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    December 12, 2021 5 min read

    Daryl Andrews and Ashley Parham, owners of the Downtown gift shop Walking Pants Curiosities, are planning to launch "Dreamers' Revival." It's a "Fixer Upper"-like TV show following Memphians hoping to open or improve upon their stores in Downtown Memphis.

    The show will follow the participants' journey in opening the store. And, with every journey, it begins with the first step.

    First step: Fall in love

    Before Andrews and Parham met in person, Andrews messaged her, "Do you want to change the world with me?"

    On their second date, Andrews showed her the space at 109 G.E. Patterson Ave., now the site of Walking Pants.

    Parham was planning on moving to Florida and had been wanting to open her own boutique, but life had gotten in the way.

    "The two of us didn't have anything," recalled Andrews. "We had $377 in paint."

    The building had been painted a drab green for the filming of the CMT show "Sun Records." The pair used that $377 in paint to cover the walls and floors. They grabbed things from the side of the road to use as shelving and lighting fixtures.

    They opened the store in September 2016.

    Andrews and Parham are hoping to get married in spring 2022 in front of the store.

    Second step: Surround yourself with art

    Andrews had been working as a general contractor, but he's also really into photography. The couple filled the space with Andrews' photos as well as work by Jamond Bullock and Adam Exelbierd.

    "That was really it. It was very bare," Andrews recalled. "So what happened was, very quickly after that, we started having artists walk in the door."

    Parham said that many of these artists didn't feel worthy of selling their art. They encouraged them to bring in their work anyway. Andrews would take pictures of the art and put it on their website. It was all about branding.

    "I see Memphis when I look around the store. I see all the different colors. I see all the different things," Andrews said. "I see all the differences that when brought together make something beautiful."

    The pair wanted to embrace what they call the "messiness" of the space. They see it as an evolving store, a place where people come in to see what's next, what's happening.

    "Daryl always has to remind me that the store is never going to be finished. It's always a work in progress," Parham said. "It's allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them and be okay with my mistakes and be vulnerable with other people."

    Third step: Get loud

    One day, Andrews was eating at the Arcade Restaurant when an article was brought to his attention. It was about Aretha Franklin's childhood home in Memphis, and the possibility of it being moved to Knoxville by HGTV.

    This was the seed of the idea for "Dreamers' Revival."

    "I came to Ashley and said, 'What if we had a TV show like 'Fixer Upper,' but it was for small businesses?' We build out small businesses in Downtown and tell their stories," Andrews recalled. "We had no TV experience. We had no film experience. We just had an idea."

    Part of the idea was to be louder than the negativity surrounding Memphis, Andrews said.

    "One of the things that we've always talked about is how to get louder than the negativity in the local news media about the city," Andrews said. "We have all these assets, all these people who are truly striving on a daily basis. So, we started asking the question, 'How do we get louder?'"

    Meanwhile, Andrews had met the general manager of Bumpus Harley-Davidson. Andrews suggested to him that he put in a Bumpus retail location at 525 South Main St. The spot was ideal. It had the look of an old-school garage. The couple worked off the $377 idea, picking up stuff from the Bumpus storeroom, building out displays from stuff they had picked out of dumpsters. Parham created a chandelier from old exhaust pipes.

    On opening day, Bill Davidson, a grandson of one of Harley-Davidson's founders, was in town. There were 350 bikers surrounded by the Memphis Police Department's motorcycle squad.

    This was the sizzle reel for "Dreamers' Revival."

    Fourth step: Take the next step

    The sizzle reel got into the hands of the producers of "Fixer Upper," who offered the couple a renovation show. They turned that down because it didn't fit into their original vision. Next, it went to Scott Brothers Entertainment, known for the show "Property Brothers."

    Scott Brothers Entertainment held on to the concept for a year, while Andrews and Parham tried to add more "H" — "home," of the HGTV — to their idea. They were having difficulties finding properties that fit the bill. The whole idea deflated.

    The idea was picked up again when they were told about a local producer named Princeton James of Princeton James Productions. James was working on a feature film.

    Parham and Andrews saw a kindred spirit in James. He lived near them, and he had a journey of his own.

    "We have a lot in common when it comes to faith in God and even our journeys, because it was 2016 when I left my nine-to-five to start my production company," James said, who left his job in Atlanta to move back to Memphis.

    "I can write a million emails really well, and I can be compelling in those emails," Andrews said. "But I can never, ever write an email that will convey to someone who does not live here what we experienced in this neighborhood. There's no way to talk about it. [James] is already here. He knows Memphis. He gets it."

    Fifth step: On with the show

    Andrews, Parham, and James hope to start filming "Dreamers' Revival" in spring 2022. They've sent out a casting call.

    Casting is open to everybody, and they already gotten suggestions. They want 13 businesses, to start.

    The show will be in the mode of "Extreme Makeover," where a deserving business owner works with Parham and Andrews to improve their business. The couple will walk the business owner through the steps — everything from financing to inventory — and with a minimum $377 budget.

    "Our story was $377, and that's important because there are hundreds, maybe thousands of individuals in this city alone who have a dream, and they think, 'I don't have the $50,000 it's going to take to start this idea.' They don't need that," Andrews said.

    The producers are working with the Downtown Memphis Commission to procure spaces for the businesses. Andrews' work as a contractor has also given him access to property owners, who may also have sites.

    Final step: Realizing the dream

    "Located in Memphis, Tennessee, is the only company that touches 99% of the world's GDP, and that's FedEx," Andrews said. "In this city, with all its gifted talent and makers and creators, we are still a pass-through for everyone else's product. We really have a vision for Memphis to become that place where, 'I have a business idea. I've got to get to Memphis.' Because the city is about second chances. It's about the history. It's about the becoming. It's about dreaming — and not just dreaming, but turning that dream into reality."

    Those interested in being on the the "Dreamers' Revival" show can go to dreamersrevival.tv.


    Find the Full Story From Susan Ellis at Memphis Business Journal


    Ashley Parham
    Ashley Parham

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