Shopping in Memphis, TN
With a name that’s a tongue-in-cheek play on a Bob Dylan song, and a pedigree that dates back more than two decades, Maggie’s Pharm is a quintessential Midtown Memphis boutique. Forget chain stores that sell manufactured bath and body products – quirky and wholly original, this place is the real deal. Located in a somewhat rickety second-floor retail space in Overton Square, Maggie’s sells herbs and essentials oils for aromatherapy and cooking, along with inexpensive silver jewelry, bath products, and candles. Shop specialty product lines, which include Archipelago, Dr. Bronner’s, and Kamasutra. Or better yet, design your own custom scent, and add it to an organic lotion or shampoo.
To jumpstart your Memphis mojo, visit the voodoo counter at A. Schwab, a dry goods store that’s been located on Beale Street since 1876. The entire three-story store, which offers everything from Fiestaware and knick-knacks to ladies’ dresses and men’s overalls, is worth exploring – don’t miss the bargain souvenir department, where your spare change will buy gee-gaws for everyone back home. Don’t dawdle, however – descendent Elliot Schwab put the store up for sale in early 2011, and it’s doubtful that the 20,000 square foot building, which is prime Beale Street real estate, will remain an eclectic time machine.
A compendium of cool, the gorgeous neon sign outside Flashback draws celebrity shoppers (including Bob Dylan) like moths to a light. Inside the retrofitted department store, original Herman Miller and Heywood Wakefield finds share space with newly manufactured case goods, accessories, and well-organized racks of vintage clothing. Shop owners Gene Rossetti and Millett Vance have impeccable taste, using their vast floor space to set up small living room milieus replete with low-slung couches, Tiki-inspired lamps, and chrome-and-glass coffee tables. This is no thrift store – even the clothes section features carefully curated selections, either culled from dead stock or laundered and ironed.
At first glance, this storefront seems deceptively small, but once you begin to dig through their crates of vintage albums, you’ll “get” why Goner has quickly become an international destination. Want to recapture your youth? Buy a stack of vinyl albums, and the turntable to play them on. Be sure to pick up a Goner-branded hoodie or baseball cap – the likes of which has turned up in the pages of People Magazine, atop the head of Mary Louise Parker’s boyfriend Charlie Mars. Don’t leave without inquiring about the dates for Gonerfest, the store/label’s annual multi-day music festival.
If hipster handicrafts are your thing, you no longer have to shop e-tailor etsy for the latest in housewares or jewelry. Just venture down to the South Main Historic District to Hoot + Louise, named in part for shopkeeper Anna Avant’s Mississippi grandmother. Like its namesake, the eclectic boutique features vintage wear and well-chosen crafty counterparts, as well as items from exclusive gift lines, organic baby clothes, and fashion labels from the likes of the eco-friendly brands Snoozer Loser and People Like Art. Open Tuesday through Sunday, Avant will even pour you a cup of tea while you browse the shelves – now that’s southern hospitality!