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VOL. 121 | NO. 151 | Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Collierville Busts Out All Over With Layers Of Retail Growth

By Stacey Wiedower

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CHARGE IT: The stores in this shopping center in Collierville still are shaping up, but promise to draw crowds. -- Photograph By Brad Johnson

Collierville has seen a metamorphosis in the past decade, evolving from a sleepy small town to a blossoming bedroom community to a thriving, self-sustaining suburb that continues to attract new businesses in droves.

As The Avenue Carriage Crossing approaches its first anniversary this fall, several retail and dining options are getting set to open their doors in and around the 800,000-square-foot open-air mall.

Among the new tenants is Blue Coast Burrito, a fast-casual regional restaurant chain that specializes in West Coast-style Mexican cuisine. The eatery's much-anticipated opening at Carriage Crossing - slated for late August to early September - marks the chain's second Memphis-area location. The new restaurant will be bigger and flashier than Memphis' first Blue Coast franchise at 3546 Walker Ave. near the University of Memphis.

"This is going to be like a Blue Coast Burrito completely amplified," said Hunter Beasley, director of operations of Blue Coast Burrito Memphis. "It's twice the size of our first Memphis location. It's designed for easier customer access. It's one of the biggest projects our franchise has ever seen."

Teach a man to fish ...

Though the space will be bigger, the restaurant's menu will stay true to its roots, featuring freshly prepared burritos, gourmet salads and Blue Coast's signature fish tacos.

"I highly recommend that everyone try the fish tacos," Beasley said. "It's probably my favorite menu item. Everyone's got their version of the burrito, but these fish tacos we feel really set us apart from the crowd."

"The more diversity we have in our economy, the more new businesses that will move in, and that means more commerce for our existing businesses. Increasing tax revenues goes toward further improving our quality of life and making Collierville a great place to live, work and do business."
- Fran Persechini
President of the Collierville Chamber of Commerce

The management group, which also plans to open Blue Coast locations in Downtown Memphis and in Oxford, Miss., selected Carriage Crossing for its second store because the new mall stands out from the crowd, as well.

"Carriage Crossing was just a different concept - a different idea. ... We're new in town, so we thought, 'Why not go into this new mall concept with our unique new concept?'

"We pride ourselves on being a family-friendly restaurant where people can bring their kids. A business of this kind we knew would cater to Collierville really well."

Apothetique, a specialty store that's set to open inside Carriage Crossing within the week, also chose Collierville for its retail venues and upscale demographic.

"Our product lines are not easy to find; we needed a unique, upscale location," said co-owner Meg Jackson. "We think this is going to be the premier location for shopping in this area, and it's definitely got the clientele we were looking for for our product lines."

The store - which, as its name signifies, is a combination of a modern apothecary and a boutique - will carry skin care lines including Thermologica, Mario Badescu, Yon-Ka, Glo Minerals Cosmetics and the men's line, Art of Shaving. It also will feature clothing lines including Twisted Heart, Odyn Denim, C&C California and Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent. The boutique will cater primarily to women in their late 20s to early 40s.

"It's very much for that woman who is keeping current with what's in, say, Elle magazine," Jackson said. "There's not anyone (in Carriage Crossing) doing what we're doing, so we're really filling a need out here."

Building up - and out

Other stores getting set to open in the new mall include Trade Secret and Kathy's Nails, both slated to launch in the fall, said Carriage Crossing marketing manager Susan Eads. Massage Envy and Firebird's Rocky Mountain Grill are among the lifestyle center's recently opened venues, bringing the mall's total number of stores to about 65 and eateries to about 13, Eads said.

DOING BUSINESS AS ...
A new spate of retail establishments and restaurants have opened or are opening in Collierville. These are the latest:

Blue Coast Burrito in the Avenue Carriage Crossing retail center - set to open in late August or early September. It will be the second location in the Memphis area, with the other at 3546 Walker Ave. near the University of Memphis. Two more locations are planned for Downtown Memphis and Oxford, Miss.

Apothetique, a specialty store that's set to open inside Carriage Crossing within the week, will serve an upscale demographic. It will carry skin care and clothing items.

Trade Secret and Kathy's Nails, both slated to launch in the fall, also will find a home at Carriage Crossing.

Massage Envy and Firebird's Rocky Mountain Grill are among the lifestyle center's recently opened venues, bringing the mall's total number of stores to about 65 and eateries to about 13.

Memphis Pizza Café will open in about seven weeks at 797 Poplar Ave. near Byhalia Road.

The Eclectic Eye is opening another location at 102 Houston Levee Road. Its original store is at 242 Cooper St. in Midtown.

Outside the mall, Collierville is getting set to welcome the latest location of Memphis Pizza Café, which will open in about seven weeks at 797 Poplar Ave. near Byhalia Road. The restaurant is moving into a former Cat's Music location.

Demolition at the site is complete and work is set to begin on the framing of new walls, said Chris Ybos, director of special projects for Montgomery Martin Contractors, which is building the new restaurant.

The company built the local chain's Wolfchase Galleria location and also is working on a Southaven location, Ybos said.

"This one is somewhat similar to the Wolfchase location, but each one is a little bit different," he said. "This one - we went into a Cat's Music store and kept as many walls as we could. So the ceilings will be a little bit different, but it will still have that open bar kind of feeling like the other locations. There will be an open bar to the ovens so customers can see the cooking area from the entire restaurant."

The restaurant should seat about 100 people.


Eye for an Eye

Another new addition to the town's retail offerings - this one in the burgeoning retail corridor sprouting up along Houston Levee Road south of Poplar Avenue - is The Eclectic Eye, which held its grand opening Saturday.

The new store marks the second location of the Memphis business, which blends optometry services and unique eyewear in a contemporary, high-style setting. The store's opening comes four years after the original shop opened at 242 S. Cooper St. in Midtown's Cooper-Young District.

Co-owner and optometrist Dr. Michael Weinberg remains at the store's Midtown location, but sees patients one day a week at the Collierville store. The second location has a full-time optometrist, Dr. Natalie Swanson.

"I really am pleased with the new store because it's very crisp and clean and linear," said co-owner Robbie Johnson Weinberg. "The lighting is subdued and works well as a spotlight - the glasses are the focus."

The store's design - created by Memphis architecture firm Archimania - features rectangular shapes punctuated by neutral ivory hues and natural wood tones. Milky white laminate display pieces complement the décor.

"The space is so different (from the Midtown store) in that it's not a freestanding structure," Johnson Weinberg said. "We felt it was really important to make what little bit of space we did have stand out in a really neat, interesting and eclectic way."

The Weinbergs said the store's Collierville location, 102 Houston Levee Road in the Houston Levee Galleria shopping center, was a good fit for the business - and it's far enough from the original that the two stores don't compete. The couple is considering further expansion of the store's concept.

"We are so excited to be out here and to become part of this community," Johnson Weinberg said. "We do it all - contact lenses, frames, medical eye emergencies, whatever you need, all in this interesting, cutting-edge environment."

And that idea is key in continuing Collierville's retail growth, said Fran Persechini, president of the Collierville Chamber of Commerce.

"The more diversity we have in our economy, the more new businesses that will move in, and that means more commerce for our existing businesses," she said. "Increasing tax revenues goes toward further improving our quality of life and making Collierville a great place to live, work and do business."

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 124 481 17,865
MORTGAGES 127 530 20,565
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 4 48 2,693
BUILDING PERMITS 195 891 36,836
BANKRUPTCIES 52 262 11,426
BUSINESS LICENSES 24 139 5,848
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 26 116 6,830
MARRIAGE LICENSES 26 133 4,049