Meet 15 female business owners who are shaping the future of Crosstown.

Women rule Crosstown. Just take a look at how many of the neighborhood’s businesses — some long-time institutions, some brand new additions — are run by women. In honor of National Women’s Month, we’re shining a spotlight on the female business owners who keep Crosstown on the economic and cultural map.


CARLA WORTH & MALLORY ELKINS

AUNT KEY'S APOTHECARY

 Carla Worth

Carla Worth

Best friends Carla Worth and Mallory Elkins combined forces several years ago to create Aunt Key’s Apothecary, an all-natural cleaning service, and they’ve “been kicking germs’ butts ever since,” as Carla puts it. They create their own natural cleaners using environmentally friendly products and essential oils, and their staff uses them to create sparkle and shine in their clients’ homes and businesses. (Note: Carla and Mallory answered questions together, unless otherwise indicated).

Why open your business in Crosstown?

 Mallory Elkins

Mallory Elkins

We sold our first cleaning spray in the [Cleveland Street] flea market in 2013, and we hired our first team member to help us clean the spaces that used to be the Crosstown Arts offices. Home is where the heart is, and for us that’s Crosstown.

What's on your personal music playlist?

Carla: This is a hard one. After listening to music while cleaning for years, it's nice to change it up. I mostly listen to podcasts with a true crime and/or paranormal theme these days.

Mallory: I love old country, so I keep Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Johnny Cash on repeat.

What's your fave restaurant in Crosstown? Favorite dish?

Right now, we dream of the guacamole at Next Door. We’re still hoping for a sushi joint though.

What's your vision for the future of the Crosstown neighborhood? If you had a magic wand, what would you change?

We are still excited daily to see where Crosstown goes in the future. We can’t wait for Black Lodge to open. If we had a magic wand, we would probably put a sushi bar in the main atrium. We LOVE sushi.

Describe a typical Saturday night.

Carla: My Saturday nights are pretty tame, unless I am recording my podcast Talk Spook down in the broadcast booth in the main atrium of Concourse. On Friday nights, I host karaoke at the P&H Cafe.

Mallory: Saturdays nights are my “cooking dinner, watching something on Netflix, and cuddling with my dog on the couch” night. We are definitely both homebodies to the max.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?

Carla: My phone, because I’d call for help first thing. Then to waste some time, a hammock and my cat Polly Pocket. She’s a Hemingway (she has thumbs) and we’re pretty much soulmates. I’d probably consider this “me time.”

Mallory: I would bring my dog, music, and a book.


TERRI FLEMING

SO NUTS & CONFECTIONS

 Terri Fleming, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Terri Fleming, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Terri Fleming says her desire to become an entrepreneur came to her in a vision. And thus, So Nuts — where she roasts and seasons nuts of all kinds — was born. Motivated by strong spiritual beliefs, prayer, and meditation, this business woman hit the pavement hard in her native Horn Lake, Mississippi, starting with a door-to-door approach and then progressing to wholesale, eventually propelling her to move to Crosstown Concourse. For the past five years, Fleming and her team have perfected the art of flavoring pecans, walnuts, macadamias, peanuts, and popcorn.

Why open your business in Crosstown?

It’s an awesome opportunity to serve the community with nuts and popcorn. I also love the idea of reigniting the smell of roasted nuts that so many people remember from their visits to the old Sears Crosstown retail store many years ago.

What’s your vision for your business’ future?

My goal is to franchise. I want to take my business model of flavored nuts to the urban community market.

What’s on your personal music playlist?

My recorded prayers are in rotation.

What’s your vision for the future of the Crosstown neighborhood? If you had a magic wand, what would you change?

I want this to be a meeting place for people to socialize and feel the love. I want people to enjoy the pleasant atmosphere and, of course, the smell of roasted nuts everywhere.

Describe a typical Saturday night.

Exhausted, crashed out on my sofa.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?

Mommy, daddy, and chocolates with nuts!


YVONNE BOBO

ARTIST

 Yvonne Bobo, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Yvonne Bobo, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Whether or not you’re familiar with her name, you’ve no doubt seen artist Yvonne Bobo’s work. Her public art is all over town — the Rhapsody sculpture that serves as a portal to the Old Forest in Overton Park and the large kinetic sculpture (called Gyroscopic) at the corner of Cooper and Madison in Overton Square to name a couple. The designer/engineer/fabricator creates her work in her Crosstown studio, just a few doors down from Co-Motion and the HiTone.

Tell us about you and your art practice.

I endeavor to create sculpture that focuses on the interaction between invention and nature. My art searches for meaning, hope, and reverence in nature. Many of my sculptures are kinetic, both activated by the wind and motors. Light and lighting are essential in the experience of my artwork.

How has the neighborhood changed since you moved here?

Walking into Concourse is like being transported into another city. We can all see the effects on the neighborhood as property values go up and more businesses choose to invest in the area. Derelict buildings are being transformed. The neighborhood is on the rise.

What's on your personal music playlist?

Gigantic by the Pixies

Where do you hang out in Crosstown?

I like to sit, drink a coffee, and sketch in the Central Atrium. I love the open space, but I really love seeing everyone from Crosstown Arts. I miss them now that they have moved across the street into Concourse.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?

A machete, a net, and a magnesium bar to start fires.


CHERYL PESCE

CHERYL PESCE THE LIFESTYLE STORE

 Cheryl Pesce

Cheryl Pesce

Cheryl Pesce wants her retail shop in Crosstown Concourse to feel like your dream home. When you step inside Cheryl Pesce The Lifestyle Store, you’re greeted by designer furnishings, kitchenware, original art, fresh flowers, and more, and everything in the store is for sale. You’ll also find an impressive collection of handcrafted jewelry made by Cheryl Pesce herself. Cheryl got her start in the retail world selling necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other pieces, and those items still make up an important part of her business.

Why open your business in Crosstown?

I was never interested in having a brick-and-mortar retail store until the day I took a tour of Crosstown Concourse. I knew right away that, if I was ever going to open a retail store, it had to be here. It was contemporary, and, at the same time, mid-century modern, which is everything that I am.

What's on your personal music playlist?

My playlist includes Jay-Z’s the “4:44” album, Snarky Puppy, Thelonious Monk, and Marvin Gaye’s “Here, My Dear” 1978 album. It’s not as popular or well-known as his other work, but it’s amazing.

Meat lover, vegetarian, or vegan? Why?

I am plant-based, plus fish, because several years ago, while my daughter was away at school in Chicago, I was missing her terribly. I saw a documentary about a cow who cried and mourned the loss of her calf. She mourned it day and night. Since seeing that documentary, I haven’t been able to eat red meat with a clear conscious.

What's your vision for the future of the Crosstown neighborhood? If you had a magic wand, what would you change?

I would put in new sidewalks with colors and drawings from local artists. I’d renovate the storefronts, creating a really hip, cool, and modern marketplace with lots of outdoor seating and tables with umbrellas. Weekly outdoor concerts on the Crosstown Concourse plaza, complete with clowns, juggling, and activities for children.

Describe a typical Saturday night.

A typical Saturday night for me is cheering on the Grizzlies at the FedExForum and hanging out with friends, then meeting up for post-game drinks at Cheers.


PENNY HENDERSON

MARDI GRAS MEMPHIS

 Penny Henderson, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Penny Henderson, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Penny Henderson is one of the pioneer entrepreneurs of revitalizing Crosstown. She manages a family business and takes pride in her Louisiana culinary culture. After an extended career in corporate America, Penny’s love for cooking lead her to becoming a restauranteur. She brought the culture of the French Quarter, the flavor of etouffee, and the vibrance of zydeco music to Crosstown, when she established Mardi Gras Memphis restaurant in a building that once housed a Krystal’s restaurant decades ago. Diners at Mardi Gras enjoy traditional New Orleans favorites, such as crawfish corn chowder, cajun jambalaya, and po-boys.

Why open your business in Crosstown?

We opened in Crosstown because we wanted a non-commercialized community where we could nestle our restaurant and get to know and treat our neighbors and other consumers like family.

What’s on your personal music playlist?

My playlist is eclectic. There is jazz, country, zydeco, Christian, rap, a little pop and some good, strong, gospel music.

What’s your fave restaurant in Crosstown? Favorite dish?

Not selfishly, it’s artisan pizza from Midtown Crossing Grill. Selfishly, it’s Mardi Gras Memphis.

What’s your vision for the future of the Crosstown neighborhood? If you had a magic wand, what would you change?

My vision for the Crosstown neighborhood is for it to continue to grow, develop, and prosper. The Evergreen Historic District is an amazing place with amazing people. My magic wand would expand love, unity, hope, and throw kindness like Mardi Gras beads. It would also bring upward mobility to Crosstown to the heights I hear it once knew.

Describe a typical Saturday night.

Saturday nights are electric. At least two, and often three, of my family members are always with me, whether I’m working or not. It’s a celebration for another week of blessings.


KATEY MCCABE

WEST TN TRADE AND PRINT CO.

 Katie McCabe, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Katie McCabe, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Katey McCabe runs West TN Trade and Print Co., the custom print business and t-shirt retail store located a block south of Crosstown Concourse. The company represents the Bluff City with street slang, producing bold, catchy wearables, as well as the popular (but not-safe-for-work) “Memphis As F@#$” brand.

Why open your business in Crosstown?

We liked the location. It was close to home, located in an up-and-coming area, and we felt the Crosstown area would embrace our vision of self-expression through visual arts.

What’s your fave restaurant in Crosstown? Favorite dish?

I love the meatballs at Atomic Tiki.

What’s your vision for the future of the Crosstown neighborhood? If you had a magic wand, what would you change?

I would love to see more small, local, retail businesses come to the area and for the ones that are here be able to afford to stay in this location without drastic rent increases.

Describe a typical Saturday night.

I’m home in bed by 10 pm. Being a mom, most Saturday nights are boring. Mainly getting the house cleaned, working on clients’ designs, and new designs for Dirty Cotton T-Shirt Company.

How do you relax?

I love to color with my two-year-old daughter. It makes us both happy to just be still and explore our creativity.


OCTAVIA YOUNG

MIDTOWN CROSSING GRILL

 Octavia Young, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Octavia Young, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

After attending culinary school in Dallas, Octavia Young got her start in the restaurant industry in Tunica, working in upscale kitchens. But she found her true passion in pizza. Octavia opened Midtown Crossing in 2014 in the shadow of the still-vacant Sears Crosstown building. The idea for the casual pizza parlor was part restaurant/part neighborhood pub, and Octavia happily opens her doors for community meetings and tailors her menu to accommodate the tastes of regulars.

Why open your business in Crosstown?

Crosstown is committed to the community businesses and residents, and, in turn, also borders vital communities that are very involved as well. These are important benchmarks for economic progress and longevity. I wanted to be a part of shaping that.

What's your vision for your business' future?

I want Midtown Crossing Grill to have a positive effect in the community; to be a responsible business resident and employer and thrive economically along with the community.

What's your fave restaurant in Crosstown? Favorite dish?

Area 51. Lemon Icebox-flavored ice cream.

How do you relax?

Doesn't happen. Maybe if I were stranded on a deserted island?

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?

A tiki bar equipped with a bartender, satellite phone, and a good book.


CHLOE EVANS AND ADRIENE HOLLAND

CO-MOTION STUDIO

 Chloe Evans, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Chloe Evans, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Chloe and Adriene opened their hula hooping studio at 416 N. Cleveland through the city’s pre-vitalization MemShop program in 2013. Co-Motion Studio, one of the only dedicated hooping studios in the world, offers classes in beginner and advanced hooping and other types of creative movement (yoga, hip-hop dance, and parkour to name a few). Adriene has been hooping for 10 years, and in addition to teaching hoop classes, also teaches youth at Memphis Botanic Garden and co-leads a neighborhood Mandala Makers Club. Chloe is a single mom who left a career in software development to follow her passion for inspiring others to express themselves in creative, healthy ways.

What's your vision for your business' future?

 Adriene Holland, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Adriene Holland, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Adriene: Expand our youth programs and inspire more kids.

Chloe: We are currently focusing on expanding our offsite programming with community partners throughout the area. We'll bring the hoop studio to you.

What's on your personal music playlist?

Adriene: My main squeezes are jam bands and soulful electronic music. Umphrey's McGee & Greensky Bluegrass are my favorite bands so they are usually in rotation. Beyond that, my playlist is truly expansive and crosses all genres.

Chloe: I have an eclectic taste in music and love anything I can hoop and dance to, which is most anything. Blues and jazz are on heavy rotation on my record player. WEVL is always on in my car. I love our local music scene.

What's your fave restaurant in Crosstown? Favorite dish?

Adriene: Midtown Crossing Grill. I love their pizza.

Chloe: The burgers at Farm Burger are delicious, but Midtown Crossing is my favorite neighborhood restaurant, and they'll deliver to my studio.

How do you relax?

Adriene: Travel, nature, live music, yoga, making art, going to the movies, and spending time with people I love.

Chloe: Dancing, hula hooping, sleeping in, and listening to my teenage son's endless jokes. A glass of red wine with friends never hurts.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?

Adriene: A knife, a lighter, and a friend.

Chloe: A hula hoop, a journal, some way to play records. Can I bring friends to make a community?


MARY TUTHILL

TUT-UNCOMMON ANTIQUES

 Mary Tuthill, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Mary Tuthill, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Tut-Uncommon, an antique collector’s dream boutique, is nestled on the Watkins side of the Crosstown neighborhood. Mary Tuthill has been in business for 37 years, offering unique antique jewelry, custom treasured pieces, and quality heirlooms, along with her distinctive customer service.

Why open your business in Crosstown?

When I moved my business 12 years ago, this was considered a borderline neighborhood, but I liked it. It doubled the space that I previously had and was adjacent to the flea market. The Sears building was empty and had not yet been purchased. So, this was a big gamble on my part. Needless to say, things have worked out well.

What’s your vision for your business’ future?

We need to get the word out to both the patrons and workers from Concourse that this little strip of Watkins exists and has interesting shops within walking distance.

What’s your vision for the future of the Crosstown neighborhood? If you had a magic wand, what would you change?

The Crosstown neighborhood is improving every day. I see shops that, for years, have had a shabby façade and are now being gutted and will have a lot more eye appeal. I’m hoping for an interesting mix of shops.


TRACY BURGESS

LUCY J’S BAKERY

 Tracy Burgess, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Tracy Burgess, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Tracy Burgess and her husband Josh have turned their passion — baking — into a way to help those in need. Lucy J’s Bakery, opening soon in Crosstown Concourse, will employ residents of The Dorothy Day House, a temporary shelter for families experiencing homelessness, and pay them a living wage of $15 an hour. Not only will those employees benefit from the sale of Lucy J’s cakes, pies, muffins, and breads, but customers will also have a chance to donate directly to Dorothy Day by purchasing a cup of pay-what-you-can coffee benefiting the shelter. Josh will run the day-to-day operation at Lucy J’s, as Burgess spends her days working as the director of development for the Dorothy Day House (located just a few blocks from Concourse).

Why open your business in Crosstown?

Todd Richardson and our leasing agent, Shawn Massey, believed in the bakery's mission from the very beginning. We were looking for a place that was near the Dorothy Day House and accessible by public transportation, and we hit the jackpot with a space in this beautiful building.

What's your vision for your business' future?

Our employees will work as service teams (core employee and a Dorothy Day House employee) as bakers, cake decorators, and cashiers. Our dream is that DDH employees will become core employees and train new DDH employees as we grow. Secondly, we want to establish a group of businesses dedicated to paying a living wage.

What's your fave restaurant in Crosstown? Favorite dish?

Of course I'm going to say a croissant from Lucy J's Bakery, but do I have to pick just one? I also love the goat cheese and blackberry ice cream from Area 51.

What's your vision for the future of the Crosstown neighborhood? If you had a magic wand, what would you change?

I would want more renovated and affordable housing for families who are living on low wages.

How do you relax?

I love to read. My problem is I start too many books at one time. Right now, I'm re-reading Fr. Greg's Boyle's Barking to the Choir, and then I'm reading Sr. Joan Chittister's Radical Spirit, Peter Block's Community, and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.


RENDE BECHTEL

MADISON PHARMACY

 Rende Bechtel

Rende Bechtel

Madison Pharmacy, independently owned and operated by native Memphian Rende Bechtel, is located in the west corridor of Crosstown Concourse. Bechtel is focused on caring for patients the old-school way — exceptional customer service with a smile and greeting customers by their names.

Why open your business in Crosstown?

It is an opportunity to serve our customers in a location unparalleled to anywhere else in Memphis.

What’s on your personal music playlist?

Levon Helms, Sam Cook. If the song is good, I play it, whether it’s jazz, classical, rap, rock, or the blues.

What’s your fave restaurant in Crosstown? Favorite dish?

They are all excellent. I like different and unique foods, and Mama Gaia’s petitzzas fit that bill.

Describe a typical Saturday night.

I am with my family, whatever we are doing or wherever we are.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?

Three Genie bottles, because then you would have nine things instead of three.


CRU VON HOLTZENDORFF-FEHLING

MAMA GAIA

 Cru von Holtzendorff-Fehling

Cru von Holtzendorff-Fehling

Cru von Holtzendorff-Fehling is sharing her passion and the benefits of eating organic and plant-based food with the world. After she was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, Cru shifted her diet to the one that inspired the menu at Mama Gaia (all organic, all plant-based). This family-owned business was the first restaurant of any kind to open in Crosstown Concourse and the first totally organic restaurant to open in the city. Mama Gaia has a mission of helping the Mid-South cultivate a sustainable lifestyle through healthy eating.

Why open your business in Crosstown?

Crosstown is an amazing project that aligns with many of the fundamentals on which we built our business. We love the thought of community, transparency, and transforming something existing with a new purpose. And besides all that, I love this building.

What’s your vision for your business’ future?

I would love to see Mama Gaia grow into more than just a restaurant. We hope to transform the way people think about foods on a grander scale. The more people learn about the possibilities that lie in healthy foods, the better for us as individual humans and the planet.

What’s on your personal music playlist?

I love European electronic music, and I am also an old school kind of a girl, so you can find 70s and 80s songs on my playlist, like Al Green, Barbra Streisand, and Michael Jackson. I also enjoy German musicians, like Xavier Naidoo or Andre Heller.

Where do you hang out in Crosstown?

Usually at Mama Gaia. I love to wander around though. I truly am in love with the building — the wide open spaces and the loading dock. I love sitting out there eating. I can’t wait for spring to come around with warmer temperatures.

How do you relax?

I meditate in the morning, do lots of yoga. I love walking in forests and along the mighty river. Relaxing is a state of mind for me, so I try to incorporate it into everything I do.


KARIN CUBBAGE

AREA 51 ICE CREAM

 Karin Cubbage, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Karin Cubbage, photo courtesy of Jamie Harmon

Karin and Steve Cubbage began producing their locally famous hand-crafted ice cream and sorbet in 2014 at the original Hernando, Mississippi, location of their scoop shop, Area 51 Ice Cream. They opened a second location in Crosstown Concourse last year. Karin and Steve pride themselves on using natural, in-season produce and ingredients.

Tell us a little more about your business.

My husband and I wanted to make the best possible ice cream. We wanted to serve it in the kind of place where we would want to hang out and hoped other people would feel the same way. We treat people like family, and we are a family business. Three of our kids work for us now, and I hope when the other two are old enough, they will too.

Why open your second location in Crosstown?

It was a perfect fit, definitely the place we wanted to be. It's nice to be involved in a project with people who have the same vision for how we do business and the future of Memphis.

What's your vision for your business' future?

Hard to say. I didn't see this five years ago; that's for sure. Maybe another location. I definitely want to grow the baked goods side of the business, and we want to eventually offer mail-order delivery.

What did you have for breakfast today?

I don't like to eat breakfast.

How do you relax?

If I'm feeling stressed, I like to organize things.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?

Ice cream, Diet Coke, and sunscreen.