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.
For more than three decades, the framing specialists at The Framin' Shoppe have preserved memories behind glass. They build custom frames for flat items such as diplomas or photographs and build shadow boxes to contain three-dimensional items such as quilts or football jerseys with the athletes still wearing them. The shop also purveys DIY framing materials; posters; prints commemorating Alabama, Auburn, and other SEC football teams; and a wide selection of mirrors. Conveniently, the company operates at four Birmingham locations.
For some, the thrill of scouring consignment stores for the perfect gently used designer outfit can't be beat. For others, the thrill of shopping lies in purchasing a great dress that has never been worn by anyone else. Silver Lining Consignment Boutique and DeVon Designer Fashions have both types of shoppers covered.
DeVon Designer Fashions was born to offer women who sold their designer clothes to Silver Lining—but who didn't want to buy consignment items themselves—a place to shop retail. DeVon's new frocks and accessories, from designers such as Aryeh, Veronica M, and Yahada, arrive weekly.
Silver Lining Consignment Boutique was founded by former med-school student Sonja Pettus. Sonja was well-versed in the dual reward of consignment, which allowed her to not only make money on her used clothing, but also to upgrade her wardrobe. Back then, Sonja thought of opening a consignment boutique as an option once she retired. But when the economy took a turn and the country experienced a clothing drought, she decided the time was right, and Silver Lining Consignment Boutique was born.
Today, Sonja and her staff carefully curate the selection of gently-used and new women's clothing, keeping styles fresh and rotating with the seasons. There, ladies can find items from brands such as BCBG, J. Crew, and Yves Saint Laurent.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
Sips and Snips guides budding blossomists in the practiced art of petal arranging using flowers from local nurturer Helena Florist. Skilled instructors teach amateur artists how to arrange seasonal and themed bouquets during the approximately two-hour classes. The upcoming Spring Fever class on April 7 ($45) celebrates vernal splendor, and Greetings from the Garden on April 19 ($40) coaches flowers in proper diction so they can drop their uncouth Cockney accents.
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.