Downtown Memphis Hotels

The following are some of the best hotels in the attractive and historically rich downtown area of Memphis.

The Residence Inn Memphis Downtown is situated in downtown Memphis. Nearby attractions include the Mud Island River Park, Mississippi River Museum, the Orpheum Theatre, and the Memphis Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum. The Residence Inn offers several facilities, including safe deposit boxes, guests’ dry cleaning services, laundry facilities, and high-speed Internet access. The mezzanine and lobby are breathtaking, with original architectural features still intact. The elegant hearth room has an unconventional double-faced fireplace, and is positioned close to the billiards room. Guests wake up to a continental breakfast. A high-end business center caters to the needs of the businessman. For functions, the hotel has two conference rooms complete with all the requisite facilities. Though it does not have its own restaurant, there are several in the vicinity offering fine cuisine and competent services. Room amenities include coffee makers, irons and ironing boards, hair dryers, and cable television.

SpringHill Suites is conveniently situated less than a mile from Peabody Place, Beale Street, and the Orpheum Theatre. Also nearby are Graceland, Mud Island River Park, St Jude’s Hospital and the brand new Fed Ex Forum. The hotel has convenient and quality accommodations, such as a pantry area with refrigerator, coffee maker, microwave, and living area with a sofa-bed. SpringHill Suites also offers a complimentary buffet breakfast.

The Comfort Inn Downtown is an ideal choice for business travelers and family vacations. The hotel overlooks the Mud Island River Park and the Mississippi River. The Comfort Inn Downtown has a great location. It is close to the Memphis Cook Convention Center, FedEx Forum, Peabody Place and Beale Street. Facilities include high-speed Internet access in all rooms, as well as copy and fax services. The meeting facility is spacious, and perfect for business presentations, family reunions and social gatherings. Apart from conventional amenities, guest rooms offer irons and ironing boards, and coffee makers. Some rooms have refrigerators. The Business Class Suites have refrigerators, wet bars, microwaves, two-line telephones and VCR.

Other downtown hotels include the Memphis Marriott Downtown, Doubletree Hotel Memphis Downtown, and Holiday Inn Select Memphis – Downtown (Beale Street).

Starting a New Business – Logo Development Tips

As a small business entrepreneur, you are savvy enough to know that branding isn’t just for large multinational corporations. But how important should it be to your small business? To answer this question, let’s take a look at the two parts that define branding. There are the visual aspects of typography, colors and graphics. And there are the emotional aspects of a brand, the customer experiences and associations with the products or services. When one combines on-target design with positive customer experiences, you’ve got a business that can go places. Why is branding so important? Business is a big game and in this game you should always be in pursuit of a competitive advantage. This applies to businesses of any size.

Ideally, you want your logo to represent the reason why you are in business in the first place. First, read your mission statement of how you intend to win in business and who your target market will be. Then think about what kind of a logo would be necessary to hold its own against your competition. Now you are ready to communicate vital notes to a logo designer.

From the logo designer’s perspective, the logo is the single most important part of your branding that you will develop. True enough, your marketing materials and websites will go through many changes, but your logo should remain stable-the anchor and springboard of all of your branding. This is the ideal. A Madison Avenue ad agency might charge the equivalent of a luxury car for a logo, because major corporations know how important it is. It is ironic, that for small businesses, the proliferation of online factories means you can get a logo for the cost of a nice dinner. My recommendation is that you find an individual designer or small firm who will really listen to you and with which you can build a relationship. Not only will the fees still be very reasonable and affordable-you will receive value far exceeding payment.

On your first sales meeting, will it give you confidence to know you spent $45 on a logo? By the same token, as a small business owner, of course you don’t want to overspend. In fact, you don’t want to stress your marketing budget by overspending on any one piece of the puzzle.

Food for thought: is the success of Google’s logo through visibility and repetition or is it award-winning design? It’s really the only part of the branding that we see. The logo has become a cornerstone of the Internet, because the success of the company made it so. It’s achieved brand familiarity and with it trust, if not awe. What if Google was a D List search engine with a few hundred visitors a week, what would you think of their logo?

You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth repeating: you should include your logo on every piece of communication. Put it on every web page of your site, business cards, letterhead, envelopes, invoices, yellow page ads, building signage, newsletters, web buttons, promotional collateral, and certainly every ad. Familiarity begets trust and trust will lead to increased sales. Then perhaps if your logo is next to a competitor’s, they’ll contact you first.

Pros and Cons of Siting a Business in a Historic District Versus a Strip Mall

The trend since the 1950’s has been to site new retail businesses in suburban areas, and not in central core historic downtown districts. The growth over the last half century in America has been to be where the population is and was moving. Downtown’s were and continue to still be dying. Over the last decade or so the historic downtowns have become popular destination stops for the customers to drive, walk or bike to and for suburbanites to shop, dine and relax. Most successful downtowns are not “cookie cutter” in they are not strips with large asphalt parking lots in front with a few trees and shrubs linearly placed to comply with zoning laws. Downtown’s are not only old buildings but collections of memorable events from days gone by, and in many downtowns of days now gone forever. So why would one consider opening a business in a downtown location?

Very well, let us get started. On one side you will find the “Pro”, the positions in favor:

The number one point in support for creating a business in a historic downtown district is if the local government is inclined to save and rehab. the area there often are programs set up to aid in rent, upfits, and marketing support. In many situations the rent is going to be less than what one pays in a newly built strip mall which can be a strong benefit. Many malls are owned by large corporate entities and have a rigid formula for what the rental income must be. The buildings in a downtown are often owned by private parties and/or descendants/children from the original owners and have no fixed costs so they can work with the tenants on rent and set asides.

The secondary positive point is customers like to visit points of interest. Customers like stories of the history, being informed of those who were there and what their individual histories were. They like to know where and how a town developed. The customer can brand not only with the store but with the location, which does not happen in a strip mall..

The third positive point is many downtowns have merchants who band together to help each other and to promote the location as much as they promote their own stores. There can be a collective effort to market the downtown location..

A 4th support point in favor is going to be that most downtowns are pedestrian friendly. People can walk leisurely to the shops and stores, dine outside on the sidewalks, and enjoy shopping at leisure, not elbow to elbow in a crowded mall..

Lastly, the 5th point is many downtowns set themselves apart by having activities going on such as festivals and events. Vendor booths, food stands, bands playing, farmer’s markets all are highlights of having a business in a downtown district. The area is alive and has a personality unlike strip centers..

And alternatively, to help keep this balanced, there’s Con; Against:

The primary point against creating a business in a historic downtown district is most do not have a large amount of drive by traffic such as strip centers on major thoroughfares. If drive by and car access in and out are crucial to the business then best not to be downtown. Downtown is a place where the main street is 100 years old, narrow and often delivery trucks are stopped in the road making the traffic pace much slower..

The second point in contra will be unless there is some provision to allow a slower time frame for the building to come to code then the cost of renovation to comply with codes can be super expensive for the tenant or property owner. Many buildings in historic downtowns have been rehabbed many times over in the course of their existence. Each “fit up” is an adventure with old wires, new floors, cut off pipes being discovered and to go from that point to 100% compliance with building codes designed for new buildings can be a financial nightmare.

A 3rd significant point against is even with high upfit costs there often are restrictive covenants imposed upon the area by local, national and state historic conservation groups. The community feels they have an interest in preservation and set higher standards which usually result in restrictions on what and how a store can be up-fitted..

4th point in contra will be much smaller square footage to work with. Most downtowns do not have existing spaces to handle chain grocers, big boxes, or car dealerships. These type stores bring to them lots of foot traffic but they require large 100,000 sq. ft. buildings and parking for 100’s of cars. Anything that large would destroy the downtown simply by it’s size in most historic downtown districts..

Fifth and finally, last point in contra will be often the historic downtowns have special taxes on the properties that other areas of a town do not. This means the taxes get passed on in rents often. The tax may be used to promote the area but in some situations those same taxes go into a general fund and are not used to enhance the businesses in the special tax districts..

So there we have some of the arguments for each side.

So, in the final analysis is creating a business in a historic downtown district a good thing? or a bad thing?

It depends on your type of business and your overall objectives. Many downtown business owners choose their locations because of the pace of life, quality issues and for many it’s civic pride to be part of a history, to add to the quality of that history and to preserve the good from those who preceded them. Often downtown’s biggest strengths are the character of those who choose to try. It creates an air of excitement that customers can build off of, enjoy and continue to visit over and over, bringing new friends to show off “their town”.