MEMPHIS, Tenn. —
After challenges in recent years, the Memphis community of Whitehaven is riding a new wave of momentum with nearly two dozen businesses setting up shop in recent months and an optimism that there's more to come.
Business is booming in Whitehaven and small business owners say it’s prime time for business growth and success.
“For a little over the past 12 months we’ve had an influx of businesses in Whitehaven,” Pearl Walker, the founder of the I love Whitehaven Business Association, said.” “We are very excited about this.”
Community leaders say they’ve seen over twenty businesses come to the area providing jobs, some remedying blight and others making way for entrepreneurs.
Big brand names like Starbucks and AutoZone are appearing, but also small mom and pop businesses.
The owner of The Vineyard Memphis, a live entertainment venue on Elvis Presley Blvd., says the growth is out of a need for more nearby options.
“When I was growing up in Whitehaven it was a self-contained unit,” Price said. “I mean they had everything that you needed. So much has gotten away from that neighborhood. But it’s still a beautiful place to stay and a beautiful place to be and to own a business.”
Founder of creamery, Kaye's Pints, and Scoops, Kimesha Wilson, has been in business since last June and says Whitehaven provides an advantage by being a central location for all things Memphis.
“It has great access to everywhere because where we are; we’re right here off the expressway,” Wilson said. “It’s easy to get here. It takes about 13 to 15 minutes to get anywhere in the city of Memphis from here.”
Since launching her business, nearly a year ago Wison makes and now distributes ice cream from her creamery in Whitehaven to 16 retailers in the area. It’s a feat she says is only possible in a community with as much pride and support as the “haven”.
“You can envision yourself and make your space in Whitehaven and the community will support you,” Wilson said. “If it is from Memphis, if it’s made in Memphis, Memphians will come out and support and help you survive through those first few years.”