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Retailers and Restaurants Birmingham Should Have Already

How has Birmingham been overlooked?

As we hear about available retail space, commercial redevelopment, and new development, it’s time some of our favorite names should take advantage and jump into the Birmingham market.

H&M – What gives? Huntsville already has an H&M, how do we not rank one as well? H&M is known as a “fast fashion” retailer, which means trendy, imported clothes for cheap. I admit, I have mixed emotions about this. For myself, I want to purchase fewer, better clothes. However, for tweens and teens, there is little use in investing when they will outgrow, lose, or tire of a purchase in no time. H&M is one answer to this dilemma, with inexpensive fashions that satisfy the wish to be current without being broke.

Add a home section to our (imaginary)  H&M and you have a hit. The store in New Orleans has impressed me with its linen duvet covers and sisal rugs. Look at how well West Elm has done? The many home goods boutiques around town that thrive? Some good velvet throwpillow covers at good price points would set this town’s monogram machines spinning.

Trader Joe’s – THANKS BE, word is that Trader Joe’s is coming to the Summit. Given how Whole Foods and Fresh Market have added to the quality of life around here, Trader Joe’s is bound to have a cult following in Birmingham. No longer will he have to pick up a case of Two Buck Chuck (actually three bucks these days) during travels through Atlanta or Nashville. Besides wine, Trader Joe’s has great house brands for many other items. My favorites are the snacks such as caramel corn, two-bite cookies, and dark chocolate cocoa nibs, perfect for a quick hit of chocolate. I look forward to being able to try the perishable items, which I’ve never braved transporting for a two hour drive back to the ‘ham.

Sweet Peppers Deli – This is a mash-up between McAllister’s Deli and Newk’s with a tiny touch of the Cheesecake Factory. North Alabama has several locations and I feel slighted.They have the usual salads, soups, and giant sandwiches, Sweet Peppers has giant tea cup like Newk’s. What’s distinctive are the Ro-tel nachos (you ask whether you would pay a restaurant for Ro-tel nachos, but have you seen the price of a pound of Velveeta these days?) and the over-the-top desserts that include cheesecakes and multi-layered chocolate cakes.

The Corner Bakery – If we’re going to have coffee chains, we need more than Starbucks and Dunkin’ Doughnuts. As great as our independent coffee shops are, some new catering and take-out sources are in order. A Corner Bakery would have tasty meals and sandwich boxes but let’s jump straight to the array of pastries displayed in the case. Chocolate croissants plus a coffee bar  with light and dark roasts where we can refill our cup…mommy likey.

We’re on a roll, folks! With Railroad Park, Uptown, 2nd Ave. North, and so many suburban areas booming, these chains need to claim some spaces already!