It Starts with a Square

What is Collierville?

BY Chelsey Handley

The Descriptions are Many and Varied

Collierville is the second oldest town in Shelby County and was originally laid out in 1836; named after local businessman and land owner, Jesse Collier. Collierville was incorporated in 1870 and was built around the cotton, dairy, and manufacturing industries. The Morton Museum on the Town Square has a beautifully detailed history of our town and I encourage you to explore that interesting asset. It goes without saying, but we have come quite a ways since 1870, when our population was 275, to the dynamic community of over 52,000 that we are today. If you were to poll our citizens, visitors, local business community, and Memphians, the answers to the question of “What and Who is Collierville” would be many and varied.

A Power Suburb?

To the uninitiated, Collierville is a suburb of Memphis. I, personally, don’t care for that definition; but for many, it is what is said and can be easily understood. A suburb is defined as an outlying district of a city, especially a residential one. We are so much more than that! Collierville is an independent town, with its own school, water, sewer, police, fire, government, and infrastructure systems. There is a lot of geography between us and Memphis, as we have continued to strategically grow through the years as other developments have come in our direction.  We are a town that sits in close proximity to a major metropolitan area in Memphis, thus the suburban moniker. If I need to describe our community to an outsider, and need to help them fully understand who and what we are, I have been known to refer to us as a power suburb. A power suburb is defined as a growth-oriented, diverse economy, elevated assets, superior location, and thriving community with a sophisticated vision. Not all towns, municipalities, cities, regions, areas can make such a claim. We can. Carmel, IN, Richardson, TX, Chesterfield, MO, Overland Park, KS, and Naperville, IL, for example, can all utilize the power suburb definition if needed, as it does describe a unique level of independence and success. 

Burgeoning Corporate Campus Destination

With the FedEx World Technology Center as our foundation, as it was established in Collierville in the late 90’s, Collierville has developed one of the most impressive rosters of corporate headquarters in the region, and for a Town of 52,000, the size and scope of our office partners is impressive. Collierville can currently boast over 4000 corporate headquarters jobs that occupy roughly 1,700,000 square feet of office space. I am hard pressed to find another community of our size that can make a similar claim. Our corporate partners, FedEx WTC, Helena Agri-Enterprises, JuicePLUS, MCR Safety, Orgill Inc., Mueller Industries, and IMC, are all industry leaders that continue to grow and thrive. FedEx tells us that over 3000 of their overall corporate employees live in town. Do the math… if 80% of those employees own a home with a median value now approaching $400,000, FedEx influences close to ONE BILLION in residential home values in our community. The power, influence, stability, and sustainability that these corporate partners provide our community is greatly treasured. And PS… I think there is more to come.

Regional Hub

I will never forget walking into Macy’s years ago to pick up a Valentine’s gift for Melanie and noticing the license plates in the parking lot (working in Econ. Dev. will do this to you).  Marshall Co, MS, DeSoto Co, MS, Fayette Co, TN, Tate Co, MS, Crittenden Co, AR, Tipton Co, TN, and of course, Shelby County. People will travel 20, 40, 80 plus miles to shop, dine, stay and experience all that is Collierville. Assets such as the Historic Town Square, Carriage Crossing, Malco Theater, the Poplar Commerce Corridor, Kroger, Home Depot, Lowes, Academy Sports, Jim’s Place, Collierville Commissary, Longhorn Steakhouse, and so many others all benefit from our regional hub status. Our location at the crossroads of I-269 / SR-385 / US 72, as well as Poplar, Winchester, Byhalia, Houston Levee, and Shelby Drive position our town as a convenient and accessible commercial option. Collierville IS the premier community in the region.

There’s No Place Like Home

At the end of the day, we are a family town. Our strategic growth and success has been built around our families. People want to live here… people want to send their kids to school here… folks want to worship here… citizens want their kids and friends to live here… WHY? Collierville is a safe, thriving, well-organized, accessible, and special place. Why wouldn’t you want to be part of all that is Collierville? From the largest and most sophisticated high school in TN, to the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony… from our 20 miles of trails to our beautiful and award-winning Town Square… from our parks and open space to our Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer golf courses… from our school system to our mixed-use assets in Schilling Farms and Carriage Crossing, Collierville has something for everyone, and all that we are, and all that we will continue to be caters to and is desired by families.  

So, what is Collierville?  The definitions and descriptions are many and varied, but for me, it’s my home, and for that I am grateful and blessed.

John D. Duncan, Director of Economic Development

500 Poplar View Parkway, Collierville, TN 38017

901-457-2200 General • 901-457-2213 Direct • 901-457-9325 Cell

September/October 2021 Tour Collierville Magazine