Standard Furniture traces its origins back to 1912, when a local family began traveling through Birmingham, peddling fine household furniture out of a wagon. Four generations later, the business has blossomed into 13 retail stores throughout Alabama and Tennessee, and its century-long commitment to quality furniture and customer service won it the Alabama Retail Association’s Silver Award as one of the Retailers of the Year in 2011. Each gallery abounds with bedroom, living-room, and dining-room furniture from top designers such as Lane, along with mattresses in a range of shapes and styles from brands such as Tempur-Pedic, Serta, and Jamison. At each location, a knowledgeable staff awaits to offer design counsel, suggesting pieces that best suit a household’s style or will hold up against a disobedient pet woodchuck.
Bedzzz Express facilitates the best night’s sleep possible by taking inventory of customers’ sleeping habits to help them choose the perfect mattress. President Keith Krininger credits this practice with Bedzzz Express success, which has resulted in 32 store locations sprinkled across three states. In the showroom, models from Sealy, Serta, and Simmons cushion bodies at rest with a range of comfortable materials including foam and pillow tops that help lull customers to sleep. Mattresses and mattress sets are available in twin, full, queen, and king sizes and can be delivered locally.
Nadeau characterizes its furniture as "with a soul" because it's true artisan work: handcrafted from wood rather than mass-produced from gasket pylons. Showcase fine china and live gerbils in a double-domed glass-door cabinet ($284), or in a hefty, finely trimmed kitchen hutch ($410). Or, display a new moving picture box on a delicately polished TV stand/buffet ($500). Small console tables ($160) and storage chests ($224) come in a myriad of stains and colors, and many pieces, such as an immaculately carved chest of drawers ($548), are one-of-a-kind. Nadeau's ever-changing inventory includes a variety of sturdy dining room tables ($435–$548) and chairs ($80 each). Pieces are always fully assembled, ready to welcome any tuckered torso or mound of toothbrushes.
Mattress King's wide selection of mattresses from well-known brands such as Sealy Posturepedic, Embody, and Stearns & Foster run the firmness and texture gamut, giving sleepers of all shapes and sizes a shot at a good night's rest. Sealy's Posturepedic queen-sized Spirited supports dreamers with a comfortable durability ($409 for the mattress, $699 for the set). Dozers with a penchant for luxurious expediency snooze on the Stearns & Foster Bradenburg queen-sized bed, which lends backsides a plush surface and a patient ear as they complain about lousy desk chairs ($719 for the mattress, $1,169.10 for the set), or opt to bounce to another to decide which size fits the mold.
An affordable and monumental selection of sofas, beds, desks, and sarcophagi mingle good-naturedly in Ashley Furniture’s wondrous warehouse. Sydney accent chairs command shoppers’ attention with woody legwork, while minimalistic Cubit ottoman sets do captivating belly dances to bedazzle bored sultans. Matrix accent chairs, sofas such as the Victory chocolate sectional ($699), and beds including the Keytown panel bed ($499 queen) anticipate increasing the comfort of various human inactivities.
A row of gleaming handles awaits customers at 32 Degrees, with each serving station unleashing a unique flavor of frozen yogurt tasty enough to warrant press mentions from the Birmingham News and Oxford Sun. Guests peruse the frosty options, serving themselves swirls of nonfat treats such as orchard peach or no-sugar-added Tahitian vanilla. The meltable technicolor mountains can be topped with more than 50 options, including roasted almonds, fresh seasonal fruit, candies, cereals, and pieces of used gift cards. Flavors rotate frequently, allowing repeat customers to gradually work their way through more than 40 flavor possibilities.