Your Guide to Small Business Saturday in Birmingham

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Well, it’s finally the most hectic day of the year — Black Friday. That means getting up early and standing in line and spending a lot … or does it? Have you heard of the buy-local alternative, Small Business Saturday? It’s sort of like Black Friday because there are sales and promotions going on, but it’s way more chill and, in my opinion, pleasant. Shopping at locally owned stores makes me feel like I’m in my very own Hallmark Christmas movie or something — the shop owners stop to chat like I’m someone they’d like to know, not like I’m just representing a sale. They’re incredibly helpful in finding that perfect, magical gift — the one that’s not on someone’s list, but is the gift they didn’t know they always wanted. And I like to know that the money I spend is helping support my community instead of heading out of town (out of every $10 spent at a local shop, $5-7 goes back into the community, compared with $1-3 from a big box store).

In the past year or so, lots of new shops have opened their doors in downtown Birmingham and in smaller, growing communities like Forest Park, Avondale and Woodlawn. So this year, I wanted to share a roundup of some of the best new shops and what they have to offer. Oh, and a caveat: I’ve done my best to include up-to-date hours, but opening times can be odd during the holidays. Call or check out eat shop’s social media feeds for last-minute changes.

Downtown Birmingham

Where to Park: Street parking is free on the weekend. If you visit during the day, you can park in the Pizitz lot for up to two hours for free. Otherwise, bring quarters!
Where to Get Coffee: You can grab coffee downtown at Urban Standard, Piper & Leaf, The Essential, Trattoria Centrale, Alabama Biscuit or Revelator (I know Urban is closed for the holiday weekend, and The Essential has different hours).

rainbow staplers at square oneSquare One Goods Co.

LOCATION
Founders Station
2015 1st Ave N.
Birmingham AL 35203

HOURS
Tuesday to Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

I was pleasantly surprised by Square One Goods. Its website features a lot of Birmingham-centric stuff (hats, shirts, etc.), but most of the friends and family I’m buying for don’t live in Birmingham and don’t want Birmingham swag for Christmas. In person, this place is so much more than Birmingham-themed gifts; it’s well curated and full of really wonderful little finds. There are unique stationary supplies, a section of small gifts for cooks, a whole wall of cards, a few adorable kids’ toys, and some great jewelry. Everything seems to be at reasonable price points, too. And they have a whole section just for goods that have come through Birmingham’s business incubator, CO.STARTERS, which is a really cool concept.

Best for: Hostess Gifts, BFF Gifts, Stocking Stuffers, Dirty Santa Parties

chocolata chocolateChocolata

LOCATION
1927 2nd Avenue North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203

THANKSGIVING WEEK HOURS
Monday: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: Closed
Friday: 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday: 11:00 to 3:00
Sunday: Closed

Chocolata is a tiny shop across the street from Paramount; the shop is small, but their product and their artistry is really incredible. They make chocolate in-house in the back of the shop (you can see the production area from the counter). Their bonbons are just wonderful, and they can be bought days in advance of the holiday. Chocolata serves hot chocolate and sipping chocolate at the shop, and they have a couple of tables outside, so it’s a fun place to stop on one of our chillier-but-not-quite-cold Southern winter days. They have lots of gifts in addition to their bonbons, including cocoas, chocolate bars, and my personal favorite, chocolate charcuterie (it’s chocolate that’s served in a sliced roll and designed to be served on your cheese or charcuterie plate).

Best for: House Guest Thank You Gifts, That Man/Woman Who Has Everything, Hostess Gifts

Piper & Leaf at Pizitz

HOURS
Monday – Saturday 11:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

LOCATION
1821 2nd Ave N.
Birmingham, AL 35203

I’ve loved Piper & Leaf for awhile, and they have a new shop in the Pizitz. They sell iced tea and coffee that you can drink immediately in their super-recognizable jars, but they also sell loose leaf tea, and that makes an incredible gift. It smells great, and it’s way more delicious than anyone who hasn’t had it before ever expects.

Best for: Stocking Stuffers, Your Mother-in-Law, House Guest Thank You Gifts

necklace from charmCharm

LOCATION
2329 2nd Ave. N.
Birmingham, AL 35203

HOURS
Monday: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Thursday: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

Charm has changed ownership in the past year, and I love that it’s stayed local. Former owner Chatham has moved down the street to Levy’s (where she helped me with wedding rings earlier this year), but her distinct style is still present at the shop (most of the inventory was sold with the store). The new owners are giving it their spin, too, and it’s a great time to support them during their first Christmas in business. They’re holding a Holiday Open House on December 1 to welcome the neighborhood with spiked cider and massages.

Best for: Your Girlfriend (Significant Other), Your Girlfriends (Friends)

basic shop birminghambasic.

LOCATION
2026 Morris Ave.
Birmingham, AL 35203

HOURS
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

PHONE
205-290-5778

This shop carries some lovely clothes (and a purse my sister’s seriously coveting after seeing in my Instagram post). To be honest, most of it’s out of my price range, especially for gifts. They did have some great jewelry, though, and it was in the $50 and under range. (basic. shares a location with Honeycreeper Chocolate on Morris Ave.)

Best for: Your Favorite Aunt, Your Sister, Your Best Friend

chocolates from honeycreeperHoneycreeper Chocolate

LOCATION
2026 Morris Avenue
Birmingham, AL 35203

HOURS
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m

PHONE
205-290-5778

Inside basic. is Honeycreeper, a cute little chocolate shop. They have a case full of beautiful artisan bonbons, and they even sell cacao juice, which I’ve never seen offered before. Honeycreeper has gifts sets already picked out and put together, or you can choose from their grab-and-go products like chocolate bars and other candies. The bonbons last up to two weeks unrefrigerated, so be sure to plan accordingly if you’re buying for Christmas. Honeycreeper also has a ton of gluten-free products (almost all of their inventory is gluten-free), and they have a few vegan options, too, including a vegan caramel sauce.

Best for: Hostess Gifts, Your Gluten-Free Friend, Your Vegan Friend

Forest Park

Where to Park: Street parking is free; remember not to park in restaurant parking unless you’re eating at the restaurants.
Where to Eat: Rougaroux and Whistling Table are both in sight of Shoppe and Dreamer Supply.

window from shoppe in birminghamShoppe

LOCATION
3815 Clairmont Ave
Birmingham, AL 35222

HOURS
Monday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m

PHONE
205-224-4450

This is just the most adorable little plant shop ever; it’s magical. I saw plenty of Shoppe in my friends’ Instagram photos before I ever went, and that makes sense, because it’s really pretty. But it’s more than that, too — the staff is friendly, and they really carry lots of great gifts. Most are plant related, but plenty aren’t — I also saw a wall of taper candles, some cute gifts for kids, and some wonderful coffee table books. Oh, and the greenhouse is beautiful. You can find Shoppe next to Naked Art, beside Silvertron (RIP).

Best for: Your Sister-in-Law, Your Green Thumb Friend, Your Interior Design Obsessed Friend

dreamers supply company windowDreamers Supply Co.

LOCATION
825 39th St S.
Unit A
Birmingham, AL 35222

HOURS
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

The lovely Dreamers Supply Co. is run by a husband and wife team that could not be more welcoming. He’s a shoemaker and bag maker who keeps a workshop in the back room, and his products are sold in their store. They also have cards and a curated selection of small gifts. They carry a mix of local suppliers and unique lines you won’t find anywhere else in town. When they work with local suppliers, they sometimes carry something created just for Dreamers Supply, and sometimes just choose their favorite of their products. For example, they had Rose candles from Great Bear Wax burning when I came in, but they carried candles from other candlemakers, too. I found a few fun and unique journals, and I came home with a couple of bottles of the herbs and tinctures they sell at the shop.

Best for: Your Sister, Your Wife, Your Hippie Friend

Woodlawn

Where to Park: In the free lot across from Club Duquette.
Where to Get Coffee: Woodlawn Cycle Cafe is next door.

table with plant and field notesClub Duquette

LOCATION
17 55th Pl. S.
Birmingham, AL 35212

HOURS
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

At Club Duquette, you’ll always find great conversation and shopkeepers who genuinely care. Every product in the shop is chosen carefully by owners Morgan and Duquette, and they have some great ones — the Ursa Major skin care, socks from Zkano and their signature Great Bear Wax candles are a few of my favorites.

Best for: Your BFF, Your Rock and Roll Niece

candles from great bear waxGreat Bear Wax

LOCATION
17 55th Place South
Birmingham, Alabama 35212

HOURS
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

Located in the back of Club Duquette, Great Bear Wax makes my favorite candles ever, and they’re both poured and sold here. I love the Forest scent at Christmastime, but I’m also a fan of their new Santal candle, and the Peony is another favorite. (Club Duquette and Great Bear Wax aren’t new shops, but I snuck them in anyway because my shopping partner had never been.)

Best for: Dirty Santa Gifts, House Guest Thank You Gifts, Hostess Gifts

Avondale

Where to Park: Street parking is free; there’s a small lot at The Abbey, but remember to only use it if you’re grabbing coffee there, too.

Where to Get Coffee: The Abbey or the Domestique shop, Satellite (at Saturn).

Mae Avondale

LOCATION
130 41st Street South. Suite 101
Birmingham, Alabama 35222

HOURS
Monday: Closed
Tuesday:  11:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday:  8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

PHONE
205-202-5919

Mae doesn’t stock a lot of retail product because they’re primarily a salon, but they have some amazing nail polishes, hair pins, and purses. Of course, they also have some fun hair products, including a balm that’s good for skin as well as hair and works for men or women. They don’t carry a lot of grab-and-go, but what they do have is excellent.

Best for: Your Best Friend, Your Niece, Your Sister, Your Brother Who Loves His Beard

Carrie Rollwagen is author of The Localist, a book about buying from locally owned stores and cofounder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Currently, she works as Communications Director at Infomedia, a web development company in Birmingham, Alabama. Find her as @crollwagen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and most other social media platforms.

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