The Fun Shop, the only magic shop in the Memphis area, has been a staple in local novelty shops since the 1930s.
Costume and novelty shops are typically a favorite of those who are looking to find just the right outfit for Halloween, dress up for a themed party or play a prank on an unsuspecting friend. Unlike most people, Douglas Hendrickson is a year-round occupant of one of these shops, but he’s not there for tricks and treats—he co-owns the Fun Shop.
For those who frequent the University district, South Highland Street is one of the main areas for local shops and businesses, such as the Fun Shop at 634 S. Highland St. Though many people might identify the area by its tattoo and sub shops, there is no mistaking the green, yellow, and
"We sell accessories, makeup, wigs, comics, pranks, magic tricks...sort of nerd collectables in general," he said.
The shop was established in 1935, and was one of a kind for quite a while according to Hendrickson.
"We're one of only a few people in town that did this," he said. "We were a vast majority of the only people in town that did this until about maybe 30 or 40 years ago."
The shop has managed to stay in business for so long not only because of its whimsical merchandise, but also because of its location within the University District.
"The Poplar-Highland area is a hub of retail activity," he said. "We're relatively centrally located. At one point, this was Midtown."
Though Halloween is the busiest holiday for the shop, Christmas, Easter, and “little ups throughout the year” such as kids’ parties and Mardi Gras celebrations keep the store going strong, said Hendrickson.
Besides being co-owner of the Fun Shop, Hendrickson is also a collector of comics and a magician. He said one of the best parts of working at the shop is that it “tailors to my hobbies” in that it is the only magic shop in Memphis.
"Being one of a few people in town to do this keeps us trucking," he said.
Former University of Memphis student Tracy Lofton said she loves the uniqueness that only the Fun Shop can bring to one’s shopping experience.
“The Fun Shop is the only place like it in Memphis. I haven’t seen another place that sells costumes and magic tricks,” she said.
Though she does enjoy all that the Fun Shop has to offer, it can sometimes have its downside.
“My only complaint is that they close so early,” she said. “At 6 p.m., I’m just getting off so I don’t get there as often as I like.”
Photo caption: The Fun Shop, the only magic shop in the Memphis area, has been a staple in local novelty shops since the 1930s.