Budget, beware: Memphis is full of temptation.
By Sally Walker Davies
Memphis Local Expert
From all the shops and stores in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best offerings. We deliver a carefully vetted selection to let you explore Memphis shopping on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Best Shopping list for Memphis. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss, and promises to take you all throughout town as you shop.
Our list includes a great jewelry store called Charlotte Eihinger-Schwarz, which is a German retailer with just a few locations in the United States. Located in the historic South Main neighborhood, Charlotte's unique, inter-changable designs keep us coming back for more, and the area is full of other must-visit shops, too. Just a few blocks north, inside the historic Peabody Hotel, you will find Lansky's, the clothiers that gave Elvis his fashion-forward reputation.
We've included two shopping centers on this list, too; Laurelwood and the Shops of Saddle Creek, located in East Memphis and Germantown, respectively.
10 Laurelwood Shopping Center
This east Memphis retail center is the most upscale in town, offering a nice combination of locally-owned shops mixed in with upscale national retailers. There are a few high-end clothiers, including Joseph for women, which also sells cosmetics and shoes, and James Davis for men; the smattering of nationally-known stores include Talbot's and J. Jill. Laurelwood is also home to the Memphis chocolate and candy company Dinsthul's, which we adore. A fabulous florist / gift store called Le Fleur is always a favorite, the must-shop Saachi is the same for teens, and the independent and locally-owned Booksellers is a perfect spot to while away an afternoon. (901-682-8436)
9 Palladio Antiques
If we had loads of income - disposable or otherwise - Palladio is where we'd spend it. With an array of antiques and collectibles, and random vintage finds, Palladio offers some of the highest-end antiques in the city, as well as a fantastic collection of works from local and regional artists. This is not a particularly huge store, but it does offer a nice array of styles, so there's something for every taste arranged in individual booths for easy browsing. And even though this isn't a massive space, there are 75 different booths to browse, so plan your time accordingly. We are particularly drawn to the English antiques -oh, our kingdom for an original pub sign! (901-276-3808)
8 Williams-Sonoma - Pottery Barn Clearance Outlet
The Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn outlets offer the chance to get all your favorite merchandise, as featured in the catalogs and stores, at discount prices. From current season furnishings at Pottery Barn to the highest quality name-brand kitchen equipment and accessories, there are always bargains to be had, especially on the Williams Sonoma side, where we always are on the lookout for the All-Clad sales - heaven! More than anything, we love picking up Christmas gifts here; we stock up on the kinds of gifts that are great for families, like mugs and gourmet hot cocoa mix, or pancake mix with themed pancake molds. (901-763-1500)
7 Charlotte Ehinger-Schwarz
German engineering is the secret to Charlotte's jewelry; think of it as Legos for grown-up girls, with an unlimited yet gorgeous combinations of stones, metals and precious materials. Truly - take a ring or a necklace, swap out a pearl for a stone, a metal disk for one studded with diamonds, and reassemble the whole thing into a unique and stunning combination - that's how Charlotte jewelry works, and we are hooked. And even with German engineering and fine stones, the Lego-like jewelry isn't cost prohibitive. The Memphis store is a rare jewel, too - just one of two locations in the US at which to play wand buy the jewelry. ((901) 522-0100)
6 A. Schwab Dry Goods Store
Located on historic Beale Street since 1876, this general store is a Memphis institution. Schwab's has changed hands over the years, but the employees and inventory seem to remain the same.The dusty and vast inventory includes everything from kitchen flatware to overalls and knick-knacks. Be sure to visit as you'll feel as if you have stepped back in time and are visiting the only store in a small town -- and boys particularly love this place, as it is full of essentials like whoopee cushions and other staples of boy-toys. You need to pay the old-fashioned way, too -- no credit cards accepted! (901-523-9782)
5 Babcock Gifts
For fine gifts, Babcock is a Memphis go-to. With fine lines of china, silver and crystal, every bride in town registers here, and for good reason. The store is known for its excellent customer service, the gift-wrapping, the sage advice about those important questions, like how many place settings to buy and whether you really need silver (yes, you do). But the offerings at Babcock go way beyond bridal. Local and regional pottery from Agnes Stark and T. Puterbaugh Gill are affordable and excellent gift options, and there is plenty of casual party ware and small gifts to round out the selection. (901-763-0700, 800-489-0701)
4 Shops of Saddle Creek
A loosely spread complex with three separate sections, Saddle Creek offers all the latest trendy, name-brand stores. And while we are more inclined to hit locally-owned stores, we love Saddle Creek for its open-air concept, walk-ability, and upscale selection of stores. Saddle Creek features Williams-Sonoma, kate spade, Anthropologie, Coach, and Janie and Jack; Lucky Brand, Vera Bradley, White House / Black Market, and JJill. Men can find something to wear at Banana Republic or J. Crew. There are a few restaurants scattered throughout the area (and others definitely within walking distance of the south side of the center). During the holiday season, local school choirs entertain shoppers. (901-753-4264)
3 Booksellers at Laurelwood
The local bookstore lives on - and lives on in splendorous existence at the Booksellers. Locals still call it Davis-Kidd, as the store was formerly known before it was bought out by the staff in order to ensure its survival. This is the kind of store where you can pick up a gift as well as a book - and we guarantee you can't stump the staff - they know everything. The delightful Bistro in one corner of the store serves up a fantastic breakfast, lunch, or dinner with signature items including a bleu cheese-topped tomato soup, and scrumptious offerings from local and regional cookbooks. (901-683-9801)
2 Lansky at the Peabody
Lansky Brothers fashions are a part of Memphis history, and their upscale designer clothing stores are a local fixture. While musicians like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and B.B. King provided the sound of Memphis, Lansky Brothers provided their fashion sense. Most well known for Elvis's Hi-boy collars, peg-legged pants, and pink/black combinations, they have been bringing the funkiest and hottest looks to Memphis for more than 50 years. The shop is small yet well-stocked, and they even carry blue suede shoes (and they're quite stylish). They also know how to tie a bow tie, if you're staying at the Peabody and need a rescue. Even if the prices are out of your range, browsing the 2000-square-foot store inside the lobby of the Peabody is quite an experience. (901-529-9070)
1 Me & Mrs. Jones
The totally talented Stephanie Jones set up shop in Cooper-Young, and talented DIY-ers across the region are celebrating. Jones, who shudders at the use of the word 'faux', notes that fine finishes are what her artistry is all about. She teaches hands-on workshops in her studio, sells painted furniture, Annie Sloan chalk paint and Miss Mustardseed Milk Paint; she also sells brushes, books, custom stencils, interesting knobs, local travel guides, flea market finds and whatever else strikes her fancy. If you, like yours truly, doesn't have the ability or patience to paint, fear not - Jones and company always have the shop stocked with a number of finely painted furniture pieces. ((901) 494-8786)
About Sally Walker Davies
Sally Walker Davies is enchanted by Memphis' music, history, and characters. From the artsy South Main Historic District to the grittiness of her favorite live music clubs to the sophisticated style of the eastern edge of the city, there’s a Memphis for every mood, and she loves every part of it. Walker Davies is an experienced broadcast, print, and online journalist focusing on travel, writing for the Commercial Appeal, AOL Travel, BudgetTravel.com, and The Tennessean. She is the author of Tennessee: An Explorer’s Guide and the Elvis-themed travel app King Me: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Royalty Tour.
Read more about Sally Walker Davies here.