Edge Alley: Micro-retail, coffee and a cafe coming to The Edge

Last night, I went out to 600 Monroe in The Edge District and toured what is going to be a really neat project coming this summer. Edge Alley will have a cafe, a coffee roaster and coffee bar, and will house four micro-retail spaces to be occupied by makers and entrepreneurs.

They are currently holding a competition for businesses to occupy the four retail spots. Chosen businesses will receive up to $5000 assistance with rent and build-out, technical and strategic assistance from professionals who know how to grow a business, and marketing and promotions support from the Memphis Medical District Collaborative. Rents will range from $550-$750 for the retail spaces of up to 225 square feet. Rent includes utilities, common area maintenance fees, wireless Internet, limited janitorial, property taxes, security system, and alarm fees.

Apply here (and you can also see the layout of Edge Alley on this page) for one of the retail spaces. I love the simplicity of the application process – all you have to do is provide basic contact info and describe your business in 250 words or less. Prospective retailers, you have until April 21 to fill out the form.

Okay, let’s have a look at the place. Remember this is very much a WORK IN PROGRESS that is still being built out.

The center part of Edge Alley, where there will be community tables for cafe diners. Off to the left are retail spaces #3 and 4.

Another view of the center space. That rail in the back will eventually be a coffee bar. By the way, this space is directly connected to High Cotton Brewing Co. next door and they were serving High Cotton cans at the reception. Wish I had thought to ask if Edge Alley patrons will be able to get a beer next door and bring it over.

View of the center of Edge Alley from the coffee bar looking toward the front door. The diagram of the interior seems to indicate there will be window seating for cafe diners and coffee drinkers.

Retail space #1, to the right of the front door as you walk in. (click photo to view in a larger size and see rental details)

Retail space #2, to the left of the front door. This was my favorite because of the angular front of the space.

Retail space #3, to the left of the center space.

Retail space #4, to the left of the center aisle and father to the back. I forgot to take a photo of its rent details but it looked identical in size to space #3.

This is a clever idea. Not only will this help four retailers get a start, but it will become a hub for the community, a place where people can share coffee and conversation and get to know their neighbors better. I bet ideas will be formulated here that will lead to the next steps in the development of The Edge as a thriving neighborhood.

Bonus photos

I have driven through The Edge now and then, but this is the first time since June 2014 that I have walked to The Edge and seen the streetscape. What an improvement! Here are some photos I took.

Madison at Marshall

Monroe and Marshall, with art installation by artist Cat Pena. The design is a nod to the days when The Edge served as Memphis’ auto dealership district.

That’s a bike repair station and bike rack at Monroe and Marshall.

Planters make the space more inviting, and seating encourages those in the area to get to know their neighbors as well as tourists in The Edge visiting Sun Studio.

I can’t wait for the opening of Edge Alley, so I can go up there and do some shopping. I’m not a coffee drinker but I’ll have a snack from the cafe. Edge Alley and the streetscape improvements are vital steps in the rise of this neighborhood.

Have an event in The Edge or the Medical Center District that you would like me to cover in this blog? Shoot me an email at paul@paulryburn.com and I will do my best to get out there.