This Georgian Revival Style building was constructed in 1912 and opened as a men's furnishing store. But who's Nick? Nicholas L. Koleas was the unofficial mayor of South Main through the 1980s. Born on Pontotoc Street in 1912, Nick spent his entire life associated with South Main. His father, a Greek immigrant, built a hotel at 508 S South Main Street when he was a child. Growing up Nick remembered women with buckets of fried chicken they took onto waiting trains to sell to passengers, the South Main restaurants that sold bootleg whiskey during Prohibition and "ladies of ill repute" who beckoned from upstairs windows on Mulberry Street.
After serving in WWII, Nick returned to South Main in 1958. He found success in 1970 with Nick's China, which supplied china to area restaurants to many well-known restaurants at the time like Jim's Place East, Pete & Sam's and the North End.
After Koleas retired in 1988, the building at 416 S. Main became the Memphis Center for Contemporary Art for several years where Nick was a volunteer at the center. He was also an avid booster of the struggle to bring new life to South Main. Nick died in 2004 but his name will always hold a special place right here in South Main.