Memphis-based development company Shab Chic is partnering with the Memphis Medical District Collaborative to bring a retail shipping container village to a lot on the 600 block of Monroe Avenue in the Edge District directly across from Edge Alley.
Shab Chic Marketplace at the Edge will provide an opportunity for startups and small businesses to show off their goods or services.
“It’s a way for us to get small businesses involved and put them in a position to test the waters for a brick-and-mortar store,” said Brian Christion, co-founder of Shab Chic.
Each shipping container is eight feet wide by 20 feet long, and there will be four containers installed at the location by mid-November, with an opening slated before Black Friday. The first vendors will be selected later this month.
“We have a waiting list of about 20 people who have applied,” said Christion. “And the best part about it is we are doing short-term leases of three to six months, so we plan to cycle out the shops at least two to three fold so we can give more people a chance to get into a space and see how it works for them.”
Applicants include bakeries, juice shops, a mini spin class and apparel outlets including a dog clothing company.
“We want to have fun and funky things that you normally wouldn’t see in a mall or strip mall,” said Christion. “We want people to come because it will be something different that they haven’t seen before.”
The plan is to keep the containers in the Edge District for two years, and then they could be moved to another location.
“At any given moment, we could set up a new design or a new layout and even put them in a different neighborhood to bring new businesses there,” said Christion, who also works in property management for Fogelman Properties. “The beauty of the shipping containers is that they don’t take up a lot of room, and you can arrange them as you need.”
The concept for the retail village has been in the works for the past two years. Originally, Shab Chic had planned for something similar to go in on Broad Avenue before switching tracks to bring the idea to the Edge neighborhood.
Youngblood Studio is doing the work to get the containers, which come from Whitehaven, ready for retail use. That renovation work includes adding insulation, heating and air conditioning and adequate electrical outlets for lighting and registers.