EPE Talks About Graceland Crossing Closures

Elvis Presley Enterprises is taking over the last two independent souvenir shops at Graceland but says it has no immediate plans to expand. Graceland spokesman Todd Morgan said, however, that closing the independently owned shops gives EPE freedom to move quickly on new ideas for more company-owned stores, museums or the like. The independent shops, Memories of Elvis and Loose Ends, are in a strip mall owned by EPE next door to Graceland Plaza, the company's main shopping complex. Their leases won't be renewed when they expire in November, said Carol Light, owner of Memories of Elvis. "It's a tragedy with the big people squeezing out the little man," Light said. The company is just going about its business, Morgan said. "It doesn't make a lot of sense to lease space to a competing business," he said. For years after Presley's death in 1977 at Graceland, his Memphis residence, independent trinket hawkers controlled the Elvis souvenir trade. In the early 1980s, Presley's estate lobbied the state legislature and went to court to gain the legal rights to his name and likeness. The independent shops then were restricted to selling souvenirs licensed by the company. Presley's last living heir, daughter Lisa Marie Presley, sold majority ownership of Elvis Presley Enterprise in February to CKX Inc., a company run by Robert F.X. Sillerman, the founder of music and sports promoter SFX Entertainment. Lisa Marie Presley retained ownership of Graceland, with an agreement to continue allowing public tours of the white-columned house her father bought in 1957 for $102,500. Sillerman's ownership group is expected to expand EPE's worldwide business, but no major projects have been announced. When Presley's estate opened Graceland to the public in 1982, a small strip mall across Elvis Presley Boulevard from the home held a hodgepodge of shops selling the tackiest of trinkets, from American eagle toilet seats to small vials of "Elvis sweat." Graceland eventually took over the shopping center and built Graceland Plaza in its place. In 1997, EPE bought the nearby strip center that became Graceland Crossing. EPE contracts with more than 100 licensees to produce a wide range of Elvis and Graceland souvenirs, such as coffee cups, T-shirts, concert jackets and teddy bears in Presley costume.
Source: The Tennessean / Updated: Jul 6, 2005 
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Axeman517 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 7, 2005report abuse
I can't believe the estate is worried about tacky items while they sell Elvis sunglasses with fake sideburns hanging from them! What is wrong with these people?
vegaselvisfan (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 7, 2005report abuse
i am very sad to see these stores go. my favorite places to shop...due to the great inventory AND the super nice people! i was there in 2000 and my friends and i arrived late. they let us shop til we were done and it was past midnite when we checked out. (made it worth their while tho!) i cant post the link here, but they do have websites and you can still buy nicely priced elvis items from them before they close...no matter where you are! (wish i could go back and shop there one last time)
cathyreno (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 7, 2005report abuse
this is blowing my mind.. Elvisfreak, where did you get your info from? Cause its sound brill, what would be its function? I feel sorry though for the owners of these shops,EPE getting their fingers in alot of pies. Whether this will be benefical for the elvis fan in the long run only time will tell.
elvisfreak (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 7, 2005report abuse
Here comes the Elvis Presley Convention Center - 2008. I Promise, I use to work at Graceland and this is what Sillerman wants instead of all the small gift shops etc at Graceland Crossing... Just a heads up for everyone, this is only the beginning of it! But it will be awesome when it does happen
Presleygirl (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 6, 2005report abuse
I totally can understand EPE wanting to control the nonsense that has been sold, such as the toilet seats and whatnot. I was at Graceland in 1980 and there was was silly stuff, but some good stuff too in those independent shops. I don't understand the "competition" statement reguarding "Memories of Elvis" and "Loose Ends". They both sold Elvis memorabilia and rare items from when Elvis was alive along with other stuff. But in my recent trips to Graceland in the past
5 years, the same things that Graceland sold that was in "Memories of Elvis" and "Loose Ends" was always cheaper in the Graceland shops, like the FTD releases for instance. I've always bought mine in the Graceland shops. But the rare movie memorabilia and things like that, I love to find in the two independent shops. I'm sad to see them go. But at the same time, I love that EPE is trying their best to protect Elvis' image. Just seems like some of the innocent are being punished for the bad ones.
elvinpelvin (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 6, 2005report abuse
Just like every "corporate America" ideal...Only in it for the money!! EPE does not care any more about real Elvis fans. They are only interested in making all the money they can get from Elvis!! If Elvis were alive today, all the executives from EPE should line up and kiss Elvis' butt, because he has made them all very rich people. I've bought alot of cool stuff from those shops that are closing. It's pretty cold that EPE would attack thier own homeland territory. It's not like those shops sell Tom Jones merchandise, or Beatles merchandise. So what's the rival?! It's all about the green, and how greedy a big company can be. Elvis is the only celebrity I know of that has a merchandising empire almost as big as Disney.
Viva (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 6, 2005report abuse
EPE doing what they do best. Not content with restricting what these shops sell they then complete the job by shutting these people down. EPE bought the land these shops stand on with the sole purpose of getting rid of them when the leases expire. Well EPE, the staff in these shops are of a damn sight higher standard than the brain dead, uninterested, ignorant layabouts you lot employ. As for these shops selling "The tackiest of trinkets" have you visited your outlets lately? If you want tack mate, look no further. EPE want total control, and they will get it too, but they are big fish in a little pond, and once they have eaten everything in the pond, they'll starve to death. And good riddance.

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