After attracting awe by donning a stylish dress to the Crimson Tide’s 2008 game against Clemson, University of Alabama grad Shena Birdsong realized that there were few boutiques catering to the tradition of wearing snazzy formal attire to football games. After setting up shop in 2009, Birdsong began selling cute houndstooth and crimson dresses to the Alabama faithful. Her wares proved popular, even among rivals, and she quickly expanded her collection to serve fans of fellow SEC members Auburn, LSU, Georgia, and Florida. Earning the praises of the Huntsville Times and WVUA, Gameday Girl Stuff’s collection of scarves, dresses, boots, and accessories is specifically designed for showing off at the stadium on autumn Saturdays and cutting a stylish figure in the off-season. Alumni proudly show their colors with orange-and-blue clutches and winter coats of red and black, or dress their up-and-coming fans in collegiate-color onesies and booties that ensure that a child’s first words will be “offense wins games, but defense wins championships."
Youngsters who have outgrown their gear and adults picking up a new sport can outfit themselves with selections from Play it Again Sports, the largest sporting-goods resale franchise in North America. In its stores, brand-name equipment—from popular makers such as Adidas, Nike, and Wilson—shines in displays alongside gently used wares. This gear helps equip competitive athletes playing sports such as soccer and golf as well as noncompetitive sportspeople who just want to fill golf carts with soccer balls for fun. Patrons can also trade in or sell their equipment, provided that it is still in working condition, and put that money toward new gear.
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.
With a stylish selection and an expert team, EyeCare Associates stocks frames by designers such as Kate Spade, Nine West, Hugo Boss, and Guess. Comprised of doctors and eyewear specialists, the team can screen for eye disease, administer eye exams, fit contact lenses, and repair old frames.
Utilizing a streamlined buy-and-sell process, 2nd & Charles gives fresh life to used media and digital media players in the hands of eager new owners. Customers can browse the ever-rotating inventory of previously loved items and whisper reassurances of a loving home into the bindings of hard-to-find books. The market for unemployed pastimes extends to include e-readers, iPods, and iPads, as well as CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, and video games, each assigned a price point based on condition, current inventory, and what percentage of major characters are shameless, shirtless vampires. Selection will differ from day to day, and most items cost less than $10.
Vulcan GameBox provides PC and console gamers with a place to try out the latest titles, compete over LAN, and socialize with fellow lovers of electronic entertainment. The center contains 36 gaming stations outfitted with PCs, Xbox 360s, PS3s, and Wiis, as well as all of the most popular games. Rollover minutes, like Spam and accusations of rigging the 12th grade student-council elections, do not expire (until the Groupon expires) and can be used during all regular store hours. Vulcan GameBox also offers a rewards program that bestows sundry perks upon frequent gamers including rank, access to special events, in-store currency, and the right to speak in Internet slang.