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Goner Message Board / Memphis / Nooooooooooo!!!!!
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 6:00 pm | Edited by: fierydrunk
Please say you got those snaps, Jack Stands.

43-year-old record store sign to hawk new tenant

By Cindy Wolff
September 26, 2006

It survived the death of Elvis, the breakup of the Beatles. It outlived vinyl albums and eight-tracks and even adapted to compact discs.
But the towering black circular sign that helps define the Summer Avenue skyline couldn't live forever.

A store called Envie that sells wholesale purses and jewelry is opening in a few weeks at the former Pop Tunes Records site at 4591 Summer.
Workers have begun to roll white paint across the 40-foot tall, 4,000-pound black circle and remove the neon letters from the 43-year-old sign.

Pop Tunes closed a few years ago, but Jong Kim, who has owned the building since 1995, left the sign up because it has so many memories for Memphians.

He's asked different people if someone wants to move it to a museum or someplace where it will be valued. That would be expensive, he said.

He thought of leaving the sign and building a new one, but people get confused. They think there's still a record store there.

Pop Tunes opened on Summer in 1963 next door to The Peanut Shoppe. Four years later it moved down the street and took the big sign with it.

"Joe Cuoghi (Pop Tunes' original owner) told me it cost more to move the sign than it did to make it," said Jim Burge, who worked at Pop Tunes for 32 years before he bought The Peanut Shoppe.

Wrestler Jerry Lawler said it's sad to watch all the old Memphis icons disappear.

"Everyone knew where that big record was on Summer Avenue," said Lawler, who went to Treadwell High School and spent his teenage years cruising Summer. "It brings back so many good memories. We'd drive through Krystal and Shoney's then past Pop Tunes to Sandy's."

Memphis magazine editor Michael Finger said neon signs are more like works of art that should be preserved.

"The way the notes moved, it made it look like the record was spinning," said Finger. "It's a classic sign.

The city has lost many such signs, like the morbidly disturbing yet mesmerizing Jack Pirtle's Chicken sign that used to be on Poplar. Chickens used to flap their wings and jump off a diving board into a vat of hot grease and reappear in neon as a drumstick.

"The Pop Tunes sign was the coolest thing about Summer Avenue," said Anne-Marie Karash, a New Yorker who's in Memphis visiting her family.

"I just can't believe a restaurant on Beale Street wouldn't want that sign. It can't be too expensive. If they can move the (Zippin) Pippin, they can move the Pop Tunes sign."
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 6:02 pm
I kept looking for them to turn the lights on in the evening. Had my bike and camera ready. It never happened again.
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 6:04 pm
I'll take a picture of the new sign this week.
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 6:07 pm

I think some great pix could be taken inside the new drug front, er, business.
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 6:09 pm
When I went by there last time, and knocked on the door to get them to turn the sign on (no one answered), the racks were bare, but it had the typical cheap-fashion accessory shop in a mall, circa '86.
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 6:14 pm
Wanna wager how long it stays open?
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 6:23 pm
Well, let's see;
busy street, check
decent parking lot for retail stand-alone shop, check
Totally nondescript business name, check
Completely white-washed building with two stripes of color at the top (aqua and purple, I believe), check
Covered-up windows (probably, hopefully just for now), so the only daylight coming in is through the doors, check

It's an attractive business model...
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 6:36 pm
I'd have to see the quality of the bootlegged items within before making my wager, but let's say I'll be shocked if it is showing signs of success when I am there end of Jan.
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 8:11 pm
I've never understood how the Peanut Shoppe could stay open for that long. It's not like I ever see a single car in that lot.
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 8:27 pm
Peanut shop has best prices on pistachios in the city. They do a great biz.
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 8:33 pm
I used to adore that place--glad it has made it. That little pocket of Summer is pretty cool--a mile or so either way.
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 9:36 pm
yeah theres some cool old stores over there. maybe there gone now, but there used to be cool stores over there.
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 9:39 pm
From that corner where gym (what was that called? French Riviera Gym?) was all the way down to Skateland/Lipseys/Fare Four and whatever that crazy complex across the street from the Fare Four was...awesome stretch of greatness. Market Basket, Admiral Benbow, Ethan Allen, Stein Mart...keep it up.
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 9:42 pm
Market Basket

Admiral Benbow

Ethan Allen
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 11:41 pm | Edited by: fierydrunk
Yeah but what the heck was that gym called??? It was next door to the BBQ place--was it Gridleys? I remember I went there once for dinner and had a black man in a nice suit waiting on us...it was the first time I had a server put my napkin in my lap for me and pull out my chair! At a Gridleys!!!
Posted: Sep 26, 2006 11:57 pm | Edited by: sherman
Looks like they got the "R E C O R D S" neon part removed & someone decided to stop there. Been that way for a week. Sad destruction of an amazing icon. That should go on the pyramid.

Good news is that the shell is on its way back after 2 years of mothballs.

Posted: Sep 27, 2006 3:10 am
Whose blog is that? I'm in love with whoever it is...
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 3:19 am
Yeah but what the heck was that gym called???

It was the French Riviera Spa. Back when my family joined they had girl days and boy days for working out. After about a year they added the very controversial "coed" hours on Saturdays from 4 to 8.

Gridley's had great beans. It was started by the family that ran the old Loeb's BBQ shop where Bryant's is now. Gridley's was great! It had the left side where families could go for total mayhem dining. It was complete chaos. Then they had the right side of the place complete with low lights, candles, and cloth napkins.

Pop Tunes was my first record store to haunt. At the time I was only after Jackson Five and Jim Croce. Weird mix. Years later, I once watched a Southwestern at Memphis freshman switch prices on some albums so he could get them cheaper. He later dropped out of school.
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 3:54 am
I remember the French Riviera Spa logo--it seemed so luxurious! I later discovered that my boyfriend (the same one who wined and dined me at the Gridleys) was screwing some girl he picked up at that French Riviera Spa. What a loser. I always wished I would run into that guy the last time I lived in Memphis cos he was going bald in 1984...I am sure he is a-shinin' right about now.
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 7:03 am | Edited by: Windy
family that ran the old Loeb's BBQ shop

fyi, deadcityrebel, did you know that's where dad got most of his bbq recipes?? he used to work for loeb's back in the day.

French Riviera Spa is in the shopping center right next to the French Village Apartments where my newly widowed with 2 kids under 4 and pregnant mother met/got hitched to our dad, who was the maintenance man.
and Zayre's used to be down there too.

Stein Mart is gone, the New Nam King took its place.
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 7:15 am
French Village Apartments where my newly widowed with 2 kids under 4 and pregnant mother met/got hitched to our dad, who was the maintenance man.

WHA? You and DCR look like twins! Tell me about it later.
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 3:50 pm
So a Zayre was in the other end of the shopping center where Stein Mart used to be? I used to hit the Zayre's on Avalon behind the Pig as we lived over thataway.

Does anyone remember JB Hunter? It was where the big library is now. That place was incredible. It had everything from Garanimals to a pet dept.
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 4:20 pm | Edited by: Liberace
I always thought the French Riviera spa was a bathhouse. I didn't miss much.
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 4:31 pm
Sure I remember JB Hunter.
Also, out Summer in the SteinMart strip was the Mark Twain cafeteria. That place was fascinating...had huge murals on the walls with Mississippi River scenes. I'd love to see some pics of those.

Fiery, you may be too young, but maybe not. Do you remember "The Helen Shop" (proper name "Helen of Memphis", but grandmother and all her cronies referred to it as THS) on Union. That was THE place to buy clothes for fashionable Memphis matrons. They had a little girls dept., and we always bought my coats there. Maybe we've talked about it before...
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 5:03 pm
Oh yes. Helen of Memphis. My dad's mom went there for her clothes (along with Julius Lewis--remember?). I was so pissed when they tore down that gorgeous building for the Rite Aid. One more casualty to Union Ave. commerce.

I think I only went to Helen of Memphis a couple of times. What was the department store in the Poplar Plaza on the corner of Highland and Poplar...the one right in that corner? I went there for clothes a lot.
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 5:19 pm
I can't remember that, though I should. I want to say Levy's, but I think Levy's was actually where JB Hunter was before it was JB Hunter.

The Helen Shop building was beautiful, and inside it looked like the store in 'The Women'. The dressing rooms were PLUSH, and you had your own personal "assistant" from the time you walked in until you left. Would cart garments for you, and fetch you drinks, etc.

I cannot believe they are doing away with the Pop Tunes sign. Sucketh.
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 5:25 pm
JB Hunter
Where I scored my first Micronaut (70's precursor to all things Transformer action toy).
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 5:25 pm
I do recall Helen of Memphis inside being like a house, not a store, with gorgeous windows and drapes etc etc. I remember Christmas and Honey (grandmom) would always get a new fur in a big ol Helen of Memphis box.

I will ask my mom what that store was--they had a fancy kids dept; in fact, one part of me wants to say the whole place was for kids.
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 5:27 pm
JB Hunter was the source of all pet gerbils and mice throughout the 70's. As well as a hilarious ensemble of clothing with a tag that read "The Annie Hall Look." It was a white blouse, red velvet vest and red velvet long a line skirt...with a plaid tie!!!!
Posted: Sep 27, 2006 9:29 pm
Also, out Summer in the SteinMart strip was the Mark Twain cafeteria. That place was fascinating...had huge murals on the walls with Mississippi River scenes.
I went there a couple of times. They had a busboy who looked just like Jerry Lewis. Is the Lotus Vietnamese restaurant gone too? Back in the early 80's ,there was a pzza place on Summer called "Two Brothers" that was awesome .I wanted to cry when they shut down. Formosa was great too.
Posted: Sep 28, 2006 2:08 am
Alisa and Fierdrunk, I have some answers for the two of you! Zayre was toward the Graham end of Summer, where Big Lots is now. There was a store near it called Carondolet. It was where AutoZone is now. It was a huge department store with everything from toys to lawnmowers to clothing to a complete grocery store. Way ahead of Sam Walton's time.

JB Hunter was famous for having the longest escalator in town. It was flat and you could put your shopping cart on it.

The department store at the corner of the Poplar Plaza was Lowenstein's. Behind it, with the entrance facing the plaza, not Poplar, was an upper-scale clothing store called Franklin Simon.
Posted: Sep 28, 2006 2:09 am
sorry, fierydrunk, not fierdrunk, although that could be an alter ego.
Posted: Sep 28, 2006 5:19 am
Formosa is gone? My dad used to work on Summer at the Northeast Community Mental Health Center in the 70's. This was on that stretch West of Graham. Next door was the first Asian market I ever went to and I would always get that delicious rice paper candy where you could eat the "paper".

Damn Jeanice! Blast from the past with Lowensteins and Carondolet! I can sort of remember the logo for Franklin Simon. How the hell did Memphis used to have such kickass shopping and what happened?!?!?!?
Posted: Oct 8, 2006 7:05 pm
the family that ran the old Loeb's BBQ shop
Does anyone know Mandy loeb? I went to camp rivalake in winchester Tenn with wer in 1973.
Posted: Oct 9, 2006 3:55 am
fierdrunk, although that could be an alter ego.

Fierodrunk is the buzz you get off a 40something in a windbreaker with gold chains passing you by at 20 knots in this classic custom car-cum-water taxi...
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/pontiac-fiero-mounted-on-boston-whaler- with-40-hp-motr_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ26434QQitemZ4623444072
Posted: Oct 9, 2006 4:45 am
Formosa is "PANDA GARDEN" or some panda-themed chinese rest. now.

haven't tried it.
Posted: Oct 15, 2006 7:46 am
Oy. I recall the flat escalator at JB Hunter. I thought that was the shit when I was a wee tyke. I think I got my first bike there.

I recall Lowenstein's too. Both my grandmothers worked there at one time. There was a Walgreen's-type place in the Plaza too called McCrory's, but my grandmas called it "the dime store". I think it's where Old Navy is now.

Ogod, Helen of Memphis. I fucking hated that place. My mom would drag me there during the summers when I wasn't in school. She bought a lot of her stuff there and tried to dress me in those froofy dresses and I'd have none of it. That place was full of mothball-smelling old ladies shuffling around.

So then I got taken to Natie's for my clothes instead. Fuck!
Posted: Oct 15, 2006 7:46 am
Oh, and I ate at Panda Garden last week. S'ok. Doesn't rock my world but it's ayite.
Posted: Oct 15, 2006 4:00 pm
Fucking Natie's! I never was um, that fortunate. I am sure I had some things I got from my grandparents or for Christmas from the finer stores, but my mom got my kids clothes from Sears, maybe Lowensteins, The Treasury, JB Hunter and sometimes Zayres. And I had LOTS of homemade stuff that was actually cute. When I could actually start wearing juniors clothes, Tempo was my favorite place and TJ Maxx was pretty good too. We just didn't have the money to keep up with everyone.

I remember it was a huge deal when I would get an outfit from Goldsmith's or Julius Lewis.
Posted: Oct 15, 2006 4:30 pm
I actually liked it when my mom shopped for my brother's stuff at Sears (the husky jeans fit him great), 'cause you could get the popcorn and Icees there.

I remember The Treasury! My mom got her ears pierced there!

I have a jacket that my mom got for my dad from Julius Lewis back in 1977 or so. It's freakin' awesome... orangey red leather, red fake fur collar. Very pimpin'. She tried to throw it out years ago and I rescued it.
Posted: Oct 15, 2006 4:45 pm
When I was 4 ,we went to the candy counter at Sears(Poplar and Perkins?) and I got a HUGE bag of M&M's .......the contents of which I proceeded to spill down the escalator. I screamed bloody murder when my ma wouldn't let me retreive them at the bottom. It was mighty traumatic.
That Sears also had the best Santa Claus at Christmas . The Parkway Village Santa was the worst, cheesiest ever. He wore geek glasses and made no attempt to hide the string holding his fake beard on. He wasn't even fat. He was the reason I quit believing
Posted: Oct 15, 2006 6:01 pm
'cause you could get the popcorn and Icees there.

Not to mention candied peanuts and Swedish Raspberries!

Remember the goldfish fountain with all the pennies tossed in outside the Sears?
Posted: Oct 15, 2006 8:09 pm
firey, just do you know, they're taking their sweet time, whitewashing that sign.
Posted: Oct 15, 2006 8:48 pm
They are never gonna finish that job and they'll soon go out of business..you'll have a half whitewashed sign and a vacant cool building.
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