Easy-Way, 80 North Main Street
of the oldest continuous operating businesses in downtown Memphis is
closed. For 80 years, the Easy-Way grocery store at 80 North Main
Street offered downtown residents and office workers a variety of
foodstuffs, including fresh produce. The store was opened in 1932 by
Pate Carter, who had worked at a nearby Piggly Wiggly grocery. His
grandsons Barry and David Carter own the Easy-Way stores now. The 80
North Main grocery was the original Easy-Way store, over the years
others were opened around the Memphis area. Declining sales at the
downtown location are cited as the reason the grocery is shutting its
doors for good at closing time September 29, 2012. Owners note that
many of its traditional customers no longer live in the downtown area.
The population of downtown has rebounded in the past 20 years, and in
the past 10 the average income has jumped 86% per person. There is some
talk that Easy-Way may open another store downtown, in a location where
there would be more private vehicular traffic.
As they learned of the closing annoucement, customers of the store said its closing will hurt downtown, where there are not many places to buy groceries.
While the landmark store is closing, there is no reason to believe the building itself is in jeopardy. Downtown Memphis Commission President Paul Morris says the Commission is talking with property owners in that block of Main Street about redevelopment that might transform the entire block.