It’s official. Bham Now has moved into our first permanent home, located on historic Morris Avenue. So why did we land on one of the oldest (yet hippest) streets in town? Read on to learn more & get a sneak peek at our office!
Located on Historic Morris Avenue
As a history geek, I was thrilled when I heard the news that we’d be moving to Morris Avenue. Named for Josiah Morris, an early banker and one of the founders of Birmingham, Morris Avenue was once a bustling warehouse & produce district in the early days of the city, due to its proximity to the railroad (a fact of which we are reminded each time a train rolls by!)
In the 1960s, Morris Avenue transformed into a popular entertainment district, full of retail shops, restaurants, bars and other aspects of night life. People were fascinated by Morris Avenue’s aesthetic—each time you set foot on its stone streets, it’s like stepping back in time. Now, Morris has traded restaurants and bars for loft apartments and office space—good news for Bham Now!
So what did Bham Now’s new office look like back in the day? I couldn’t find a photo online, so I knew I’d have to go old-school. Being the aforementioned history geek of the team, I took a trip to see my friends at the Birmingham Public Library’s Department of Archives and Manuscripts. There, we found what may be the only surviving photo of our building:
Pretty cool, huh? This 1940s-era photo shows that our office was once home to the “Wholesale Grocery Co.” According to BhamWiki, our building went on to host the Tip Top Freight & Warehouse Co. in 1964, then the Standard Sales warehouse in 1970.
So How Did Bham Now Land on Morris?
To learn more about why Bham Now chose Morris Avenue as its new home, I spoke with our fearless leader and CEO, Cindy Martin.
How long has Bham Now been looking for an office of our own?
Cindy: “We had been using co-working space at Forge in the Pizitz Building for the past 3 years. The flexibility served our needs and provided a high-energy, beautiful space for our team to meet up. Then Covid-19 happened. Fortunately, Bham Now is all digital so we adapted to work from home pretty easily.
Bham Now’s team rallied together and continued to grow our business over the summer. This was after the big revenue hit we took from lost events. We hired more staff expanding our team to 19 people. With a growing business and team, we decided to invest in a permanent home that we could make our own. But, we had some challenging criteria:
1) It needed to foster creativity.
2) Be located in the middle of the ‘action’.
3) Have access to close parking for our team to haul gear.
The first floor of 2309 Morris Ave came on the market listed by Nancy Tran of Canterbury Realty. One look and we knew it would be perfect!”
What drew you to Morris Avenue?
Cindy: “Morris Avenue has always been a favorite street of mine. It holds some of Birmingham’s oldest history and hippest modern vigor. You can almost hear the clackety-clack of horse drawn buggies making their way down the cobblestone street in the 1900’s, breaming with local produce. The trains do get a little loud, but I actually find it soothing. It’s a constant reminder that we’re all connected, not only physically, but with our past.”
What are some of your favorite aspects about working on Morris Avenue?
Cindy: “Morris and 1st Ave North are also undergoing immense transformation including Mercantile on Morris and the Armour & Co. Building across the street. Our team is excited about being within a block of some of the coolest places in Birmingham. Grabbing a bag of warm, fresh roasted peanuts from The Alabama Peanut Co and enjoying the patio at The Essential doesn’t hurt either!”
What are you looking forward to with our new office?
Cindy: “Most of our team continue to work from home due to COVID-19. We plan to utilize our new office on Morris Ave. as a creative hub. When safe to do so, we’ll have creative meet-ups and strategy sessions there. Maybe even entertain some clients. I can’t wait to see the full team together again, hopefully this year, in our new home.”
What’s New on Morris?
As Cindy mentioned, Morris Avenue is hopping with new developments. In fact, we recently learned that Mercantile on Morris just announced their first retail tenant—Bridge + Root! The highly-anticipated mixed-use development plans to open early this year, and we can’t wait to check it out.
Across the street from our new office, Christopher Architecture & Interiors is transforming the historic Armour & Co. Building into a mixed-use development. Once complete, there will be 24 residential units, commercial & retail space, co-working space AND even a rooftop lounge.
Like its historic aesthetic, there are some parts of Morris Avenue that will never change. For instance, did you know that peanuts have been sold out of the same building on Morris Avenue since—get this—1907? For nearly 114 years, 2016 Morris Avenue has been home to a peanut store. In fact, Alabama Peanut Company still uses the 100-year-old roasters to serve up delicious peanuts each and every day.
Excited about our new office? So are we.
As you can guess, the entire Bham Now team is thrilled about our new office. We are passionate about living and working in Birmingham, and we couldn’t be more grateful to have found the perfect home in The Magic City.