Within the next few weeks, residents of Soulsville in South Memphis will have a new place to shop for their walking shoes. Klassy Chics
, a new women's boutique from entrepreneur Toya Bailey, is a partnership with the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team
initiative and alt.Consulting
At the corner of Mississippi Boulevard and Walker Avenue is a three-bay strip of brick storefronts. The shop just to the north of Klassy Chics, @Home Computer Service
, opened last month under the same program.
Bailey, who has a degree in business management and already owns a janitorial service with her husband, says she always wanted to be an entrepreneur. When it came to a possible location, she says, "I actually didn't have a plan, per se, of what particular neighborhood I wanted to put it in . . . my initial idea was to have affordable shoes, so I think that's a great neighborhood, the Soulsville area, where the women can come in and shop and look nice and still have reasonable prices."
A MEMFix event held in the neighborhood last fall activated several blocks along Mississippi Boulevard, including this one. The focus was on reinvigorating the intersection through spruced-up storefronts and pedestrian-friendly alterations to the sidewalks and crosswalks.
Out of 15 businesses that submitted applications for the available spots, Klassy Chics and @Home were chosen by a panel of local residents and economic development organizations throughout the city.
The program will act as a six-month incubator, with the Delivery Team subsidizing rent for half of that period, along with a grant for tenant improvements. alt.Consulting is the local partner of the Delivery Team and provides customized, one-on-one technical assistance with financial statements, marketing and lease negotiations to MEMShop participants.