VOL. 132 | NO. 137 | Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Edge Alley Names 1st Micro-Retail Tenants
By Patrick Lantrip
Kerry Hayes and Tim Barker are putting the finishing touches on the Edge Alley, a coffee shop and micro-retail incubator in the Memphis Medical District, in anticipation of its upcoming grand opening. (Daily News/Patrick Lantrip)
Even though the focus in the Memphis Medical District is often on incremental development, one of the neighborhood’s more unique projects is about to take a big step forward. Edge Alley, the Medical District’s mixed-use coffeehouse/micro-retail incubator concept, has formalized its inaugural lineup of tenants and expects to set a grand opening date soon.
My Heavenly Creations, Paulette’s Closet, HWD Goods, and 901 Shop were chosen as the first retailers to complement the in-house coffee roaster and café, which will be located in a century-old former chrome-plating shop next to High Cotton Brewery on Monroe Avenue.
“This project is a great example of what small, neighborhood development looks like – somebody who is already entrenched in the neighborhood, building off the current energy and momentum, and is also providing an opportunity for new entrepreneurs coming into the district,” said Abby Miller, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative’s program and data director.
Miller said that one of the driving factors behind this project was a retail market study her organization commissioned that found the Medical District could support an additional 197,000 square feet of retail across different categories, based on the current population and future growth.
Barista Tyler Cruze prepares coffee at Edge Alley. (Daily News/Patrick Lantrip)
“I think there is a huge opportunity for retail, both on a small and large scale, in the Medical District and we are excited to be able to support this,” Miller said.
“One of the things about the Medical District is that we are uniquely positioned on both the supply side and the demand side and this project is a good example of how those things can come together to enhance the commercial corridors in the neighborhood.”
Each of the four micro-retail bays measures around 225 to 250 square feet and will open up to the common area. Since it’s a retail incubator, each tenant signed leases ranging from one month to one year in the hopes that the fledgling companies will eventually be able to spread their wings and find a new home within the district.
“If you’re somebody who has an inventory that you make to order, or if you’re somebody who just keeps a small about of inventory, 750 to 1,200 square feet is just daunting,” Edge Alley co-founder Tim Barker said.
Artist rendering of Edge Alley in Memphis' Medical District. (Submitted)
The small bays were a selling point for the roughly 20 or so entrepreneurs who applied for the spaces, Barker said, especially considering the majority of the buildings in the Medical District are too large to support any one budding retailer.
“It just made sense to create a pilot for everything under one roof just so the neighborhood can actually support all of these things in some capacity,” he said.
Barker said the new tenants will begin to start setting up shop in the next three to five days and an official announcement regarding the grand opening date will be made soon via Edge Alley’s Facebook page.