When Abraham Schwab opened his shop in 1876, it was a men's clothing and dry goods store. Over time, the assortment of merchandise expanded to include a seemingly limitless variety of items. In fact, the motto at A. Schwab's became, "If you can't find it at Schwab's, you're probably better off without it."
While the store's original customers may have shopped there for essentials, today's customers are generally tourists and locals alike who are looking for something quirky that probably can't be found anywhere else. Fun finds at Schwab's include voodoo paraphernalia, washboards, unusual Memphis souvenirs, bongo drums, the biggest selection of suspenders I've ever seen, corn cob pipes, and a pair of overalls in a size 74--to name a few.
In addition to the merchandise, customer's also flock to Schwab's to experience the ambiance. Creaky wooden floors, old fashioned candy, and a lingering musty (yet not unpleasant) smell are all part of the charm of the Schwab's experience.
If all of this isn't enough, A. Schwab's houses an unofficial Beale Street museum upstairs. It features Beale Street and Schwab's memorabilia and it is free to visitors.
Schwab's is a fun destination for people of all ages. They are very used to throngs of tourists and unlike some stores, they don't seem to mind children running around, Beale Street revelers trying on the merchandise, or people lingering for a long time.
If you want to pay a visit to this local landmark, plan your trip accordingly. A. Schwab's is open from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 midnight on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays. Be aware that at the time of this writing, ownership is changing and it is unknown what the new store hours will be. It is suggested that you call before making the trip downtown.
163 Beale Street
If you have come to downtown Memphis just to visit Schwab’s, be sure to check out some of these other nearby attractions, all of which are suitable for the entire family: