It’s like a scene out of a movie.
New England native and Memphis transplant Kelly Smith was invited by her neighbor last spring to hear Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. address a crowd of the city’s movers and shakers at One Commerce Square about optimism and Downtown development.
Later that day, while enjoying some patio weather at the Majestic Grille, a family walked by, all sporting Life is good t-shirts. Smith had already been working with the Downtown Memphis Commission looking at spaces for a new retail concept but was undecided as to what that concept would be.
As that family walked by, she looked across the street at Belz Enterprises’ Peabody Place Office Tower and said to herself, “I want to go there.”
Smith calls that her “A-ha!” moment.
“Life is good’s whole mission is to promote optimism,” Smith said. “People are so excited to see this space, which has been empty for so long, be filled with something positive. I had no interest in being in the suburbs. I’m happy to bring a national brand Downtown and I think people are just as happy.”
Life is Good opened at 175 Peabody Place Thursday, April 19, and will have its grand opening ribbon cutting Friday, April 27 at 4 p.m. with Mayor Wharton, the Greater Memphis Chamber and the DMC. Live music on the Main Street mall in front of the store will be provided by Forklift – a boy pop band from Germantown – and free snacks and drinks will be served.
Smith has made it a priority to utilize local talent with her independently-owned chain, from using Memphis Area Minority Contractor’s Association to build out her 1,900-square-foot retail space to seeking Margretta Dobbs with Outside the Box.creative for her PR and marketing efforts.
Life is good recently sponsored the Memphis Farmer’s Market 5K, and has signed on for the Gibson Guitar 5K in June. Life is good is also sponsoring a parking lot for this summer’s Live at the Garden series, and Smith will be giving away tickets to each concert in-store.
But perhaps the most lasting impact Smith plans to have on Memphis is with its impoverished youth. Nationally, Life is good has a nonprofit called Life is good Kids Foundation, which has helped more than 135,000 children “play and get their childhoods back.”
“I hope we can get a Life is good Kids organization here,” Smith said. “One of the most important things I want to do is get involved in the community.”