On November 25, 1949, “Miss Memphis” Gladys Dye snipped a red ribbon and Memphians were treated to the grand opening of the city’s newest shopping complex — the Bomah Center at the southeast corner of Union and Cleveland.
According to an old Commercial Appeal article (which was also the source of the somewhat grainy photos here), “special activities are planned by some of the firms in the building.” Jenkins-Leach Appliance Store (shown below) would give away a new Frigidaire refrigerator as an attendance prize to some lucky customer, and Wallace E. Johnson — builders of the one-story L-shaped building — announced they would give away a brand-new Pontiac.
Other Bomah Center businesses included the Electrolux Corporation, M&W Friendly Shoes, Jack Frost hobbies and crafts, the Bomah Barber Shop, the Playhouse Toy Shop, The Wee Mart, Quaker Drug Company, Charles Owens Jewelers, the Kiddie Corner, Pola’s Maternity Shoppe, Brewster’s Card Shop, and Dino’s Restaurant. Remember any of them? I wonder if this is the same Dino’s that’s now located on North McLean, over in the Rhodes College area?
And what about the unusual name? The CA explains, “Bomah Center was named for an employee club in the Wallace E. Johnson organization known as ‘Builders of Men and Houses.'”
I don’t know when the Bomah Center was demolished, but an Exxon Tiger Market stands on the site today.