will be Robert Gordon’s new book, Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion. Signed copies run $30. Burke’s also stocks signed copies of Memphis-connected titles like John Grisham’s latest, Sycamore Row, and Diddy-Wah-Diddy: A Beale Street Suite by Corey Mesler, Cheryl’s husband and Burke’s co-owner.
Day 3 Goner Records While you’re in Cooper-Young, thumb through new and used vinyl at Goner, the record store/label at the neighborhood’s namesake corner. Shop early for exclusive releases on Black Friday.
Day 4 Artisans’ Market at the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market November 30 and Dec. 7, 14 and 21, Memphis’ year ‘round farmers’ market turns artisan market with hand-crafted gifts and stocking stuffers. Shop 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the First Congregational Church parking lot near the corner of Cooper and Walker.
Note: There are many other original shops in Cooper-Young. Use this directory to find what you’re looking for, whether it’s an antique serving tray or a gong. (Seriously.) If you’re around Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m., watch for kids caroling and Santa giving out candy canes from the gazebo at Cooper Street and Young Avenue.
Day 5 More Therapy Another pocket-sized boutique that’s big on style, More Therapy is my girly go-to for kicky shoes at smart prices, Hue staples and anything by clothier Ark & Co. To boot, the shop is located in Chickasaw Oaks Village (between Midtown and East Memphis), an enclosed “avenue” covered in cobblestones, dotted with streetlamps and greenery, dappled by skylights and lined with the most inviting storefronts. December 1, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Village will host its annual open house; while Santa and carolers stroll, More Therapy will offer bloody marys, candy and 30% off, plus a gift card drawing. And if you’re among the first 15 people to check out of More Therapy on Black Friday, you’ll receive a goodie bag. Storewide discounts run all day.
Day 6 Mrs. Post Stationery Down the “avenue” from More Therapy inside Chickasaw Oaks Village, Mrs. Post Stationery is the place to stock up on uncommon gift wrap and holiday cards (here’s looking at you, Rifle Paper Co.), plus colorful gifts from journals to ban.do hair accessories.
Day 7 Sache I first noticed Eric Evans’ original designs at a pop-up shop in my neighborhood. But there’s no need to wait for him to pop up – visit his store, Sache, on downtown Memphis’ South Main Street anytime you’re in the mood to make a statement: Evans, an art-schooler-turned-graffiti-artist, creates tees for men and women and hand-sewn shirts and dresses you won’t find anywhere else. Sache carries body products and accessories for men and women, too.
Day 8 477store Also on South Main, Memphis College of Art operates its graduate school and the 477store, showcasing works by students, faculty/staff and alumni. Shop Weds. through Sat., noon to 5 p.m., or take advantage of extended hours during the next South Main Trolley Night, Nov. 29. While you’re in the neighborhood, use this map to guide you to other one-of-a-kind finds.
Day 9 Shops of Saddle Creek Find this collection of specialty retailers (including Anthropologie, J. Crew, Madewell, the Apple Store and kids’ clothier Janie and Jack) in Germantown. November 30 and Dec. 7, 14 and 22 from 2-4 p.m., the River City Concert Band will perform outside the shops.
Day 10 CJ Lilly & Company When I took you to Collierville, Tennessee, earlier this year, I warned that you could spend the better part of a morning or afternoon ducking in and out of the shops along the town’s historic square. I especially like CJ Lilly and Company for spot-on hostess gifts and SEC-themed what-nots. Select dates through Dec. 24, Collierville’s historic town square turns up the holiday charm with a tree lighting (Dec. 3), parade (Dec. 6) and Christmas in Collierville days (Dec. 7 and 14), when Santa will appear at the gazebo, carolers will stroll and free carriage rides will rest your shopped-out feet. View the full calendar here.
Day 11 Memphis Flea Market at Agricenter International Well-edited this is not, but for those who revel in the thrill of the bargain-hunt, the Memphis Flea Market amasses some-400 vendors of anything from kids’ clothes to candles to cowboy boots. “The Big One,” as the market’s nicknamed, typically only comes to town the third weekend of each month, but in December, you get a bonus: Shop Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 20-22 (Fri., 1-6 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-5 p.m.). Admission is $3 for adults; free for children ages 12 and under (except what they’ll beg you for in concessions and/or presents).
Day 12 Sometimes, you need a department store. Other times, you need a Great American Cookie. Whatever the case, I won’t judge. In East Memphis, opt for Oak Court Mall (anchored by Dillard’s and Macy’s); northeast of the city center, Wolfchase Galleria is anchored by Dillard’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, Sears, Bed Bath & Beyond – plus a large food court, carousel and kids’ soft play area; Collierville’s Carriage Crossing presents anchors Dillard’s and Macy’s alongside national specialty retailers in a pretty open-air space.
Where are you shopping in Tennessee this season? Tell us in the comments section below…just don’t accidentally spill what you’re getting me.