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VOL. 127 | NO. 187 | Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jeremy Park

Why Memphis Rocks: Part 2

By Jeremy Park

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Last week we started sharing some of your responses to the question, “Why do you think Memphis Rocks?” Since your perspectives articulate it best, this week let us continue with more artful narratives and feedback.

Stacy McCall: “Not only is Memphis a great place to stay, to play and to live, it’s also a great place to grow a business. The business-to-business landscape in Memphis is very healthy, and there is a spirit of encouragement among business owners that I haven’t experienced in other metropolitan areas. We’ve discovered that Memphis businesses want other local businesses to succeed, and they are willing to make introductions and help us develop relationships that will benefit our business and our employees.”

Jean Shepard: “I am one of those people who was born and raised in Memphis. I grew up around Cooper and Young, going to the Fairgrounds, the Mid-South Fair and the Zoo. When my employer transferred me to such places as Nashville, Richmond, Va., Jackson, Miss., and Atlanta, Ga., I always told everyone that I would always return to my roots in the Memphis area. When I have family or friends visit, we start off with barbecue and then I take them to visit our fantastic zoo, see the ducks at the Peabody, walk down Beale Street and go to Graceland. We have the FedExForum, Redbird stadium, the Pink Palace, Dixon galleries and the Brooks Museum and many other attractions that can’t be beat anywhere. One of the greatest attractions we have is St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. A few years ago I organized a group of visitors and took them on a tour of the hospital and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

Don Batchelor: “Memphis Rocks for so many reasons that it is hard to put into words. In short, Memphis has a hometown vibe. Sometimes that vibe is funky: Al Green, Sam and Dave, Booker T and the MGs, the Memphis Horns, Isaac Hayes, Justin Timberlake. Sometimes that vibe is more sophisticated: The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Opera Memphis, the Brooks Museum, Ballet Memphis, the Memphis Symphony. Sometimes it is more like the blues: Beale Street, world-famous barbecue, the National Civil Rights Museum.

“That vibe can also be incredibly creative: innovative charter schools like Soulsville Academy, Holiday Inn and AutoZone were all founded here. Industries were started here: Piggly Wiggly, the first self-service grocery store; FedEx, the first overnight package delivery service. The vibe can also be the gospel: many healthy churches doing very innovative work to serve the poor and outcast, just like Jesus did.

“And of course, Elvis is the embodiment of all of this in one incredible innovator: soul, gospel, pop, rock the blues. So I guess I just like my hometown vibe, in all of its beautiful expressions!”

Jeremy Park, director of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at jeremyp@lpinsurance.com and followed on Twitter (@lpbreakfastclub) and Facebook (facebook.com/lpbreakfastclub).

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