Economy of Memphis, Tennessee
Located on the Mississippi River, Memphis is intersected by two Interstate highways, seven major U.S. highways, and numerous freight railroads. Due to its central location and this transportation infrastructure, more major metro areas can be reached overnight from Memphis than any other city in the central U.S. These advantages have made Memphis an ideal location for manufacturing and distribution operations, and resulted in much of Memphis' business development. For example, Memphis International Airport, which serves as the primary hub for FedEx shipping, is the world's busiest in terms of cargo tonnage. Memphis is also the home of nine Fortune 1000 companies.
Although its transportation assets facilitate manufacturing, the Memphis economy has become less manufacturing-oriented in recent years, as older automobile assembly, farm equipment, hardwood lumber, rubber tire and other manufacturing industries have declined or left the area since the 1950s. As a result the Memphis economy has become more diversified and services have become its largest component, accounting for 27% of total wages and earnings. Industries that have continued to flourish include financial services, food processing, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices.
Model for economic development
The city appeared in the top eight of the 50 best major metro areas in the U.S. for starting and growing a business in 2000, according to Inc. magazine. Southern Business and Development magazine ranked Memphis as one of the most successful models for economic development in the south, also recognized the city as one of the top ten markets over the past decade.
In October 2002, Ebony Magazine has cited Memphis as a city for its outstanding African-American leadership. Memphis also had the highest rate of high technology start-up operations over the last three years among the nation's 60 largest metro areas, according to Brandow Company research.
Publicly traded firms headquartered in Memphis
- AutoZone Incorporated (NYSE: AZO), operates over 5,000 auto parts stores in the United States and Mexico.
- FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX), world's largest airfreight firm.
- Buckeye Technologies (NYSE: BKI), maker of specialty fibers and nonwoven materials.
- First Horizon National Corporation (NYSE: FHN), operates First Tennessee Bank.
- Fred's Stores (NASDAQ: FRED), operates discount stores.
- GTx (NASDAQ: GTXI), drug company
- International Paper (NYSE: IP), manufactures paper products.
- Mueller Industries (NYSE: MLI), fabricates metal tubes and fittings.
- Thomas & Betts (NYSE: TNB), electrical components and connectors maker.
- Wright Medical Group (NASDAQ: WMGI), orthopaedic medical device maker.
- Verso Paper (NYSE: VRS), a pulp and paper company.
Private firms headquartered in Memphis
- Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, law firm
- Belz Enterprises, develops, owns and manages real estate throughout the United States and Puerto Rico
- Guardsmark, security and investigation firm
- Katt Worldwide Logistics, a transportation firm
- Lenny's Sub Shop, restaurant chain
- Malco Theatres, an operator of movie theatres
- Ozark Motor Lines, a transportation company
- Perkins and Marie Callender's, restaurant chain
- ServiceMaster, operates numerous service-oriented companies, including TruGreen LawnCare, TruGreen LandCare, Terminix, American Home Shield, Furniture Medic, AmeriSpec, ServiceMaster Clean, and Merry Maids.
- Varsity Brands, manufactures uniforms and runs camps
- American Residential Services, also known as ARS/Rescue Rooter
- City Gear, a clothing store selling streetwear clothing.
Major divisions or operations
- Allenburg Cotton, part of Louis Dreyfus, trades and brokers cotton, along with shipping, ginning, and warehousing.
- Cargill Cotton, part of Cargill Incorporated, trades and brokers cotton, along with shipping, ginning, and warehousing.
- Carrier plant for central air conditioning, located in Collierville. Carrier is part of United Technologies.
- Evergreen Packaging, packaging company owned by Reynolds Group Holdings
- Information Technology world headquarters and data center for Hilton Hotels is located on Crossover Lane.
- Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc. investment banking firm, subsidiary of Raymond James Financial, Inc. Headquartered in the eponymous tower at Jefferson and Front streets in downtown Memphis.
- Nike, 1,000,000-square-foot (93,000 m2) footwear distribution center and other distribution facilities.
- Nucor Steel Memphis Inc. manufactures special bar quality carbon steel in a plant on Paul R. Lowry Road.
- Merck (formerly Schering-Plough) manufactures Coppertone, Dr. Scholl's, Solarcaine, and Tinactin products in a plant on Jackson Avenue.
- Orthopaedic Reconstruction and Trauma division world headquarters of Smith & Nephew is located on Brooks Road.
- Spinal and Biologics division headquarters of Medtronic is located in Memphis.
- Wonder Bread plant is located on Monroe Avenue. Wonder is part of Hostess Brands.
- Williams-Sonoma, primary global distribution facilities.
- Y&S Candies plant, which makes Twizzlers and Bubble Yum chewing gum, is located on Kansas Street. Y&S is part of The Hershey Company.
- Ducks Unlimited
- Methodist Healthcare, operates seven hospitals, multiple home health agencies and outpatient clinics
- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, pediatric treatment and research facility.
- Internal Revenue Service, two service centers: Accounts Management Center and Compliance Service Center.
- Memphis Light, Gas and Water ("MLG&W") is also one of the largest municipal utilities in the United States.
- Naval Support Activity Mid-South (Millington)
- Regional Medical Center at Memphis (The Med), an acute-care teaching hospital operated by Shelby County.
The entertainment and film industry has also developed in recent years in the city. Major motion pictures filmed in Memphis include Making the Grade (1984), U2: Rattle & Hum, (1988) Mystery Train (1989), Great Balls of Fire! (1989), Trespass (1991), The Firm (1993), A Family Thing (1996), The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), The Rainmaker (1997), Cast Away (2000), The Queens of Comedy (2001), 21 Grams (2003), Hustle & Flow (2005), Walk the Line (2005), Forty Shades of Blue (2005), and Black Snake Moan (2007), Nothing But the Truth (2008), and The Blind Side, (2009).
- Finger, M. Big Empties: Memphis landmarks that have stood vacant for years, waiting for someone to bring them back to life., Memphis Flyer, December 1997.
- Rushing, Wanda. Memphis and the Paradox of Place: Globalization in the American South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009, on economic development 
- Rushing, Wanda. "Memphis: Cotton Fields, Cargo Planes, & Biotechnology." Southern Spaces, August 28, 2009, http://www.southernspaces.org/2009/memphis-cotton-fields-cargo-planes-biotechnology.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Companies of Memphis, Tennessee.|
- Fortune 500 2009: States: Tennessee Companies - FORTUNE on CNNMoney.com
- Bartik, Timothy J. Tennessee, In: The New Economic Role of American States: Strategies in a Competitive World Economy. R. Scott Fosler, Committee for Economic Development, Ed. Oxford University Press US, 1991, pp. 139-200.
- Pohlmann, Marcus D. Opportunity Lost: Race and Poverty in the Memphis City Schools. Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2009, pp. 29-30.
- Memphis Region: Economic Development.
- Memphis: Economy, Major Industries and Commercial Activity
- Fitch Affirms Memphis Light, Gas & Water's Electric System Sr. & Sub Revs 'AA'; Outlook Stable. Business Wire, January 23, 2007.
- Koch’s Georgia-Pacific to Purchase Buckeye for $1.45 Billion Apr 24, 2013 Bloomberg.com
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- Ozark History
- Einat Paz-Frankel Hilton investing $14 million in Web Memphis Business Journal, November 23, 2007(Accessed November 6, 2009)
- Schering-Plough third quarter net income falls Memphis Business Journal, October 22, 2009(Accessed November 6, 2009).
- Memphis Merck Site Spared From Closure. Memphis Daily News.