Amid the shops, restaurants and other small businesses clustered at the intersection of Madison Avenue and Cleveland Street sits the eclectic Market on Madison. Located at 1339 Madison in the Madison Heights neighborhood, the shop is bursting with local goods, unique antiques, bric-a-brac and memorabilia arranged to catch the eye.
“We wanted [the name] to represent that it wasn’t just about antiques, but it’s home decor, jewelry for ladies and men — we have a little bit of everything,” said co-owner Larry Tyger.
Local vendors include vintage clothing from Takos Treasures, local photographer Jessica Miller, mixed-media artist Janet Wilson and Carol Hansen’s Pics and Pearls, earrings of licensed images from Sun Studios, Graceland and other iconic locations with an attached pearl. There are also locally-made candles and soaps.
The price range reflects the eclectic approach. Items run from $1.95 to $2,000
“Calling it a market allowed us to pull different components into it,” said Tyger’s husband and business partner, Chuck Guthrie. “These are things we can’t pull off by ourselves, and we feel like it’s a benefit to the artists and the community to have their things here,” Guthrie continued.
Tyger and Guthrie have 40 years combined experience in the antique business in and around Memphis including ownership, buying, selling and hosting events.They left for the corporate world for some time, but returned to antiques when they opened booths in a Nashville antique mall from 2012 to 2014.
Spouses Chuck Guthrie and Larry Tyger, co-owners of Market on Madison, combined their decades of experience in the antiques business and fulfilled their vision of opening their own shop. (Kim Coleman)
They then returned to Memphis and opened booths in Sheffield’s Antique Mall for two years.
“We decided that we had more than what we could ever put in multiple booths. We wanted to have our own store,” said Tyger of the impetus for the 2,500-square-foot Market on Madison.
The first year-and-a-half of business has been good. Every month has been profitable. According to Guthrie, the commuter traffic is one reason for their success. Concentrating their purchases on vintage items has also been profitable. About 70 percent of the shop's wares are a mix of items from the 60s, 70s and 80s.
The couple also bought a house in the Medical District, close to work. When scouting locations for their shop, they looked in Cooper-Young and the Edge but opted for Madison Heights.
“We looked at this area here at Cleveland and Madison and felt like it was an up-and-coming area,” said Tyger.
They’ve seen growth in the neighborhood with a barbershop, restaurants and a resale clothing boutique specializing in high-end finds
opening around them. The BAM Thrift Store is located across the street and will soon see facade improvements, a coffee shop, new landscaping and stylish new patio.
Related: “Construction starts soon for facade improvements, coffee shop at Madison-Cleveland”
They also feel a benefit from the sense of community among businesses in the area. The businesses often refer clients to one another, and Guthrie and Tyger have had success with events aimed at getting customers in their shop and checking out the neighboring businesses like their Margaritas on Madison cocktail night.
“There are a lot of people who shop [at BAM] and park who come over here,” said Guthrie. “And if someone’s looking for a table, we say, ‘Thanks for coming in,’ and ‘You know, there’s a thrift store across the street.’ We try to let them know it exists because it’s about the customer.”
At Market on Madison, located at the corner of Cleveland and Madison avenues, little corners and nooks are designed with a design flare, like this cozy 'maps' corner. (Kim Coleman)
In addition to neighborhood residents, the shop draws customers from Frayser, Millington, and Mississippi and caters to tourists from around the globe. With their experience, Tyger and Guthrie have developed relationships with vendors throughout the region and work with local realtors to purchase entire estates. Items are found from as far away as Missouri.
“We’ve been fortunate that we always felt like if we liked it then somebody else will like it,” said Tyger. “It’s what we do best — going out and finding the rare items that you don’t see everyday — and getting it at a price that we can resell at a fair price.”
But now Guthrie and Tyger say they are running short on space for their growing inventory. Parking is also an issue. The market shares a small parking lot with roughly five other business in their retail strip and is located farthest from the lot.
“Parking is our downfall here. Our customers say they wish we had something where they could pull right up and that you’re not a block away,” said Tyger.
As a result, a move to another location in the next two years is likely. However, they are planning on staying in the neighborhood they call home.
“We really want to [stay] because we live a mile from here, and we want to be a part of our community. We think that’s important,” said Tyger.