Local artisan market to open in the Edge District

The competition is on to see which local retailers and makers will win $2,500 and a spot in the Edge Alley development, which is slated to open this May.
The Edge Alley space, adjacent to High Cotton Brewing Co. on Monroe Avenue, will consist of a coffee roaster and coffee bar, a café, and the four retail spaces for local artisans.
Tim Barker and Phil Massey, who own the High Cotton space, created the mixed-use coffee shop concept as a way to use square footage unoccupied by the local brewery.  
Barker and Massey, who recently used the space for a pop-up art gallery, are interested in promoting flexible spaces and a maker culture in the blossoming Edge District.
This development comes as the Memphis Medical District Collaborative, an independent development agency backed by the area’s major medical institutions, advances their goal to increase retail offerings in the neighborhood to make it a more livable environment for professionals, students and residents.
“(MMDC’s) goal is to work with the anchor institutions to grow the neighborhood. A big part of that strategy is real estate development and attracting new and growing businesses,” said Abby Miller, MMDC director of programs and data.
“This is a really good entry point for makers, businesses and entrepreneurs because it’s a micro space where the makers are benefiting from being together and taking a square footage that is feasible,” she added.

The application for retailers opened February 2 and will close March 10.  Preference will be given to makers who can be ready to move into a small brick-and-mortar space by May 1. Applications forms can be found at edge-alley.com.

Suggested retail categories are clothes, shoes, jewelry, bags, food, furniture and home goods as well as bath and body and skincare and fragrance.

In addition to the $2,500 to spend on their store and offset rental cost, retailers will also receive up to 20 hours of business assistance from MMDC and technical assistance from EPICenter.

“We want a good healthy mix of business,” said Miller.
“Anybody who is a maker or entrepreneur is welcome-- whether they want a second location or are just starting out. What’s cool and viable about this project is having that diversity and interest when you walk into the space. It’s that wow factor. We want to see opportunity appeal to broadest community possible. We really want to help.”
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Read more articles by J. Dylan Sandifer.

J. Dylan Sandifer is a freelance writer living in Memphis since 2008. They have also contributed writing and research for MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, VICE News, and Choose901.