Wednesday, September 28, 2016
A. Schwab dry goods store is the only remaining original business on Beale Street in Memphis, TN. Their motto is "If you can't find it at A. Schwab, you're probably better off without it!"
Established in 1876 by Abraham Joseph Schwab, a Jewish immigrant from France, the store is a local tourist attraction with two floors of shopping and, between the first and second floors, a small balcony which houses the Beale Street Museum, a collection of Beale Street memorabilia along with several items and records of the Schwab family, which ran the store until 2011. It began as a men’s haberdashery, transitioned to a dry goods store, and later evolved into a seller of quirky merchandise. Products include various hoodoo items, assorted dry goods, and tourist memorabilia. A. Schwab's was also the retailer of the largest overalls in the world which sold two pair a year. The overalls were so large they hung from the ceiling.
A. Schwab, the oldest store in the Mid-South, is housed in the oldest remaining building on Beale Street. The store was founded at another location on Beale Street and moved to 163 Beale Street in 1911 and expanded into 165 in 1922. Both of these buildings were constructed before 1890. Prior to the expansion, 165 Beale housed a Piggly Wiggly. The building is part of the Beale Street Historic District which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
The neon sign has a badge that it was made by Artkraft of Lima, Ohio. A second label mentions the H.A. Balton Sign Co. of Memphis.
Would you like to see more photos from Beale street? Check out the Beale Street gallery