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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

< Back to Oral History project: Summer Avenue, Memphis

ORAL HISTORY

Andrew Gattas


Knowledge Tree

Andrew Gattas was born in 1961 and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. He is the owner of Knowledge Tree, a school supply company located on Summer Avenue. His grandparents migrated from Lebanon to the Mississippi Delta in the early 1900s. His father, Fred P. Gattas, was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1914. Mr. Gattas eventually opened a catalog showroom business in Memphis. At the height of his career, Fred P. Gattas Company operated nine stores throughout the mid-South. In 1970, Mr. Gattas opened up a second department store on Summer Avenue.

Andrew observed the changing nature of Summer Avenue firsthand. He spent much of his childhood and adolescence working for his father’s business on Summer Avenue. He rode his bike and walked to the store. The mixture of businesses and the diversity of people in the neighborhood gave Summer Avenue a unique personality. Gattas founded Knowledge Tree in 1994, as a part of the Fred P. Gattas Company. The business provides educational products to individuals and schools throughout the Mid-South.

Date of interview:
2021-05-05

Interviewer:
Simone Delerme

Photographer:
Houston Cofield

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