Walk through the doors at 387 South Main and you’ll be warmly greeted by Stock & Belle’s charming crew of employees. What is Stock & Belle? It’s basically a place that has everything to make you look and feel good. The bottom floor holds a store with apparel, furniture, local art, and a pantry of consumable goods. A classy salon occupies the upper floor. Ben will answer any questions you have. It can be any question and he’ll answer it because he’s friendlier than your neighborhood bar tender. Erica (business owner) is the stylish lady who also owns Crazy Beautiful, so that makes her additionally cool by default. And then there is Chad (the other business owner) who is calmer than Shelby Forest State Park. He is also responsible for the store’s amazing window display and the story you’re about to read. Altogether, this small crew holds a big part in supporting local artists and the South Main community. Visit them on a South Main trolley night and you’ll see what I mean.
When we asked Chad if there was something he’d like to share about their venue, we were pleasantly surprised to learn he had checked into the history of the building. This is what he bestowed upon us.
“What was Elvis’ occupation before he was a singer and a movie star? >>>>> If you guessed truck driver, pat yourself on the back. Now for the related story…
For as long as 387 has been around, the parking lot to its North has been just that, a paid parking lot. During the 1950’s to the late 1970’s, 387 South Main was home to one of Memphis owned and operated Fred P. Gattas Department stores. Shipping and receiving upstairs and the main showroom downstairs, Fred P. Gattas didn’t stop there with their operations. The company also ran a saddlery and bridlery division located at 400 S. Main. Anyways, as most truck drivers are early to their destination, so was Elvis. Most often he would park next door to 387 waiting on the staff and family to open the doors to accept their delivery of gas grills, electronics, grooming products or whatever else his load would have been for the week. Over time, Elvis made friends with the Gattas family and their staff upon his routine visits to the store.
Fast forward to when Elvis became famous he made many purchases from the Fred P. Gattas Department store, outfitting his mothers home with the latest and greatest every year. He was so fond of shopping at the store that the family started to make special private shopping hours for Elvis to buy for his mother, family and friends. The only problem with the hours that they made for him were they were on Sunday when the store was closed. During the 1950’s-1960’s their were Blue Laws in effect that any store retail or wholesale could not conduct business on Sundays. Because Elvis was so generous with who he purchased for, there were way too many people parked outside of the store one Sunday and the Memphis Police raided the store and fined the owners for breaking the law. The Gattas family said that Elvis apologized to the MPD, paid the fine the family had imposed and the rest is history…”
Interested in learning more about this establishment? Stay tuned next week for a bit of history on Fred P. Gattas Co. and the catalog.
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