The building on the corner of Lt. George W Lee Avenue and South BB King Boulevard in Memphis, Tennessee is now a little less rock 'n' roll after the takeover of Gibson's former factory by FedEx.
The facility – which was vacated by Gibson in 2019 after “thorough evaluation” following the expiration of its Memphis lease – was officially opened in a ribbon-cutting ceremony by FedEx employees on Tuesday (April 5).
The logistics giant took over the premises from Gibson that same year, bringing an estimated 680 new jobs to Memphis. The company said at the time that the number of FedEx employees in the city could grow to as many as 1,200.
“We invested more than $50 million into the building and we’re bringing more than 600 people into this amazing place, right in the heart of Memphis,” CEO Udo Lange says.
Following the closure of its Memphis facility, Gibson relocated operations to its Nashville headquarters, in a move the company deemed “the right next step for our business” (per Commercial Appeal).
The decision to sell the Memphis factory – which produced Gibson's semi-hollow and hollowbody electric guitars until its closure – was part of a financial restructuring effort after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2018. Gibson had operated in Memphis since 2001.
Following the move, Gibson is once again operating at full force – last month, the company unveiled the Theodore, a brand-new body shape based on a 65-year-old archive sketch by former Gibson president Ted McCarty.
Senior Director of Product Development Mat Koehler told Guitar World last month that finding the design was like “discovering King Tut's tomb”.
“This was something I discovered by accident and initially thought was a prank!” he said. “As the head of product development, I have access to the engineering archive and was looking around in early 2018, going through various files, blueprints and both formal and informal drawings... just all sorts of different things.
“This felt a bit like discovering King Tut's tomb. That was the feeling I had, because I'm a total Gibson nut that's obsessed with all the Gibson mysteries.”
Other new Gibson designs include the Adam Jones Les Paul Standard – a considerably more affordable version of the Tool guitarist's Custom Shop signature – and the Master Artisan Collection, a collection of ultra-high-end Flying Vs designed both by Gibson and a number of renowned luthiers from around the world.