Photo Gallery | From tour guides to cashiers: Locals 'TCB' during Elvis Week
Break out the blue suede shoes: Elvis Week is in full swing. As thousands of fans worldwide make the journey to Graceland, Beale Street, and other historical landmarks to honor The King – locals will be taking care of business.
"This is their mecca. It is a religious pilgrimage for [Elvis fans]," said A. Schwab sales associate Kate Mauldin.
Each year, fans crowd the 136-year-old store between events on Beale Street. As the oldest running business on the strip, it is stocked with Memphis-themed souvenirs and plenty of Elvis knickknacks.
Mauldin says Elvis Week creates some of the busiest days of the year.
"It, honestly, is busier than Music Fest or Barbecue Fest," she said. "We're busy all summer long, then it turns into all these people so exited to be in town ... Jealous of people who live in Memphis. You don't find people much nicer than Elvis fans and to have a store full of them is fun."
Jayne Ellen at Sun Studio agrees. Fans decked out in gear from Elvis earrings to shoelaces will walk through the legendary studio doors to hear about the start of Presley's career.
Like every year, Ellen along with numerous tour guides are ready for more than 5,000 fans to visit them during Elvis Week.
"This year's a breeze," she said. "Last year was the 35th, and we expected a lot more people ... Last year was a big, huge deal, and we had to make sure there were enough places to sit and other things."
The crowd usually depends on the year of the anniversary; more people tend to show up for years that end in zero or five. But as fans this year celebrate the 36th Elvis Week, Sun Studio is still prepared for anything with new tour guides eager to show off the birthplace of rock and roll.
"This is my seventh Elvis Week [at Sun Studio]. The 30th [anniversary ] was the craziest, and it was my first Elvis Week," said Ellen, who is now the director of public relations at Sun. "It's interesting to see how passionate people are from all around the world and every corner of the universe."
And as all those dedicated fans actively tour the city absorbing Elvis trivia, they are bound to get hungry. Perhaps even looking for creative foods devoted to Elvis like a Jail House Special packed with rag bologna smothered in BBQ sauce.
Either way restaurants stretching from downtown to East Memphis are loaded up on servers, drinks, and enough food to go around.
And even though it can get hectic for some local business, they welcome the economic boost and the spirit of sharing Memphis hospitality.
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