The closure of "Memories of Elvis"
What is EPE up to?
The closure later this year of "Memories of Elvis" has many fans incensed. So why is the longstanding outlet being forced to close?
EPE received two interesting messages about the issue which shed light both on what plans EPE may have for the site and the unfortunate political rhetoric engaged in by the company.
Message from Bill E. Burk
Carol Light of Memories of Elvis called me late Friday, just before closing, and just before the airplane landed, to tell me she and Loose Ends, the shop next door, had been given notice to close shop on 1 November 2005.
These shops have been on "tentative extensions" of their leases ever since EPE bought the Graceland Crossing shopping center (just north of the Lisa Marie airplane exhibit).
As we have informed you for years in EW, EPE has had long range plans to develop a 5-story shop/entertainment complex on the G Crossing site. It hasn't happened before mainly because EPE was looking for outside investors; not wanting to commit the $$$s themselves.
Well, EPE is now in the hands of Robert FX Sillerman and he told me, in our exclusive interview with him in EW74 last November that now -- since he has the wherewithal (meaning $$$s) -- maybe some of those long-planned things can come off the shelf.
IT IS MY THOUGHT that perhaps we will now see the G Crossing shops torn down (maybe not immediately) and the 5-story building put up.
I DON'T think -- as some have suggested -- a hotel will be built on that site. If so, it would greatly surprise me.
With Sillerman involved in getting some changes in the public-stock corporation that now controls EPE, he cannot, by SEC rules, talk to the media ... so I am stymied here.
The loss of Memories of Elvis will be a great one to the fans because it has been an idependent shop since 1978 and Ms. Light has been in the forefront of developing new Elvis products for sale, always getting them licensed and always paying royalties on their sales. She, also, was the one who got the August free entertainment started under the tent in the parking lot in front of the stores.
Should she not be successful in getting an extension on her lease beyond November 1st, the Elvis world is going to face a void as deep as the Grand Canyon.
Jack Soden's response to enquiry
I did read your e-mail and I understand your concerns. Change is hard for all of us sometimes but our goal remains to continue to grow and improve the Graceland campus for long-time, new and future fans. I hope your visit to Memphis this summer will be the best yet. Thank you for writing.
(News, Source: Bill E. Burk/Sanja Meegin, 6 June 2005)