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.
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.
The Woodcraft name stretches from coast to coast with locations peppered throughout the United States, ensuring that Americans are well equipped with the brand-name tools and woodworking supplies needed to pursue handyman endeavors. At Woodcraft of Birmingham, a collection of hand tools waits patiently to hammer down nails and saw brave magician assistants in half, and a variety of power tools—including drills, sanders, and grinders—adds electric oomph to construction projects. In addition to performing in-store demonstrations of new products, the shop’s wise whittlers call upon more than 80 years of collective knowledge to lead various crafts classes, in which participants learn how to carve sophisticated pens, assemble wooden step stools, and use table saws.
Classic Home Decor peppers its 4,500-square-foot showroom with like-new upscale furnishings, arranged into classic and modern tableaux that tickle the brain's design cortex. Only gently used pieces get past Classic Home Decor's garden-gnome bouncer and make it into the inventory—ensuring quality and couches free of incompatible rear-end indentations. A mirror and shelf ($39.99) adds a bohemian flourish to any abode when paired with a Tiffany-style lamp ($99.99), and a pair of rattan trunks ($31.99) look as though they were designed to hold collections of crumbling treasure maps and eldritch grimoires. The leather barrel end table ($99.99) can be used to store either remote controls or ferment mead, and a Greek male bust ($69.99) imbues dinner parties with just the right dose of stylish nudity. Classic Home Decor’s friendly atmosphere makes newcomers feel right at home, although they are still urged not to clutter the showroom with their action figures.