From rock ‘n’ roll to overnight delivery, there are so many things that came from Memphis to be thankful for. Here’s a list of just a few:
1) Rock ‘n’ roll
Can you imagine life without rock ‘n’ roll? Elvis and Johnny Cash are just a couple of the Memphis musicians who pioneered this unique music genre—and many of them got their start at the legendary Sun Studio and Stax Records right here in Memphis.
2) Jazz, soul and R&B
Beyond rock ‘n’ roll, Memphis is famous for a host of other musical genres, including jazz, soul and R&B. There’s no better place to enjoy some local tunes than Beale Street, a vibrant thoroughfare lined with bars, clubs and restaurants that also plays host to a wide variety of concerts and music festivals throughout the year.
3) Self-service grocery stores
The first self-service grocery store quickly became a hit after its Memphis debut—so much so that the chain has grown in number to encompass more than 500 stores today. It may be hard to imagine now, but there was a time when consumers were supposed to hand their order lists to grocery store clerks who would select their products for them. Thank goodness Piggly Wiggly founder Clarence Saunders was around to revolutionize the shopping experience!
4) Unisex hair salons
Nowadays, we take unisex hair salons for granted, but when Sam Ross introduced the concept, it was unthinkable to imagine men and women getting their hair cut at the same establishment. Needless to say, the idea took off.
5) Overnight delivery
Headquartered in Memphis, FedEx changed the delivery game by getting packages from A to B overnight. Anyone who’s ever left their belongings in another city or forgotten a loved one’s birthday is surely thankful for this particular innovation!
6) Budget-friendly hotels
Before he became the founder of Holiday Inn, Kemmons Wilson had a series of disappointing lodging experiences while on a family road trip. After he recognized a market dearth of comfortable yet affordable lodging, he decided to change the game himself. Today, Holiday Inn is one of the largest hotel chains in the world.
7) Bottled soda
Before two lawyers from Tennessee had the great idea to bottle Coca-Cola, people had to go to soda fountains to get their fix. The next time you’re enjoying a bottle of soda, remember you have Memphis to thank!
8) The Modern Grocery Store
You can thank Clarence Saunders for the introduction of the first self-service grocery store. On Sept. 6, 1916 he opened Piggly Wiggly® in Memphis, but with a completely unheard of concept. It was the first time that shoppers could walk grocery aisles on their own and find items to purchase. This broke the traditional shopping mold in which shoppers presented their lists to clerks, who gathered the goods for customers. Saunders noticed this was time consuming and devised the solution that revolutionized shopping.
9) Morgan Freeman
Blockbuster films like “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Bruce Almighty” and even “Lego Movie” wouldn’t be the same without the uber talented Morgan Freeman. The acting legend who continues to make his mark on Hollywood claims Memphis as his birthplace. He was born here June 1, 1937.
10) Justin Timberlake
Speaking of uber talented, Memphis, TN is the birthplace of yet another celebrity. On Jan. 31, 1981, Justin Timberlake was born in this fair city. Since then he’s gone on to be a musical and comedic powerhouse, also delving into movies.
11) Kathy Bates
That’s not all, by a long shot. Celebrated actress Kathy Bates was born in Memphis on June 8, 1948. Her work on “Misery” “Titanic,” and “American Horror Story” are among the numerous roles that earned her to earn Bates critical acclaim.
12) Aretha Franklin
Memphis is also the birthplace of the undisputed Queen of Soul. Aretha Franklin, who demands “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” was born here March 25, 1942. She went on to dominate the international music scene with her unmistakable voice.
13) The VeinViewer
The VeinViewer was invented in Memphis by Luminetx Technology Corp. The device uses a pulse of infrared light to provide a sort of X-ray of hemoglobin in veins. This allows healthcare workers to be more precise with drawing blood or administering medication.
14) Typewriter Ribbon
Although electronic devices have taken over, some people still love the sound and feel of using a typewriter. Part of what makes it work is the typewriter ribbon, which was invented by George K. Anderson of Memphis, TN. In 1886, he patented the device.