*Disclaimer: With regard to getting out and about during COVID, please use your best wisdom and discretion. In my experience with the businesses below, I find that they are taking things very seriously and have the safety of their customer at the forefront. (Some even offer curbside services as well!)
Hidden Gem :: Crestwood North
A few weekends ago my husband and I were feeling a bit of quarantine cabin fever. We were getting short and snippy with each other, a sign that we both need a change of scenery. We desperately needed to get out our nearly 3-year old daughter outside before she ran through a wall Kool-Aid Man style. After some cajoling, we all loaded into the Camry and had a day out in one of our favorite Birmingham neighborhoods — Crestwood North.
The Crestwood area is pretty much right in the middle of Woodlawn, Avondale, and Irondale. Since we moved to Birmingham in 2013 there has been so much change and revitalization in this area. Renovated homes, new businesses, and an influx of young families over the years have made this area a quaint and quirky side of town that I have come to love.
I am especially fond of the Shoppes of Crestwood, right next to Crestwood Park. Mama hack — drop off kiddos and husband at the park to run off energy, and then go treat yourself at one of these local retailers!
Crestwood Pharmacy & Soda Shop
Started in 2017 by Taylor Trammel and Tyler Shaddix, Crestwood Pharmacy & Soda Shop is a throwback to old school pharmacies and soda shops. In addition to filling your prescription needs, they are stocked with lots of over-the-counter necessities, health and wellness products, toiletries and more. If they don’t have it in stock, most of the time they can make special orders, and they deliver to nearby areas.
Taylor and crew also serve up ice cream, milk shakes, floats, and old fashioned sodas (my husband is partial to the lime rickey). A few years ago after I had outpatient surgery, my husband went to pick up my prescription; Taylor sent him back with a strawberry milkshake on the house to wish me well. We also have a family tradition of going to Taylor for our flu shot and an ice cream cone. So glad to have these kind folks handling our health needs.
Thank You Books
Opened at the end of 2019, Thank You Books is a local book shop owned by three women: Laura Cotten, Kristen Iskandrian and Elizabeth Goodrich. The store itself is so darling, with lots of popular bestsellers, as well as local authors. They have handwritten recommendation notes placed throughout the shelves, as if a friend has summed up the latest book she loved and can’t wait for you to read it, too. I adore their kids section, with lots of nooks to sit and flip through books before making a purchase.
During last year’s COVID shutdowns, they offered curbside and delivery last spring and summer as a way to remain operational through the pandemic, which I thought was just a clever pivot. Now they’re fully open (perhaps with an occupancy limit?), so be sure to give them a visit; check website for virtual book chats and author lectures too!
A few stores down, there’s Urban Suburban, a local treasure chest of vintage furniture and home goods. Used books, records, dining sets, vintage dishes fill each nook and cranny of this shop. Take a quick browse and go down memory lane, or find some midcentury modern inspiration for that new home project. If antiquing is your thing, you’ll love it!
New to the area, but not the city, Sojourns opened in Crestwood back in October, 2020. Their mission is to support women and girls impacted by sex trafficking through the sale fair trade goods made by artisans around the world. The atmosphere is light and inviting; I spent the most time — and money — in this shop.
My favorite finds? These six-inch kaisa grass baskets, perfect for little hands to carry crayons and baubles. The children’s section is also so sweet; what a great way to teach kiddos about the value of supporting a worthy cause by purchasing from artisans!
Crestwood Coffee Company
What’s a winter morning without a cup of something warm? Crestwood Coffee Company has that and more! Though they aren’t yet open for dine in, they recently renovated their back patio and it’s perfect for a socially distanced klatch with a friend.
Of course the coffee is good, but the reason I keep going back is their food menu. I love that I can get quality coffee and amazing pastries in the same place. Standouts include their quiches, cinnamon rolls, and an array of muffins.
Shopping locally means you’re helping Birmingham businesses stay alive and their owners thrive. We’re all doing the best we can through these strange times, and this is an easy/tangible way to support our precious city. Shop local, stay safe.