Shopping in Memphis

Our nation’s pastime isn’t baseball. It’s not even football. It’s the one activity that brings together men and women, young and old, rich and poor. Shopping. Yes, the act of browsing, trying things on for size and, finally, swiping the card unites us all. Good thing Memphis gives visitors a lot of opportunities to buy stuff, especially clothes.

A Schwab Soda Fountain

Kids love the soda fountain at A. Schwab on Beale Street. Photo by Memphis CVB

Goner Record Store - Craig Thompson

Goner Records has a great selection of garage, indie and punk rock plus new and used vinyl and CDs. Photo by Craig Thompson

Lansky Bros Neon on World Famous Beale Street

Great shopping at Lansky Brothers on Beale Street and in the Peabody Hotel. Photo by Craig Thompson

American Apparel in South Main Arts District: Dan Ball

Hip and funky fashion trends at American Apparel on S. Main in Downtown Memphis. Photo by Dan Ball.

Most people who visit Memphis and want to do a bit of window-shopping make a stop at the legendary Lansky Bros. The one-time clothier to the Memphis stars (Carl Perkins, Rufus Thomas and Elvis), Lansky’s is still the premier place to upgrade your wardrobe. Now run by Hal, son of founder Bernard, Lansky’s offers more than the traditional '50s style that defined a generation. With its additional store, Lansky’s 126, run by Bernard’s granddaughter, Julie, Lansky’s brings global fashion trends to the Peabody Hotel and Union Avenue.

A few miles away in the South Main Arts District, two new stores have recently emerged, giving the Memphis shopping scene a much-needed boost with their local focus. Hoot + Louise carries vintage clothing, items from hard-to-find designers and jewelry. But it’s their locally designed pillows, towels and prints that make the shop a great stop for anyone looking for that just-right gift. Similarly, Sache’s broad range of soft jersey T-shirts are all made in-house by designer Eric Evans, whose screen-print logos and street art-inspired designs are popping up on the backs of Memphians all over town.

But what about the guys? Contrary to popular belief, men like shopping, too. They just don’t want to admit it. But with the recent trend in long-lasting heritage clothing design, this discomfort with fashion is starting to change. Baer’s Den just east of the University of Memphis is a prime example. More a man cave than a clothier, Baer’s Den offers guys masculine clothes in a masculine setting. From the dark wood and brushed metal décor to the Robert Graham shirting and the Lucchese Boots, guys can relax knowing that they can find clothes that not only look good, but are unique and worth keeping for a lifetime. 

Memphis Local
Shopping in Memphis isn’t all about fashion. It’s also a way of getting to know the city. Many of the most popular stores in Memphis say something unique about our hometown. No place speaks louder about Memphis and its history than A. Schwab’s.

Right on Beale Street, A. Schwab’s is technically a dry goods store. But in reality, it’s a grab bag of quirky stuff, tchotchkes and souvenirs you won’t find anywhere else in the city. In fact, the store’s motto says as much: "If you can't find it at A. Schwab, you're probably better off without it!" More importantly, it’s living history. Established in 1876, A. Schwab’s is the only original remaining business on Beale Street.

Located in the hip Cooper-Young district, Goner Records is more than a record store. It’s a label. It’s a live venue. It’s a hangout for musicians and music lovers. It’s the place where many of the city’s new music legends (Harlan T. Bobo, for example) got their start. Goner is co-owned by Zac Ives and Eric Friedl, founding member of local garage-rock band the Oblivians. Its massive selection of garage, soul and punk rock music has made it a kind of Mecca for visiting music fans. On any given day, you’ll find people from Europe and Japan scouring the bins for hard-to-find 45s and LPs.

Memphis isn’t just about music, though. It’s also got style. Just up the road from Goner Records on Cooper Street, Flashback Memphis is a vintage department store packed with vintage clothes and furnishings. Over the years, it’s become the go-to place for Memphians looking for that unique conversation piece. Of course, you may not necessarily want to check a sofa at the airport. But never fear -- the store also offers many small, affordable and irresistible decorative pieces you can fit in your carry-on.

But to find something even more unique than what Goner or Flashback have to offer, you’ll have to stop in at Five in One. Five in One is one of the best and newest gift shops in Memphis. Memphis-themed T-shirts, one-of-a-kind rock-show prints and handmade jewelry are just a few of the things you’ll find here. But the real benefit to stopping by the Five in One is the opportunity to get a closer look at the local art scene. Like Goner, the Five in One is more than a gift shop; it's a local art collective.