There’s something more going on this Saturday other than the big game! It’s Small Business Saturday! With the rallying cry of Shop Small!, the event was first introduced Nov. 27, 2010, by American Express, in partnership, with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, as a counter event to Black Friday and Cyber Monday events.
The premise behind Small Business Saturday is to help consumers discover the many wonderful small, local shops that are located in communities all around the country, and to encourage holiday shoppers to shop local. Small Business Saturday also is designed to help customers celebrate a sense of community by showing their love for the small retailers that make a huge impact on the economy of the communities in which they operate.
“Small businesses fill storefronts and create walkable, exciting and attractive communities – which is what we want for downtown Birmingham. Investing in those small businesses is vital to further developing the personality of our city,” said David Fleming, CEO, Rev Birmingham. “Small business growth in our downtown has the net effect of not only contributing to the local economy and creating jobs, but it also enriches the fabric of our city – attracting talent and businesses to the whole region. A vibrant downtown is what sells our city for economic growth.”
Locally, REV Birmingham has worked hard with small business owners to encourage them to consider opening shops in the downtown Birmingham. The rebirth especially around Second and Third Avenues North has come on strong in the last five to 10 years.
“Over the past five years, downtown Birmingham has seen dramatic growth in retail. With more people living downtown, more people coming downtown for food and entertainment, and the confidence shown in the market by Publix opening downtown, Birmingham’s city center is appealing to a whole new set of retailers. Whereas downtown retail was once convenience-oriented, now we’re seeing interest from soft goods retailers,” Fleming added.
Shop Small in Downtown Birmingham!
When it comes to options of shopping small in downtown Birmingham, there are a number of local shops that offer unique gifts for your holiday gift giving needs. The following list is of some of the shops we believe you should visit this holiday season.
On Saturday, Sojourns Fair-Trade will sell purses, jewelry and nativities at special discounted prices for Small Business Saturday. In addition, the store is offering 15 percent off of Christmas ornaments when you purchase three. Shoppers will be treated to coffee and dessert all day while they shop. The shop is located at Third Ave. North and 20 Street. Sojourn’s is known for it’s unique apparel, art, home decor and food gifts imported from 57 countries around the world. All of the shop’s products are environmentally sustainable.
Forstall Art Center
Located on 20 Street North, Forstall Art Center sells art supplies and offers art classes throughout the year.
On Nov. 30 Forstall Art Center will host an event with Bill Pearcy and the world’s finest writing instruments. Bill will have dozens of gorgeous pens for you to try out including fountain pens, rollerball pens and ballpoint pens from the world’s leading manufacturers.
In addition, and through Nov. 30, Forstall Art Center is offering 65 percent off all sizes of canvas. On Dec. 9 Forstall will host its Holiday Open House from 10 am -4 pm complete with Champagne and a grits bar.
Chocolata Artisanal Chocolates
Located at Second Avenue North, Birmingham’s newest chocolate shop offers a variety of artisan divine hand crafted chocolates. Chocolata Artisanal Chocolates is offering nine piece, 18 piece and 27 piece assortments in beautiful holiday boxes this season.
The chocolates are sourced from South America and are hand crafted from the highest quality single-origin bean and are presented in a cobalt blue crocodile finish gift box according to the shop’s Facebook page. Chocolata also offers chocolate bars with unique flavors. Chocolata will have a ‘mystery’ special for Small Business Saturday.
Reed Books/The Museum of Fond Memories
Jim Reed’s bookstore located on Third Ave. North is known worldwide for its rare book collection. Any book lover would love to receive a book from this store during the holidays. The book collection extends from present-day to 500 years ago. The store also has periodicals, documents, letters, diaries, journals, postcards, posters, signs and other literary collectibles.
What’s On Second Birmingham
As stated on their Facebook page, What’s On Second Birmingham has everything ever made in one convenient shopping location. Collectors and antique aficionados will have lots to choose from when shopping at this local shop this holiday season.
Busy Corner Cheese and Provisions
Birmingham’s cut-to-order cheese shop, Busy Corner Cheese and Provisions, located in the Pizitz Food Hall offers the highest quality cheese, meat and grocery items locally and from around the South. They create cheese boards for holiday parties as well as catering services for parties. They have Holmsted Fine Chutney gift boxes with recipes available for your holiday gift giving.
Known for producing the original airport code apparel and hats, Aviate has opened a special pop-up shop at the Pizitz Food Hall this holiday season. Shoppers will be able to purchase traditional Aviate items as well as new designs until Jan. 15.
Yellowhammer Creative Market located in the Pizitz Food Hall next door to Warby Parker, has a wide variety of hand-printed Alabama themed goods, such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, coffee cups and license tags. You also will find other uniquely designed gifts in the shop.
McWane Science Center Gift Shop
Located within the McWane Science Center, the gift shop has a nice collection of games, toys, puzzles and educational items for the young and young-at-heart on your shopping list.
Levy’s Fine Jewelry
Since 1922, Levy’s Fine Jewelry located on Second Ave. North, has been Birmingham’s go-to-place for vintage, estate and designer brand jewelry. They are a must -visit this holiday season for all gifts that sparkle and shine! They are offering 20-50 percent off of everything in the store this weekend and on Small Business Saturday.
Alchemy 213, located on 20 Street North, is a luxury men’s specialty clothing and shoe store. In addition to men’s apparel, the shop also stocks life-style and home goods products.
While you’re shopping downtown, don’t forget to stop in for a cup of coffee, or lunch or dinner at one of the many restaurants and hotels located downtown Birmingham. You also may even want to catch a show or two at the Alabama or Lyric Theaters this holiday season!
Shop Small! Shop Local! One question, though, who did we miss?