Creaky floorboards, unexpected finds, a cool drink at the bar. Since 1876, Beale Street residents, Memphians from around town, and out-of-town visitors alike have traveled to A. Schwab to find what they need and what they didn’t know they needed. After all, “If you can’t find it at Schwab’s, you’re better off without it!”

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Memphis Fashion Week, powered by Arrow Creative, hosted their first event on the second floor of A. Schwab. The show took place in April 2012, shortly after the business was purchased. The new owner was in the midst of repurposing the second floor for an event space, when MFW event planners ask them to stop all work in order to present the first annual runway show. Memphis Fashion Week took place during that repurposing, hosting the runway show on a half refinished floor amidst old shelving units and storage space. With just a string of Italian lights, the space was transformed to a runway show packed to the brim. MFW showcased 4 designers, Annie Griffin, Neil Bieff, Billy Reid and What Comes Around Goes Around, with professional models, hair and makeup. The event was sold out and lead to another 9 years of shows, and still going. We will never forget the location of our first show or the excitement that was in the air to be in such a storied building in the heart of downtown Memphis.” Abby Phillips

In 1997 my husband and I were in Memphis for our honeymoon all the way from Manjimup Western Australia. We spent AGES poking around the shelves finding all sorts of goodies to take back with us – most notably some tin signs which are still hanging in our bar. Fast forward to 2015 and we took our 2 boys then 15 and 13 to Memphis to show them around. Of course we HAD to go to A Schwab’s as I was desperate to return. We loved the soda fountain and had a float (we call them Spiders). It was then and still is my most favourite shop that I have experienced. Love the history and all the interesting items for sale. We are now saving and hoping for safer times to return one day. – Karen Markovski

Beale Street with A. Schwab sign, 1976

In high school, we visited A. Schwab to get photos for the yearbook. When Mr. Schwab learned that we were from Central High, his alma mater, he showed us his yearbook. He told us about planting the trees on the main lawn. – P. Merrill

As a kid I was obsessed with anything from the post Civil War era through the Forties. Visiting A Schwab’s was like stepping back in time. Felt hats and stiff collars from the teens and twenties, ladies apparel that looked like it was from the set of Paper Moon, real dungaree overalls, and rows of penny candy were my favorites. Loved seeing that giant pair of overalls on display in the middle of the store. Bought several pairs of (smaller) overalls through the years and my older sister got her patchouli oil there too. Went to school with Elliott Schwab and I love seeing him there now. The renovation was SO well done and kept the spirit of the place in tact superbly. My favorite place to go Christmas shopping! ❤ – Madeleine Edwards

In 2002, I was an eighth grade student at Holy Rosary School. We had an end of year field trip downtown that involved riding a river boat, eating lunch on Beale, and wandering around A. Schwab’s. It was my first time visiting the store, and I remember being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things you could buy there. It was one of the last things the group of us did together before going to our separate high schools. – Caroline Carrico (back row, second from right)

My wife and I used to wander downtown streets on Sunday mornings. Beale was a favorite, and Schwab’s was a high point. – David W. Tankersley

Original artwork by David W. Tankersley

Lila and Samara in front of A. Schwab’s, 2021.