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VOL. 123 | NO. 43 | Monday, March 03, 2008

Party in the Neighborhood: Cooper-Young event to mirror S. Main trolley tour

By Andy Meek

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NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN: The Cooper-Young Business Association, of which Tamara Walker serves as director, is spearheading a new Cooper-Young Night Out that will happen on the first Thursday of every month starting in April. -- Photo By Andy Meek

Cheryl Mesler, who co-owns Burke's Book Store in Midtown with her husband, Corey, is doubly excited about the book signing happening in April to promote Corey's new book of poems, "Some Identity Problems."

That signing event, scheduled for April 3, will happen at Burke's on the same night the store and dozens of other shops and restaurants around it in the Cooper-Young neighborhood will stay open late to inaugurate a new monthly event.

That night will see the much-anticipated launch of Cooper-Young Night Out.

Spearheaded by the Cooper-Young Business Association, the new event will be the first Thursday of every month. It will be comparable to the Friday Night Art Trolley Tour held the last Friday of every month in the South Main Arts District. Commercial tenants in Cooper-Young and store owners like the Meslers already are buzzing about the new effort.

Restaurants such as Do and Lou's Pizza Pie are planning one-night-only specials and a new dish or two. Live bands will perform in some retail shops. Visitors to the intersection of Cooper Street and Young Avenue will be greeted by sales, discounts, extended operating hours and other special activities.

Outside Burke's, the Meslers' customers will be perusing books in a sidewalk sale that evening.

"We're always pulling books out of stock and marking them down, so we'll have the sidewalk sale going, and we may highlight a particular section of the store for each monthly event," Cheryl Mesler said. "We're also going to have a signing each time. It just so happened we already had scheduled a book signing for Corey that night for his new book coming out."


'Something for everybody'

Tamara Walker, director of the CYBA, said the new event is a first for Cooper-Young and nothing like it has been tried in the neighborhood before. The Cooper-Young Festival held in September is always a big draw and the largest one-day event in the city, but that happens only once a year.

Plans have been kicked around to start the new "night out" in Cooper-Young for a few years now.

"Everybody's participating. It's going to be so much fun," Walker said. "And the thing about it is there's going to be something for everybody."

Cooper-Young is home to almost 20 restaurants and close to 40 retail shops, and most of them are participating in the night out. To get an idea of what the general public can expect, the independent music store Goner Records will be discounting music on those monthly Thursday night gatherings and will have a live band perform in the store.

The store Loudean's will host a local jewelry artist each month and will have a drawing to give away a $100 gift certificate to the store.


Music to your ears

Elsewhere in the district, the sidewalks and streets will be filled with the sound of music. The Memphis Drum Shop will schedule live music for each monthly night out and will host events for children. A live band will jam at Xanadu Music, which also will host a sidewalk sale.

The antiques store Artists on Central is shifting its monthly artist openings from the first Friday of every month to the first Thursday of every month to coincide with the new festivities.

"Palladio, Market Central and Memphis Waterworks, they're going to pay on those Thursday nights the sales tax on every item bought in their shops," Walker said.

The upscale clothing store Lux will offer wine and cheese to visitors, and an in-store deejay will provide music. Guests to the restaurant Blue Fish will enjoy special appetizers at the bar and special prices on wine and beer.

The restaurant Do has come up with a "Cooper-Young Night Out roll." Over at Gents, a new spa catering to male clients, free back, neck and hand massages will be offered. (For more about Gents, read today's Small Business Spotlight on Page 3.)

Those are just a few examples of the special offerings that Cooper-Young tenants are preparing for the general public as the launch of the new monthly event approaches.

It's one more reason the Meslers feel more confident than ever about the prospects for their book store in the neighborhood that they relocated to in early 2007 from a site along Poplar Avenue.

"Everything here has just been beyond our expectations," Cheryl Mesler said. "It's just night and day from where we were. We're staying open late three nights a week and the restaurant crowd comes in. We'll open again Sunday afternoons. It's just been a terrific year."

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