Edge Alley brewing up new business in Edge District

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In an area that once hummed with the flow of people, a new cafe and retail spot called Edge Alley hopes to bring a constant flow of community — and coffee — to The Edge District just east of Downtown.

Edge Alley, located at 600 Monroe Ave. next to High Cotton Brewing Co.,  officially opened Wednesday. Managers believe their business model will help build up the neighborhood.

"We've got four tenants, local businesses," manager Lindsey Fredrick says. "We want to give them an opportunity to start as a small business here and grow into a bigger space, maybe around the neighborhood to build up the neighborhood."

They also have a coffee shop that roasts its own beans, and a full-service café that makes its biscuits in-house.

"We use that [biscuit dough] for a lot of our recipes," Fredrick explained. "A lot of our biscuit sandwiches and we use our biscuit dough for our strawberry shortcakes and bread pudding."

And there is plenty of space for people to work and have business meetings.

Timothy Barker, the owner of Edge Alley, said he wanted to bring restaurants, coffee shops and local businesses into the area but quickly discovered that most of the venues were too big.

They ended up teaming up with the Memphis Medical District Collaborative to help bring in local businesses who were ready to take the next step in their business. Edge Alley works as a retail incubator for these businesses.

The MMDC is tasked with bringing new businesses to the Medical District — The Edge district is part of that area — and promoting businesses already there.

"This place is perfect for the look and feel of Paulette's Closet," said Amanda Saucier, owner of Paulette's Closet, one of the four independently owned stores in Edge Alley.

"I'm just so excited to meet new people, and customers and clientele and want everyone to come play dress-up with us.”

Saucier is planning on using the space to host special events and launch a men's clothing line to expand her client base.