Consider this list our little gift to you, the shopper who has a list a mile long, needs a few souvenirs to take home to the kids, or has to load up on bridal finery for friends or holiday baubles for the entire family.
This list of our favorite gift stores covers gifts both funky and fabulous, those that have an indelible connection to Memphis, and cover every neighborhood in the city. Better yet, many of the stores on this list are in shop-py neighborhoods, so you can use this as a handy guide to the best of gift shopping around town.
In East Memphis, you can go from outlet shopping for culinary tools, furnishings and home decor at the Williams Sonoma / Pottery Barn / West End outlet stores, pop over to nearby Babock's for traditional bridal finery, or hit the Booksellers.
If you've never seen the ducks march at the Peabody Hotel, here's a little extra incentive: the excellent Lucky Duck gift store is right in the hotel lobby - and it's the only place in town we know of to score an Elvis rubber duckie. In Midtown, try Me & Mrs. Jones for unique home-decor items, decorating books, and inspirations for your favorite DIY-er. The gift stores at Stax and the Metal Museum are two of our absolute favorites for the most unique and utterly Memphis gift-giving.
A charming local favorite,Otherlands is kind of like that box of chocolates Forrest Gump talks about – you never know what (or who) you will find inside the funky building, located north of the main center of the CY neighborhood. While Otherlands serves wonderful pastries and desserts, it also doubles as a gift store, featuring loads of handmade items from across the globe. Think Pier 1 with loads of authenticity. Shelves are filled with jewelry and candles and small decor items; most of the mirrors and artwork on the wall is for sale, and almost all the art is local.
A trifecta of treats, the Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm 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 West Elm and 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! One of the best things about these outlets is that you can often find items that are featured in the most recent catalog, already marked at a savings. Be warned, however: Some of the items, particularly the furniture, are of the scratch and dent variety – and frankly, are sometimes really beat up.
Located on the historic town square in Collierville, the Brooks Collection is a gift store with all the services one used to find in every gift store - wrapping, bridal registry, wish lists, and shipping. Focused on fine gifts, gourmet foods and accents with a Southern, well, accent, Brooks is a must-stop in Collierville, especially if you need a gift but have no idea what you're looking for. Just ask the sales folks - they are so good at helping you define a perfect gift. Vera Bradley, Tervis Tumbler, Roots Candles and Vietri are sold here, as is a nice assortment of pottery from Mississippi artists, and a variety of linens.
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.
A former mega-store has turned into a mega-must for fans of vintage, antique and collectible items; row upon row of dealer booths promise hours of browsing. Sheffield's is one of those stores where every budget can be satisfied, whether looking for inexpensive accessories, re-purposed furniture given new life with a few coats of paint and glaze, or luxuriously re-upholstered period pieces. A smattering of gifts - from embroidered guest towels to candles, quirky yard decor and college spirit items - are scattered throughout many booths. On weekends, items move out quickly - so be sure to pull a tag if you see something you must have, as it may be gone by the time you make a circuit of the store.
Stax is one of our favorite museums and must-hits in Memphis - and the gift store at this museum of American soul music is one of our favorite stores in town, too. In addition to all the greatest music from the label, Stax offers music-themed gifts - plenty with retro flair. We've bought silk ties with a print of 45 adapators (if you have to ask, then forget it) and colorful paper coasters, as well as more traditional t-shirts with the funky Stax logo. Since Grammy-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum came to Stax as head of the Stax Foundation, the shop has also started carrying lots of colorful logo'd baseball caps...very likely a nod to Whalum's signature style.
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.
Located within the excellent National Ornamental Metal Museum – or just the Metal Museum – the museum store brings together the works of metal artists from across the country. There are one of a kind and limited edition pieces that are truly works of art to hang or display; there are also a load of decorative and functional items - candle holders and kitchen utensils, jewelry, tree ornaments and garden decor. The museum store also carries made-in-Memphis (or at the museum itself) items that were crafted just for the store, including a gorgeous magnolia leaf votive holder ($70). The museum store is open during regular museum hours.
For fine gifts, Babcock is a Memphis go-to. With fine lines of china, silver and crystal, every bride in town registers here, but the offerings 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 - including already wrapped and ready to go themed styrofoam cups. During the holidays, the store fills with decor - everything from festive serving pieces to ornaments to metal yard art. For the bride - or those looking to round out their china and crystal, the lines carried are the best, including Haviland, Waterford, Wedgewood, Juliska, Limoges,and more.
Social offers a fabulous selection of tableware, home furnishings, antiques,jewelry, gifts and accessories. Founded in 2012, Social is must-hit for wedding, baby and girlfriend gifts - and also carries a nice selection of gifts for men. Housed in a charming cottage in East Memphis, Social offers bridal and gift registry. There's a great selection of inexpensive and fun gifts, as well as crystal, china and linens. One of our favorite finds at Social is the expansive selection of vibrant Turkish T towels in all sizes and colors. You can use the tablecloth-sized towel as a tablecloth, a beach sarong or even a beach blanket.