Homewood Life, Summer 2023

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2 Summer 2023
HomewoodLife.com 3 ELEVATE YOUR OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE Open your door and capture the summer like never before. Enjoy music, movies and elegance on your patio, by the pool, and anywhere across your entire property. Hidden landscape speakers and music set the aura, while weatherproof TVs entertain your every moment and your guests. Soft pathway lighting creates amazing ambiance, and guides you through your personal paradise. Plus, you control it all with one simple touch. With GHT Group, you’ll get connected with all the vibrant possibilities of the season — and beyond.
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Ken Shaia reflects on his greatgrandfather’s dream that propelled him to immigrate to the United States for love and for a hope of a better future.



Homewood resident Erin Donohoo discovered a lost cat who traveled more than 150 miles from home.



You voted. We tallied. See just who Homewood's favorites are in the winners of our annual vote.



Award-winning travel writer Christiana Roussel votes Franklin, Tennessee, as a “charming hamlet,” and the perfect family getaway this summer.

4 Summer 2023

arts & culture

11 Where the Wild Things Grow: Carolyn Harbert’s Love for Accessorizing with Florals

20 Read this Book: The Homewood Public Library’s Best Books for the Gen-Z Reader schools & sports

21 Fighting for Her: Remembering Aniah Blanchard

food & drink

29 Simplistic Authenticity: Social Taco’s Menu for Good Food and Fun Times

37 Five Questions For: Ryan O’Hara, Founder and Owner of Big Spoon Creamery

home & style

39 The Dwelling Place: A 1930s Cottage Makeover

HomewoodLife.com 5 4 Contributors 5 From the Editor 6 The Question 7 The Guide 10 Instagram 82 Chamber Connections 84 Out & About 94 Marketplace 96 My Homewood in every issue HL


Lizzie Bowen

Anna Grace Moore

Noah Wortham


Carmen Brown

James Culver

Rachel Culver

Lauren H. Dowdle

Michelle Hamrick

Michelle Love

Madoline Markham

Melanie Peeples

Blair Ramsey

Christiana Roussel

Lauren Ustad


Jamie Dawkins

Connor Martin-Lively

Briana Sansom

Rowan Futrell


Sydney Allen

Octavia Campbell

Evann Campbell

Kari George

Michaela Hancock

Rachel Henderson

Rhett McCreight

Lauren Morris

Viridiana Romero

Tori Montjoy Smith


Mary Jo Eskridge

Alec Etheredge

Madison King

Stacey Meadows

Tim Prince

Brittany Schofield

Savana Tarwater

Anna Willis

Carmen Brown, Writer

Carmen earned her master’s degree in communication and information sciences from the University of Alabama. She has worked as a magazine feature writer for the last 15 years and also works as a writing coach and copy editor. Her work has been published in HomeCare, Tuscaloosa Magazine, The Executive and more. She enjoys writing articles on a variety of topics but especially health and wellness and inspirational articles on human resilience. Check out her website at carmensheabrown.com.

Lauren Dowdle, Writer

An award-winning writer, Lauren lives in Hoover with her husband, daughter and four fur-babies. She writes for a variety of local, national and international publications. A graduate from the University of Alabama, Lauren played the tuba in the Million Dollar Band, which is how she met her husband. When she isn’t writing or chasing around a toddler, she loves to bake for friends and family.

Blair Ramsey, Photographer

Blair is a Vestavia Hills-based photographer whose company, Southern Intrigue Photography, specializes in sports action, portrait and commercial images. Blair and her husband, John, have two sons, Cooper and Cameron, who have both had the privilege of being Auburn cheerleaders. Blair’s work can be found at southernintriguephotography.com, on Instagram @southernintriguephotography and Facebook @southernintrigue.

Christiana Roussel, Writer

Where should we have dinner? Where should we go on our next family vacation or couple’s getaway? What kind of shotgun should I buy? These are all queries writer Christiana Roussel has answered in recent months. While food writing is her original passion, she has really enjoyed expanding her repertoire to include travel and sporting activities that might involve an upland adventure. And no, it is not just because there might be a need for new clothes for the expedition.

Homewood Life is published quarterly by Shelby County Newspapers Inc., P.O. Box 947, Columbiana, AL 35051. Homewood Life is a registered trademark. All contents herein are the sole property of Shelby County Newspapers Inc. [the Publisher]. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without written permission from the Publisher. Please address all correspondence (including but not limited to letters, story ideas and requests to reprint materials) to: Editor, Homewood Life, P.O. Box 947, Columbiana, AL 35051.

Homewood Life is mailed to select households throughout Homewood, and a limited number of free copies are available at local businesses. Please visit HomewoodLife.com for a list of those locations. Subscriptions are available at a rate of $14.95 plus tax for one year by visiting HomewoodLife.com or calling (205) 669-3131, ext. 532.

Advertising inquiries may be made by emailing advertise@homewoodlife.com, or by calling (205) 669-3131, ext. 536.

6 Summer 2023

Blossoming Creativity

SSpringtime beckons a season of euphoric dawns–strokes of auburn and indigo caressing the sky every morning to wake our sleeping selves into motion. At least waking to work feels a little easier, a little more hopeful now. Winter blues are at our tail and springtime–symbolic of youth, learning, growing–is amidst.

Spring is my favorite season. I love the temperatures steadily climbing from the trenches of the “60s” to the subtle hues in the mid “70s.” I love that my favorite flower, the Oriental Trumpet Lily, is in bloom.

I’ve been waiting since I was 5 years old to be a spring bride. I watched “Bride Wars” with Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson as a kid and just knew I was going to get married in June at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Eighteen years later, I have come to realize my Excel budget has far too many boxes than I have dollar signs to put in them. So, I settled for May in Birmingham.

Nonetheless, I seem to be living a dream I so hoped and prayed for as a kid. A dream envisioned that is slightly less extravagant than younger me may have pictured.

Though I am in the “spring” of my career and of my future marriage, I feel seasoned. Reality often hits me 90-to-nothing against a brick wall. Reality, if I’m honest, is realizing the older I grow–the less I really know.

It’s difficult navigating life straight out of college. Success isn’t tenured. It is sown in every “spring” of life through hard work and a relentless passion to achieve. Achieve what, exactly? For some, that’s owning a piece of the Earth. Others, that’s obtaining a title change on Facebook or a plaque on a desk.

A red flag of mine is that I strive to make myself sound eloquent on paper–but that doesn’t mean I know what I’m trying to achieve or better yet, how I’ll actually achieve said dream. I’m still trying to teach my 22-month-old, Jacob, the concept of gravity. I have a feeling that lesson may have to be “self-taught.”

My point? I’ve learned in this “spring” stage that my dreams as a kid don’t always look like the reality I’m living now, and I’m learning to be okay with that. Perhaps “springs” are necessary learning curves to prepare us not only to walk through, but also to enjoy the other seasons of life. Though climbing mountains may humble me, at least I’ll smell the lilies along the way.


HomewoodLife.com 7
Wild Things owner Carolyn
Harbert’s unique taste for floral design proves fanciful and fun in the bouquets she creates.
Photo by Blair Ramsey
from the editor
Design by Rowan Futrell
ON THE COVER annagrace.moore@homewoodlife.com

Where’s the best place to raise a family in Homewood?

EDGEWOOD! Walk to the elementary school, walk to the middle school, kids and their parents outside on the front porches. Ice cream, Homewood Park, the Exceptional Foundation, the sidewalk life, diverse culture.

Edgewood. It is a quaint neighborhood.

I’ve lived in Edgewood for 25 years and have seen positive growth and development of the area. It provides access to eateries, a pharmacy and several shops and is within walking distance to the elementary and middle school.

West Homewood. It is quiet, and the people are nice.

Mayfield and Hollywood.


8 Summer 2023
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Homewood Central Park

Don’t make plans other than to attend the “We Love Homewood Day” festivities on this day! This family-friendly festival will feature numerous local businesses on display, as well as food vendors, inflatables, games, live music and more. Stay up to date on this event at homewoodparks.com/wlhd.

Here’s a lineup of the day’s festivities:

7:30-8:30 a.m. | We Love Homewood Day 5K

8:40-9 a.m. | Scoop and Scurry Ice Cream Fun Run

10 a.m.-4 p.m. | We Love Homewood Day Festival

6 p.m. | We Love Homewood Day Parade

7-9:30 p.m. | Street Dancing in Edgewood


Art in the Lot

9 A.M.-2 P.M.

Trinity United Methodist Church

1400 Oxmoor Rd

Art in the Lot is back again this year, featuring local vendors’ arts and crafts! This free event is open to all, and all are encouraged to sell, shop and discover the talents of artists right here in Homewood. Trinity United Methodist Church will also be accepting donations of toiletries and cleaning supplies to give to families who are a part of the Outreach Hub. The event is brought to patrons by the Trinity Studio and will be held in the church’s large parking lot. Visit trinitybirmingham.com for more information.


West Homewood Farmers Market

5-8 P.M.

160 Oxmoor Rd

The West Homewood Farmers Market is proud to open up again for its 13th season on June 6 with special guest and country music artist Steven Cade! Steven, who is the founder of Giving Guitars Tour, will provide live entertainment and will give away a guitar to a local foster home before the show. As always, patrons can expect a variety of local vendors’ wares, good food, excellent seasonal produce and more. Stay updated on this event by visiting westhomewood.com.


Art Camp


Thomas Andrew Art Studio and Gallery

1925 29th Ave S

Everyone’s favorite art camp is back again this summer! Children ages 7 through 12 years old are invited to attend weekly art camps at Thomas Andrew Art Studio and Gallery. Professional art educators will lead campers each week, helping students create beautiful masterpieces and cultivate their creative talents. Fees are $250 per child per week. Fees include all art supplies, snacks, drinks, a camp T-shirt, a splatter-painted beanie and a portfolio bag to store artwork. Art camps will be held during the weeks of June 5-9, June 12-16, June 19-23, June 26-30, July 10-14, July 17-21 and July 24-28. To learn more, visit thomasandrewartstudiogallery.com or call 205-504-3412 for more information.



Team Trivia

Oak Hill Bar and Grill


Terroir Tuesdays

Golden Age Wine 2828 Culver Rd


The Farmers Market at Brock's Gap Brock's Gap Brewing Company 500 Mineral Trce Ste 100


Birmingham Hot Air Balloon Festival

Alabama State Fairgrounds 2331 Bessemer Rd


Tails in the Trails Festival

The Birmingham Zoo


The 42nd Art in the Village Festival

Mountain Brook City Hall 56 Church St

MAY 13

Pollinator Tea Party

The Birmingham Zoo

MAY 16

The Homewood Chamber of Commerce’s May Membership Luncheon

The Club

MAY 17 Godsmack

Presented by Oak Mountain Amphitheatre

MAY 18

Brooks and Dunn

Presented by Legacy Arena

MAY 20

Zoo Run—Sprint for Sloths

The Birmingham Zoo

10 Summer 2023

MAY 25

Last Day of School for Homewood City Schools

MAY 29 Memorial Day


Gross Out Science Camp

Presented by Fresh Air Family

Oak Mountain State Park


Critters of the Night Hike

Oak Mountain State Park


Alabaster CityFest Thompson High School


Foo Fighters

Presented by Oak Mountain Amphitheatre


James Taylor

Presented by Oak Mountain Amphitheatre


The Homewood Chamber of Commerce’s June Membership Luncheon

The Club

JUNE 26-30

Summer Garden Chefs Kids’ Camp

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens


Matchbox Twenty

Presented by Oak Mountain Amphitheatre

AUG. 1

Big Time Rush: Can’t Get Enough Tour

Oak Mountain Amphitheatre

AUG. 15

The Homewood Chamber of Commerce’s August Membership Luncheon Samford University

JUNE 12-23

Summer Theatre Camp

9 A.M.-1 P.M.

The Homewood Theatre

1831 28th Ave S

Calling all actors and actresses! The Homewood Theatre is hosting a summer theatre camp for children and teens. Rising second graders through rising high school seniors are eligible to participate. Campers will learn how to put on a play and will learn the inner workings “behind the scenes.” This year’s camp production will be “Shrek the Musical Jr.,” and everyone is invited to attend performances on June 23, 24 and 25. The full schedule of performance times will be posted online at homewoodtheatre. com. Camp fees are $250 per child and includes instruction, scripts, costumes and a camp T-shirt. Visit homewoodtheatre.com/production/summer-theatre-camp/ or call 205-873-1816 for more information.

JULY 10-14

Cooking Camp for Teens

9 A.M.-1 P.M. Samford University

Samford University’s Department of Nutrition and Dietetics is hosting a week-long cooking camp to invite teens to learn about food prep and cooking with registered dietitian nutritionists. Campers will get to learn about healthy eating and food choices, as well as how to develop a positive relationship with food. Campers will also get to learn several recipes, including how to prepare snacks and meals. Teens ages 11 to 16 years old are eligible to attend. The cost is are $430 per camper and includes all food and supplies. Visit samford.edu/publichealth/events/ to learn more.


Downtown Homewood Sidewalk Sale


The Shops of Downtown Homewood

Join the Homewood Chamber of Commerce for this annual summer shopping extravaganza! Local merchants will be hosting sales up to 75 percent off on various retail items. Vendors will line the sidewalks in front of their respective businesses to welcome customers. Be sure to come early and support local businesses!

HomewoodLife.com 11 THE GUIDE

Tag us in your @homewoodlife photos on Instagram, and we’ll pick our favorites to regram and publish on this page in each issue.


The Harlott is a great way to enjoy your Sunday brunch @manthebattery


Great night for a great cause. #HomewoodGrown


We always love Homewood Grown. Since we couldn’t get our parents there this year we brought along the sweetest, life-long friend. Thanks @homewoodcityschoolsfoundation


Wine tasting at 5:30 pm. Come see Teddy and the rest of the staff tonight. We’ve got the wine to help you survive this cold night.

12 Summer 2023



Wild Things puts a fresh twist on floral arrangements for every occasion.

FFlowers can represent love, joy, friendship and dozens of other emotions and special moments in life. For Carolyn Harbert, owner of Wild Things, flowers are how she expresses her creativity.

Growing up outside of Chicago, Illinois, Carolyn remembers being exposed to a wide variety of experiences—especially ones that involved nature. “My mom was a huge gardener,” she says. “We were always outside doing fun, creative family activities.”

As a teenager, Carolyn’s mother had worked at a flower shop during the summer, so Carolyn decided to do the same. While her summer job mainly consisted of sweeping, taking out the trash and processing flowers, Carolyn says she remembers having the chance to help with a tulip arrangement and also design one for her family. Another memory that sticks out from her time at the shop included a bit of a rose mix-up.

“When roses come in bundles, there are

short and tall roses. You’re supposed to separate them by short and tall when you cut them and then put the tall ones in the back of the vase and the short ones in the front,” Carolyn explains. “But I cut them all at the same time, taking off more length from the longer stems so they were all the same size.”

Even though that blunder led to a temporarily upset boss—and a bit of a laugh now—Carolyn says the job was a good experience for her.

She also had a job at a flower store in college and was better able to hone her skills by figuring out how to cut flowers, put them in vases and become more comfortable working with them. “It came naturally to me,” she says.

Those experiences helped cultivate her passion for flowers, but floral designs weren’t her only interest. She also loved animals.

Carolyn attended Auburn University’s pre-vet program but soon realized the major didn’t provide her with a way to express her creativity.

So, she switched to graphic design and went

HomewoodLife.com 15

on to work for an ad agency. Yet, the rules that come with designing for specific brands were also confining. That led Carolyn to quit her corporate job, become a freelance graphic designer and move to Birmingham to be closer to her sister.

Even as a designer, her love for flowers never went away. While shopping for florals around the city, she says she only found traditional arrangements each time. “No one was doing anything trendy or exotic to push the envelope,” Carolyn says.

And, she wanted to change that. In 2018, she opened Wild Things to provide Homewood and beyond with an innovative shop that would expand the boundaries with different floral designs. Carolyn developed her own arranging style and taught her

employees how to follow it, as well. Finding team members who were creative—as opposed to ones with floral experience—was the goal.

“If they have a strict, floral training background, it can be hard to break them of that,” she explains. “We’re more freeform with garden-style arrangements. Our philosophy when we’re training here is to let them be creative.”

That relaxed vibe carries over throughout the shop, making Wild Things an inviting spot to visit. “The atmosphere is super casual but also eclectic and fun,” Carolyn says. “You’ll probably see one of my three dogs walking around the shop at any time.”

Whether planning an event or simply looking for a way to brighten someone’s day, customers can find

16 Summer 2023
We’re more freeform with garden-style arrangements. Our philosophy when we’re training here is to let them be creative. -
www.cobbsallen.com © 2023 Cobbs Allen | All Rights Reserved Cobbs Allen is a national independent agency focused on risk management in niche practice groups. We deliver commercial insurance, employee benefits, personal insurance, and alternative risk financing services to our clients. Always Out Front
Carolyn Harbert

the perfect flowers for any occasion at Wild Things. The shop creates a variety of floral arrangements, from neutral and earthy tones to ones with warm and romantic color palettes. They also have wrapped bouquets, dance flowers, centerpieces, wreaths and more.

Carolyn says she especially loves unarranged tulips in a vase, and peonies and garden roses are always popular flowers. Most customers come with ideas or inspiration boards for the types of arrangements they’re looking for, she says, while others leave the

design up to Carolyn and her team.

For anyone wanting to wow with flowers at their next event, Carolyn encourages them to think outside of the box. “It’s fun to be timeless and all white, but that’s something we see all of the time,” she says.

Another tip she shares is for people to pick their moment with floral arrangements, instead of washing out the space by covering everything with flowers. That could mean focusing on a chandelier, archway, stage front or other focal point with the flowers— which is also more budget-friendly than using them

18 Summer 2023

extensively everywhere.

“Pick the floral moment where you want to wow people, and let everything else trickle down and mimic that,” Carolyn says.

In addition to fresh florals, Wild Things also carries a variety of gifts and unique items like candles poured in Birmingham with dried flowers sprinkled on top, coffee table books, puzzles, picture frames, planters, spa items and more.

Even though the store has a wide range of eclectic items, Carolyn—like other small business owners—

says she worried sales would decline when the pandemic hit. However, it was just the opposite. During those often-isolating times, people wanted to send flowers to their loved ones to brighten their days.

One thing that has changed since the pandemic is that they have stopped hosting public workshops, although they might bring them back later this year or next. In the meantime, Wild Things still offers space for private events, and they hold off-site workshops for corporate events, like a holiday-wreath making class.

HomewoodLife.com 19

Constantly surrounded by floral scents, colorful muses and a vibrant team, Carolyn’s passion for flowers has only grown throughout the years. “I love coming to work every day,” she says. “We have an awesome group of women who are supportive of each other.”

Flowers help bring nature indoors with the fresh scents and bright colors, and these arrangements can also help people celebrate special occasions and provide perspective into what truly matters.

“For me, they’re kind of like subtle reminders of life’s precious moments,” Carolyn says. “Flowers have a life cycle just like we do, so it’s like seeing a sped-up mirror image of that. It’s a reminder to live every day to the fullest and tell the people I love that I love them.”

Not only can residents in Homewood enjoy these stunning flowers, but those in the Lone Star State will also be able to experience the unique floral arrangements. Carolyn recently moved to Austin where she’s opening another Wild Things location. “It’s been fun to grow this business,” she says.

Wild Things is located at 2815B 18th St. South in Homewood. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit wildthingsbhm.com.

20 Summer 2023 Join the Revolu�on Summer 2023 TYRANT! www.americanvillage.org Summer Hours Tuesday-Saturday 10a - 4p June 1 - July 29 (excluding July 4-5) Food trucks every Saturday in June/July • Arts & Crafts Fair June 2-3 MONTEVALLO, ALABAMA
HomewoodLife.com 21


Best Books for the Gen-Z Reader

Recommendations from Michelle Hamrick


at the Homewood Public Library

I have a BA in History from UAB and a Master’s of Library Studies from the University of Alabama. I have worked in the library field for more than 18 years, beginning as an assistant at the Birmingham Public Library— Regional Computer Center. Before working at the Homewood Public Library, I worked at the Irondale Public Library where I served as the public services coordinator and was later promoted to associate director.

The Crossing Places

Here we meet Dr. Ruth Galloway, a forensic archeologist and professor in Norfolk, England. As an expert on human skeletal remains, she is invited to consult on a police investigation. Thus begins an exciting and ongoing relationship with the local police force, including the gruff Detective Chief Inspector Nelson. The estuary and coastal areas around King’s Lynn, Norfolk, are as integral to the story as the characters. At times it feels sinister, but Ruth’s love for the flat, scrubby birding sanctuary helps the reader love it, too.

How to be Perfect

This review is for the audiobook checked out from the library. Michael Schur is best known as creator of The Good Place, co-creator of Parks and Recreation and occasionally showing up on The Office as Dwight’s cousin, Mose. Since The Good Place delved comedically into philosophical muddy waters, this book is the result of Michael Schur’s exploration of moral philosophy around the time of creating the show. It’s funny–especially for fans of The Office and The Good Place. The audiobook has the added treat of guest readers, like the cast from The Good Place and Geddy Lee–the front-man from the band, Rush. But it’s not too funny–serious scenarios are explored with depth, humility and self-awareness.

The Office of Historical Corrections

Each year I try to read at least one short story collection. A good short story will give me a new perspective, relatable characters or unforgettable situations in a small reading chunk. This collection offers all three. My favorite is the titular story of Cassie, a public historian for the Institute of Public History who is tasked with fact checking historical monuments and narratives. It’s become cumbersome work; the lofty ideals that created the organization are not enough to keep it feeling relevant. At the moment of this story, Cassie is debating how much of an impact she can make and if it matters. All of the stories offer food for thought about American culture.

The Authenticity Project

A plain, green journal is left in a café with a confession of loneliness. Each person that discovers the journal shares their own want for connection and then passes the journal along. This journal brings an unlikely group of neighbors together to create a sense of family and connection. This book is a literary hug–it’s a gift.

Pillars of the Earth

I first read this now classic, epic story in the 1990s. This is the story of the building of a cathedral in medieval Britain. All of the generations of lives that grow around the cathedral construction are explored in-depth. It will take some time to read–it’s nearly 1,000 pages! But in the end, you will have a greater respect and deep understanding of the world in medieval Britain.

22 Summer 2023



This Homewood High School graduate's legacy lives on through a new law and nonprofit in her memory.

AAniah Blanchard had an infectious laugh. She loved to see other people happy and couldn’t wait to become a teacher and softball coach.

Look around Homewood today, and you’ll see her. A plaque with her photo hangs at Homewood High School, where her softball jersey number, 22, has been retired. Over at Patriot Park—where she and her friends hung out growing up—her friends erected a bench bearing her name. Each year Homewood City Schools Foundation gives out a scholarship in memory of the 2018 Homewood High School graduate, and on Dec. 21, Homewood City Hall lights up in baby blue, her favorite color, for Aniah Blanchard Day. In traffic you might spot a baby blue sticker that says “Forever Aniah” or depicts a softball with angel wings.

If you see her mom, Angela Haley-Harris, around town, she’ll have several baby blue bracelets bearing her daughter’s name around her wrist and likely offer to give you one. Though she lost Aniah in 2019 at age 19 in a devastating turn of events, today Angela and her family live for her and carry out her legacy around Alabama and beyond.

Aniah’s Heart

About a week after learning Aniah had been kidnapped from a convenience store in Auburn in October 2019, Angela heard a voice saying, “Mom, please don’t let this happen to anyone else.” “And I said, ‘Baby I won’t,’” Angela recounts. That voice stayed with her as news came on Nov. 27 that Aniah’s body had been identified. She and her family attended her daughter’s memorial service on Dec. 21.

As soon as she could, Angela had a nonprofit up and running. “It was a no brainer on what to call it because Aniah’s heart was so big,” she says. “I knew I wanted to teach people situational awareness and self defense.” In part she knew that because she knew one of her daughter’s biggest fears was, tragically, the one that was realized: being kidnapped.

Today Aniah’s Heart regularly holds self defense classes taught by Angela’s husband, professional mixed martial arts fighter Walt Harris, and Aniah’s older brother, Elijah. The classes are a family affair, with Angela and Aniah’s younger siblings Asah and

HomewoodLife.com 25

Aylah attending and helping out. “We want [those who come to the classes] to know anyone can be a victim and that you have to be aware at all times, and that you have to be confident,” Angela says. “[Then] if you do get yourself into that situation, you know how to protect yourself and you will feel confident to do it.”

Angela is also passionate about sharing Aniah’s story and situational awareness with any groups she can, speaking at schools and to sororities at Auburn and UAB, as well as helping with search and rescue for other missing persons and supporting their families through Aniah’s Heart. The nonprofit has been a part of 15 searches across Alabama so far and has helped locate two people.

“A lot of people don’t understand why I like to be out searching, but it’s just something I have in me,” says Angela, who worked as a forensic nurse, specializing in sexual assault for 20 years at Children’s of Alabama. “I can do it because I know how important it is for that family to want to know where their loved one is.”

Angela wants those families in crisis to know what they can do after they file a missing persons report with the police—actions that might not be obvious to anyone unfamiliar with this world that she lived in for the 32 long days Aniah was missing. “I have learned so much about what the police can do and what civilians can do, and that it does take people other than the police in that

search effort,” she says.

Today Angela is quick to inform families about ways to use signs and social media to get the word out, about using dogs for searches, and about what alerts can be used (The AMBER Alert is persons under age 18 who are missing and believed to be in danger, while the lesser known Ashanti Alert is for ages 18-65). “I am overwhelmed with so many missing people that I can’t keep up,” Angela says. “It breaks my heart.”

Sarah O’Brien, Aniah’s friend and roommate from Southern Union State Community College who now works closely with Aniah’s Heart daily, also tells Aniah’s story at any chance she gets. She’s been on 48 Hours and a local radio station. Next up, she is speaking at her high school, telling anyone she can that if Aniah was a normal college girl stopping at a convenience store, it can happen to anyone. “I don’t want anyone to live in fear, but I want everyone to be prepared,” she says.

Sarah has taken an Aniah’s Heart self-defense class herself and knows the importance of tips Aniah’s Heart shares on Facebook lives, such as if you think someone is following you in the car, take five rights, and if they are still behind you, call the police. “I don’t go to a gas station at night, I share my location with everyone and I feel more aware of my surroundings,” she says of how she lives following Aniah’s death.

26 Summer 2023

Aniah’s Law

It wasn’t long after a suspect, Ibraheem Yazeed, was announced in Aniah’s kidnapping and murder that Angela found out more about him. “Oh my God, this person who has kidnapped my daughter has this long, violent criminal history and is out on bond for two attempted murders,” she remembers thinking. “This is not okay, and he should not have been out on the street. We have to do something about it.” Yazeed, she later learned, had been released from jail on a $280,000 bond after he was charged with kidnapping, robbery and attempted murder in January 2019 in Montgomery.

Then as Angela was getting ready for Aniah’s memorial service in December, a state representative she grew up with, Tracy Estes from Marion County, called her. “There’s a state representative, Chip Brown out of Mobile, and he has this bond reform bill,” she remembers him saying. “We want to name it after Aniah.”

“And I just broke down because this is was exactly what I wanted to do,” Angela recalls. “It all came together perfectly.”

The bill in its final form added a list of serious crimes other than capital offense that a defendant can be held for without bail before trial. Previously Section 16 of the state constitution had only made an exception to being held without bail for capital murder. A separate bill would spell out that the law would be applied by prosecutors

HomewoodLife.com 27

Courage lives

being able to request a pretrial hearing to ask the judge to hold a defendant without bail, with the accused being able to be represented by a lawyer who can testify, call witnesses and cross examine witnesses. From there, the judge can choose whether to grant or deny bail.

Two months later after Angela first heard about what would become Aniah’s Law, the state legislature began its 2020 session, and she and her husband along with Aniah’s biological father and his wife went down to Montgomery to speak to the judiciary committee, telling them Aniah’s story and about how adamant they were that this bill pass. From there, it passed in the state Senate, and then COVID brought the process to a halt until April 2021.

Angela watched the House vote live online from home the day it happened. “When I saw it light up—ding, ding, ding, ding—and it was all green, all the state representatives voted for it, I just fell on the ground because this was absolutely amazing, but my daughter [was still] dead,” Angela recounts with emotion. “That was hard, but I was so happy that lives were going to be saved, and that this was absolutely what Aniah would have wanted.”

Governor Kay Ivey signed the bill in June 2021, and in November 2022, it finally made it on the ballot for the entire state to vote on as Amendment 1.

On election day, Sarah O’Brien sat outside the polls in her hometown, Andalusia, holding signs and urging voters to vote for Amendment 1 with her dog, Zander, who had lived with Aniah and her dog, Bloo, in the fall of 2019. That night Sarah was sunburned, but she got far greater news of the day’s effects: The bill had passed into law.

“I’m overwhelmed with the support we received and so grateful it passed,” Sarah says. “[Aniah would’ve wanted] to save other people from that happening.”

Most people cannot even imagine what it feels like to watch a child take on a battle against cancer. The courage, strength and resilience our patients demonstrate every day is what inspires us to give our best. We are here when families need us the most, caring for their children and never giving up hope in their fight against cancer.

Hannah Crocker, a friend of Aniah’s since sixth grade at Homewood Middle School, redirected her career path from nursing to serving as a police officer in Tuscaloosa after helping search for Aniah every day after she went missing in 2019. She now has a front-row seat, seeing the effect of the law named after her friend.

“Watching people you see arrested come out on bail is so hard,” she says. “Watching our judges feel like they have the power to use that is amazing, and I love watching them use that in Tuscaloosa. It makes me proud and happy knowing you won’t run into them until after their trial.”

A Google news search as of this article’s writing in early March pulls up multiple pages of Alabama news stories of instances where the law has been applied, and this is just the beginning of its life.

Hannah sees Aniah’s legacy live on outside her policing work, too. When her daughter was born in September 2022, she named her Aniah Caroline. “She reminds me every day of Aniah,” she says. “She is bubbly, and she is always laughing.”

Follow @aniahsheart on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about upcoming self defense classes and other efforts in Aniah’s memory.

28 Summer 2023
Learn more at ChildrensAL.org/cancer

What about Homewood High School’s cheerleading program sets it apart from others in the area?

Homewood Cheerleading is unique because our team members are more than just cheerleaders. Here at Homewood, many (if not most) of our cheerleaders are involved in SGA, show choir, volleyball, softball, soccer, track, bowling, tennis and many other clubs and extracurriculars. The entire athletic department is so good about creating flexibility for our students to be involved in a number of activities across campus. Other schools in the area rarely allow enough flexibility for cheerleaders to participate in other activities or sports.

What does it mean to wear the Homewood High School cheer uniform?

Wearing the Homewood High School cheer uniform represents so much more than just the individual or the squad in that moment. Homewood is rich with tradition and excellence, and our cheerleading program in particular has maintained the traditions and rituals that it established decades ago. This program is one of a kind because it draws from the traditions of the past while also constantly evolving and innovating our practices. We saw a need to



Rachel Loughney & Shea Allan

Head Cheerleading Coaches at Homewood High School

Homewood High School’s competition cheerleading team competed at the Alabama High School Athletic Association State Championship and earned fourth place out of 25 teams in the 6A division! In the two short years of this program’s existence, the team has gone from eighth place in its region to fourth place in the state of Alabama. Here, coaches Rachel Loughney and Shea Allan describe the character that defines the program.

create an outlet for our cheerleaders to compete their skills and talents, so we started a competition team within the program. In the last four years, we’ve had five cheerleaders go on to cheer at Division 1 universities across the country.

Homewood’s cheer program is very competitive. How does it feel to be a part of such an elite organization?

The first thing that comes to mind when we think about being a part of Homewood cheerleading is pride. Our program exists to do more than just create talented cheerleaders. Our goal is to graduate young men and women of character who bring enthusiasm, strong work ethic and servant leadership with them into their next chapters of life. We are so proud of the number of things that we can accomplish as a squad due to the team members’ time management skills, prioritization and genuine love for Homewood.

What events will the team be participating in to give back to the community?

Throughout the year, the Homewood cheerleading program finds ways to give back to the community through engagement

and appearances at Homewood events. You can find us at all the Homewood parades, hosting clinics for kids in elementary schools and cheering for almost every sport Homewood has to offer. At Christmastime each year, the three squads (varsity, junior varsity and freshmen) get to pick their own service project to participate in to give back. In years past, we have written letters to soldiers, volunteered at women’s shelters and sponsored whole Angel Trees (just to name a few).

If a student is interested in joining, what information does he or she need to know?

If a student is interested in joining the program, they should know that we host tryouts each spring for upcoming 9th through 12th graders. We evaluate participants based on their jumps, tumbling, dance and crowd-leading skills. Each cheerleader who is currently in the program has some sort of cheer, dance or gymnastics background and has been working for several years to perfect their skills. As coaches, we love the tryout season because we get to see the girls and guys at their very best as they hope to make the squad.

HomewoodLife.com 29



Revitalizing SOHO Plaza with authentic Mexican cuisine.

WWalking up the stairs to the second floor of Social Taco, owners Taylor Hughes and Dave Horn call out a guest sitting by the window enjoying a meal.

“Isn’t this like three times this week?” Taylor asked, smiling.

“Don’t judge me!” The guest responded with a laugh.

Since the Homewood restaurant opened in early January, this type of frequent visitation has already become a regular occurrence. Located in the former Jackson’s and Tostadas spot in Homewood Plaza, Social Taco has quickly garnered positive attention from the community.

Birmingham restaurant enthusiasts know Dave and Taylor from their extensive resume. Dave owns the Cahaba Heights restaurant, Mudtown, and The Ridge in Vestavia Hills, while he and Taylor together own SoHo Social and SoHo Standard—both located

next door to Social Taco in the Plaza.

SoHo Social opened in February 2017 while SoHo Standard opened in February 2020. Dave says the growth in the community has been “organic,” and Taylor says they’ve been very fortunate for Homewood’s support.

Taylor and Dave have worked together for more than 10 years and became business partners to open SoHo Social. While Dave handles more the business side of the restaurants, Taylor provides the creative spark that sets the restaurants apart from surrounding businesses.

“We’re both food guys, but when it comes to the creative stuff in the kitchen, that’s Taylor’s domain,” Dave says. “Of the two of us, he definitely has the greater creative gene.”

“I’ve gotten a lot better at reeling in the reigns a little bit as far as what is that dream and what is

HomewoodLife.com 33

logistically, financially and feasibly possible,” Taylor says, jokingly. “But I can bring an idea to Dave, and we talk through it like, ‘What is it? How do we make it? What direction is it going?’ A lot of things work the first time, and other things turn into completely new ideas based on that interaction.”

Moving into the space was “opportunistic,” according to Taylor. The space had been occupied by Jackson’s since 2006, then when Jackson’s closed its doors in 2019, Tostadas opened before ultimately closing in 2021. Before jumping into the location, Taylor says he and Dave did their homework on why

the two prior businesses were successful or unsuccessful.

Dave says going into making Social Taco a reality was the “biggest project we’ve ever done.”

“We came in, and started peeling back the layers of the building and the aesthetic,” he says. “It just needed a breath of fresh air.”

While the project took longer than they had anticipated, Taylor and Dave say it ended up being for the best as there were several factors that wouldn’t have played out the way they have otherwise.

“We’ve been fortunate with some key staff people

34 Summer 2023

that if we had opened earlier they probably wouldn’t be with us,” Taylor says. “Some things just fell into place, and it all worked out.”

A Mexican restaurant was always in the stars for the duo, though Dave said over the years the opportunity never arose at the right time or place. Once the chance presented itself, Dave and Taylor went to work creating a concept that they felt truly represented the heart of what makes Mexican food so special from other cultural cuisines.

“Mexican food for us is central,” Dave says. “If I could eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be

HomewoodLife.com 35
I think simple gets overlooked, but that’s the stuff we as restaurateurs fall in love with.
- Dave Horn

Mexican food.”

Taylor describes their food as a “step above” what diners would typically find in a local suburban Mexican restaurant.

“I don’t think it’s what most suburban America thinks of when they think of Mexican food,” Dave says. “Usual Mexican restaurants around here serve what can be described as Americanized Tex Mex, and

it’s such a watered down version of what the food really is.”

“We made a list of things that we knew we were not going to have on the menu since day one,” Taylor says. “There’s no quesadillas or burritos or fajitas, things like that. We wanted everything to be fresh and vibrant but also simple.”

Simplicity is a theme that both Dave and Taylor

36 Summer 2023

praise when it comes to good food.

“I think simple gets overlooked, but that’s the stuff we as restaurateurs fall in love with,” Dave says. “You go somewhere, and you see someone doing something really good and really simple. There’s a lot of envy in that.”

They’re working on some minor changes and additions to the menu, but Dave and Taylor both want to keep the menu short and sweet.

“Less is still always more,” Taylor says.

It was important to both the owners that the menu reflect what real Mexican food is all about: fresh ingredients full of flavor. Tortillas are picked up fresh every day from Birmingham favorite, Gordo’s, on Valley Avenue. Taylor and Dave’s favorites on the menu include tacos pastor; tablitas, which are thincut charcoal grilled short ribs; tlayudas, which are

thin, crispy corn tortillas assembled in the vain of a Mexican pizza with bean sauce and cheese; and their morita sauce, which is loaded with various peppers and has a vibrant flavor.

Dave said the input from Latino members of their staff from over the years has played a large role in the menu’s evolution.

“There’s this respect because coming up, a lot of the food I ate working in restaurants was the stuff the cooks made for each other and the staff,” Dave says. “Having our staff get excited about the things we’re putting out is confirmation for us that we’re on the right track.”

They hope that the popularity and word-of-mouth marketing surrounding SoHo Social and SoHo Standard will aid the popularity of Social Taco, and after that, they think the food will speak for itself.

HomewoodLife.com 37

They’re also hoping to take advantage of having three restaurants in the Homewood Plaza available to the public, especially in an entertainment district.

“I think we’ve made some good decisions with offering our patrons options in the Plaza while they’re waiting,” Dave says. “And, we’re working on using hostessing software, where you can come put your name on the list, and we’ll let you know which restaurant has a table open immediately. It lets us really capitalize on the proximity and making people happy.”

“It can be like, instead of let’s go specifically to SoHo Standard or Social Taco, it can be like, ‘Let’s get a drink at SoHo Standard and figure out where we want to eat or get an appetizer at Social Taco while we wait for a table at SoHo Social,’” Taylor says. “We’re trying to make it, so you have options to entertain you and keep you happy while you figure out what you want to do for dinner.”

Though they admit they may be biased, both Dave and Taylor express Social Taco is currently their favorite place to eat, and they hope the community feels the same way. They’ve even designed the menu, where guests can play around with variations of dishes to keep each visit as fresh and exciting as the menu itself.

“This has spoiled me,” Dave says. “This is all exactly what we want and exactly how we want it.”

38 Summer 2023

What’s the best part about being in business in Homewood?

I think Homewood is a wonderful, tightknit community. I love that residents here really embrace small businesses like ours as their own. We really feel at home here and entrenched in this community.

What makes you excited to work at Big Spoon Creamery everyday?

The people are what excites me. I get excited to work alongside our incredible team, and I love getting to serve our guests. We have the honor to be a part of so many special moments in the lives of our guests, from first dates to engagements to anniversaries, birthdays, promotions, you


Five years after Homewood Life’s first interview with Big Spoon Creamery owner Ryan O’Hara, the magazine revisited him to learn about the ice cream parlor’s “sweet success.” What started in 2014 as a dream with only $500 to its name is now a Homewood staple in the community, serving customers only the freshest ingredients and with a smile, too. Big Spoon Creamery has since expanded from its original brick and mortar corner front in Avondale to include a location in Edgewood and this summer, a new location in Huntsville, too! Here, Ryan talks about why he loves the ice cream business and being an entrepreneur in Homewood as well.

name it. I’m honored that we get to be a part of the fabric of our guests’ lives, from small moments to big ones, from celebratory occasions to sad days, we’re there for them.

What is your favorite menu item/ recommended menu item for newcomers?

For first-time guests, I love to recommend a flight. It’s six small scoops of ice cream, and it’s a great way to share with someone and get to taste a lot of different flavors!

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Pursue what you’re passionate about.

This journey can be challenging at times, and it’s important to never lose sight of your “why.” When those tough days come (and they will), remembering your “why” is what will keep you going.

Of all the businesses to go into, why ice cream?

Well, first of all, we just really love ice cream! But, we also felt like ice cream was sort of a universal language that spans almost every demographic. We love that we get to serve our guests a product that we’re really passionate about and something that brings together so many different people from varying demographics and backgrounds.

HomewoodLife.com 39



It’s been 30 years since we first started roasting and serving our coffee. And in that time, coffee has changed a great deal. But what will never change is how we love to share it with you.


Your support over the last three decades has been and will continue to be undoubtedly what helps make us oh, so special. And for that, we are truly thankful.

40 Summer 2023




a historic Homewood house the “up-do” it deserves.

When Melany Robinson first laid eyes on the weather-beaten bungalow on the corner of Dale Street, she saw within the old house’s walls something to be curated–a taste appreciative of eclectic design.

The paint stripping away on the siding aged the house more than years could tell. The original hardwood floors waned beneath the weight of the house, causing dips in the level. Even the vintage washer and dryer cluttered the once claustrophobic kitchen space. Yet, she knew this old house could be home–thanks to her friend and interior designer, Fran Keenan.

Fran’s love for revitalizing homes is culminated in her brainchild business, Fran Keenan Design, which has now grown to include a team of designers working together to beautify Homewood and beyond.

“Each project takes on its own life,” says Lauren Edwards, an interior designer who worked with Fran on Melany’s humble abode. “It’s fun watching the pieces that were already owned [intertwine with] new items, watching it all come together to create this personality in a new space.”

Fran and Lauren began to redesign Melany’s house using artifacts, fabrics, artwork and anything

Wshe already owned. They worked from the inside-out, balancing each room’s atmosphere from the hues within the throw pillows and carpet threads adorning each concept. If walls could talk, this old house would need hours to tell its tales.

Melany found several antique lamps in the attic the previous owners left behind and polished them up. They now are the staple focus points in several rooms including the living room and bedroom suites.

“It was really important to Melany to incorporate those things,” Lauren says. “We didn’t source all of the lamps. We were able to take pieces and use them again.”

Balancing price points while maximizing quality is but one uniquity of Fran Keenan Design that uplifts her work within the community. Whether houses are historical or newly built, whether furniture stands the test of time or still bears its price, Fran pledges to find the personality within each house to help every home feel liveable.

To work with Fran or learn more information about interior decor, visit frankeenandesign.com or follow her on Facebook and Instagram @frankeenandesign.

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Father Nature Landscapes helped design and create the beautiful scenery outside the home.

Living Room Details

Inspired by Melany’s eclectic taste, Fran found these copper, pour-spout jug lamps from Hanna Antiques Mall that helped elevate this room’s design.

Living Room

The best way to revitalize a space is with natural light.


This fireplace is from the original house’s blueprint. The worn wood stain keeps true to the vintage nature of the home.

44 Summer 2023

Dining Room

This room is the site of fellowship–conversations that begin at the table. The rounded dining room chairs are from Mary

Accentuating through Color

With lots of natural light pouring into the rooms, Fran chose a moody green color from Farrow & Ball to offset the mood. The dark hues pair nicely with the vintage aesthetic.

Vintage Finds

Unlike the more conventional China cabinet, this one holds some of history's earliest technology marvels: the record player, the typewriter and the dial phone.

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and Wilma.

Artful Decor


This runner provides the perfect pop of “pattern” to liven the corridor.

The end chairs are from Black Camo.

A Moody Aesthetic

Several of Melany’s favorite albums are framed to display “the old ones, but the good ones, too.”


The kitchen’s remodel was the most drastic. This room used to hold a vintage washer and dryer that ran to the rhythm of its beat. Fran chose to white wash the baseboards and molding to custom match the color of the cabinets. She also incorporated a hand-laid subway tile backsplash that is textured, creating a lived-in feel.

Kitchen Shelving

These free-floating shelves were added to provide the perfect layer to keep the kitchen both aesthetically pleasing and functional in an otherwise small space.

A Humble Abode

This midcentury modern table and chairs rest in the corner nook of the kitchen. Melany enjoys many a quiet morning here.

HomewoodLife.com 47

Master Bedroom

The black-framed bed canopy helps the room feel much taller, much more roomy. The pillows, Lauren says, are a great way not only to layer bedding but also to help make a bedroom feel more cozy, thanks to the acquired feels of each fabric.

Master Bathroom

Similarly to the bed frame, Fran opted for black granite with moody sage drawers to keep the colors consistent between the master bedroom and bathroom.

48 Summer 2023
HomewoodLife.com 49

theAmerican Dream

Over a hundred years, Shaia’s has grown from a tiny general store to a regionally-respected menswear retailer.



MR Magazine

chooses Shaia’s as one of the “25 Most Exciting Menswear Stores in America.”


Ken launches Shaia Medical Heritage Apparel, bringing the quality of European tailoring to modern physicians’ coats. In 2009, the Alabama Retailers Association awards Shaia’s “Retailer of the Year.”


Shaia’s concept shop originally featuring designer Scott James opens. The new shop includes the rafters of S.G.’s house.


Shaia’s was one of only seven independent stores chosen to participate in Zegna’s Decade trip. Ken was invited to Switzerland and Milan to tour Zegna factories and take part in their Made-to-Measure Academy.

WWhen telling the story of Shaia’s, J.L. Shaia says it all began with a 16-year-old boy, his sweetheart and their dream for a better life. The young man was S.G. Shaia, his grandfather, whom he remembers as a “remarkable man.”

An orphan with no formal education, S.G. came to America from Lebanon with only $10 in his pocket. He eventually made his way to Nashville where he married his sweetheart, Badia. In 1905, S.G. moved to Birmingham’s Southside district close to present-day UAB. He began peddling, carrying a large and very heavy pack on his back full of notions and household goods.

“In 1921, he borrowed some money and purchased four lots south of Birmingham on a dirt road that would eventually become 18th Street in Homewood,” J.L. says. “By the next year, he had built a store and a home next to it and established a garden of fig trees and grapevines on the very spot Shaia’s stands today.”

S.G.’s wife, Badia, along with her two sons, George and Alex, ran the store while S.G. continued peddling.

“The first business license listed cigarettes and bottled drinks, as Shaia’s humble beginnings were as a general mercantile store that was tailored to the needs of our customers,” J.L. recalls. “No drug or grocery stores were in the community at the time.”

Alex took over the business in 1933, guiding it through the Great Depression and World War II. He continued to improve the merchandise selection, eventually making it a “junior department store.”

In 1955, Shaia’s moved two doors down the street to its present location, and at that time Alex’s oldest son, J.L., joined the business. In 1958, J.L.’s younger brother Leo also joined the family business.

“Leo and I felt the age of specialization in retail was the future, and we always wanted a men’s store,” J.L. explains. “In 1963, we closed the store for a few weeks, completely remodeled it and opened back up as a specialty men’s store.”

However, J.L. says the going was not easy as several well-established men’s stores in Birmingham were carrying all the better, well-known brands,

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Architectural Digest names Shaia’s “One of America’s 50 Most Beautiful Independent Stores.” 2018
Shaia’s holds its 100th anniversary celebration on May 15. 2022

and Shaia’s was forced to find equal quality but lesserknown vendors.

“We got our break when we discovered a new designer by the name of Ralph Lauren and his Polo brand,” he explains. “That was about 1972, and we had the brand exclusive for the next several years. Now all the other important brands were coming to Shaia’s.”

S.G. passed away in 1976 at the age of 96. He never remarried after Badia passed away decades earlier in 1931.

J.L. says that a few years later in 1982, Shaia’s took over the building on the north side and with this expansion, the business was able to have a shoe department and a fully-staffed alterations department.

“The benefits of this were many and allowed us to really enhance our commitment to customer service,” J.L. says.

In 1986, J.L.’s son, Ken, became the fourth generation to join Shaia’s.

“He was adding his energy and taste to the business, bringing in more brands and European designers to give the store a broader base to help it grow,” J.L. says.

As for Ken, he says he remembers being 9 years old and already immersed in the life of the clothing business.

“My grandfather, my dad, my uncle, my mother— they all could be around at any given time of the day,” Ken says. “My memories were like that of a modern KinderCare.”

With the guidance of his father, uncle and the rest of his family, Ken slowly learned the craft of being a businessman.

“At 15, I worked in the tailor shop and helped with pricing merchandise,” he says. “When I was 17, I

54 Summer 2023

started traveling with my dad to market in New York.”

Ken says while working he got a lot of his “education” just by talking to customers.

“Doctors, lawyers, mechanics, real estate, medicine—I could get just about any question answered,” he says. “It was a great network for getting free advice.”

Ken says his father and uncle allowed him to start hiring employees when he was in his 20s.

“No one is left here now that I didn’t hire,” Ken says. “Greg has been here for 25 years. I call him my switchblade and knife. He does a little bit of everything.”

Shaia’s staff includes Ken’s wife, Fonda; Hannah, Nathan, Greg, Patrick; and Gerri the office manager. His 22-year-old daughter, Zanie Love, works parttime. Shaia’s also has four in-house tailors.

“Everybody here is customer-facing,” Ken says. “It’s all about customer service here.”

One hundred years ago, Shaia’s was only about 1,800 square feet. Ken says that while most of these businesses are about 2,500 square feet, Shaia’s is now 6,500 square feet—a testament to the store’s legacy and the longstanding relationships they have with customers.

“We stay pretty busy,” Ken explains. “Right now, we’re doing so many weddings. We see about 40 customers a day.”

Today, Shaia’s has made a name for itself both locally and on a global scale, having been named “Birmingham’s Best Men’s Store” by Birmingham Magazine and “Best of Class” by Esquire Magazine. Esquire Magazine has also awarded Shaia’s with the “Gold Standard” honor for 12 years in a row.

HomewoodLife.com 55

Known as a “Southern store with an international flavor,” Shaia’s website describes its brand as “classic and modern Neapolitan artisan-crafted products with British influence and classic Americana sportswear.”

Although Shaia’s is a staple in Homewood, Ken says his business has become so well-known through social media and word of mouth that 30-to-40 percent of their business now comes from out of the state.

“We recently did a wedding for a family out of New York City,” he says. “We also get a lot of business from Nashville and Atlanta.”

Ken says the emphasis on customer service, including wardrobe consulting and the Made-toMeasure program, is what sets them apart from many other men’s clothing businesses.

“A lot of places aren’t going to spend the time and money to focus on customers like we do,” Ken says. “Their tailors aren’t going to spend three or four hours with a customer. That’s why we say we tailor to the needs of customers to get it right.”

Ken says he enjoys having his business in

Homewood, not just because of his family’s history, but also because of the small-town feel of the area.

“I like Homewood because of the convenience, friendliness, diversity and walkability,” he explains. “You don’t have to leave 35209. You don’t even have to get in your car if you don’t want to.”

In 2015, Leo retired, as did J.L. in 2020. On July 17, 2022, J.L. was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by leading menswear industry source MR Magazine for the store’s commitment to “resilience and re-invention,” which was the awards show’s theme.

“It’s a long way from a dirt road and a general store to what Shaia’s is today, but we have not forgotten our beginnings and the support this community has given us,” J.L. says. “Shaia’s has grown as this community has grown, and we are forever grateful for their support.”

Shaia’s has gone through many changes over the years, but Ken says one thing will never change: focusing on the needs of the customers.

And, something else has never changed. The grapevine, which symbolizes the family’s Lebanese roots, still graces the handle of the front door.

Shaia’s is located at 2818 18th Street South in Homewood. For more information, customers can visit shaias.com.

Fan Favorite Items

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1. Zegna Triple Stitch Sneakers 2. Faherty All-Day Shorts 3. Bruno Cucinelli Lightweight Canvas Jeans 4. Canali Summer Blazer/ Patch Pocket Blazer 5. Common Projects Summer Cashmere Suede Sneakers
58 Summer 2023

"Nine Lives" Journey A

A story about love and loss and the machinations of a world that—more often than not—set in motion the wheels of love.

EErin “Not A Crazy Cat Lady” Donohoo

She remembers the day she saw him. An orange, straggly-looking cat picking his way through the wooded, overgrown lot across the street from her in Mayfair. “Uh oh,” she thought. “He doesn’t look so good.”

He also didn’t look familiar to Erin, which is not to say she knows every cat in her neighborhood, but, you know, she knew she hadn’t seen him before, because she notices cats. (Or, maybe they notice her. Hard to say with cats). At any rate, he looked hungry. And, a hungry cat is not something Erin can abide.

She called him over and set some cat food in a bowl on her front porch, and he ate and ate and ate. He was so friendly. She thought he must have an owner somewhere. As the hours ticked on and she went inside, she could see that he wasn’t leaving. It was a day with thunderstorms forecast, so she scooped him up before the storms arrived and decided to run him to her vet to see if he had a microchip to identify his owner.

He did. Erin was right—he wasn’t from around here. In fact, he was from Atlanta. Two and a half hours away by car. But, there was a problem. The voicemail of the phone number attached to his microchip was full. No one could leave the owner a message. The vet’s office said they’d keep trying and look for another way to contact them, so Erin and the cat came back home.

It’s worth mentioning at this point, Erin had not yet told her husband about the orange kitty. The last time a stray cat wandered into Erin’s yard, they ended up paying for his dental surgery to the tune of $1,000 for a cat that wasn’t even hers.

But, as one can probably guess, the cat became hers shortly after that. His name is Murray, and he is relegated to the outdoors because Dice—Erin’s black and white kitty—will not tolerate another male cat in the house. So, each night Erin slips Murray into the house in his very own bedroom and shuts the door to keep him safe and placate Dice.

Her female cat, JaBoo, has no problems with another male in the house, but for those keeping score, that’s two cats in the house and a once-stray named Murray with previously bad teeth who just checks in at night.

As the orange cat continued lounging on her front porch, Erin considered her choices. “I thought, ‘Oh, no. I can’t take another cat. There’s a limit. I can’t have another cat and have a husband at the same time, and as much as my husband would argue with this, I do love my husband more than I love cats,’” Erin jokes.

That is not to say that if something were to happen to her husband, Pete, that could change. “He has joked that if he dies, I’m going to fill the house up with 20 cats. I laugh and say, ‘That’s funny he thinks it will stop at 20.’”

Thankfully, the vet called. They tracked down the

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owner. In no time, Erin was Facetiming a jubilant Andrea Stroud from Atlanta, so Andrea could see her cat. It turns out his name is Buddy, and he’d been missing for six months.

They still don’t know how Buddy got to Birmingham, not to mention Homewood. Buddy was an indoor cat who had slipped out unbeknownst to Andrea. Neither Andrea, nor her two kids know anyone who had visited Birmingham in the last six months. The best anyone can guess is that the man with two little girls who had been spotted petting an orange cat at a gas station near Andrea had picked him up and driven to Birmingham.

Andrea says she had never given up hope that Buddy would be found. She admits she had just recently started putting his toys away, but she held out hope that he was still alive, and that at some point an animal lover would find him and take him to a vet to be scanned.

When Erin offered to drive Buddy halfway, Andrea was amazed! She could hardly sleep that night.

East Bound and Down

The cat transport left at the crack of dawn, to the tune of Jerry Reed’s “East Bound and Down,” from the 1977 movie classic, “Smokey and the Bandit.”

62 Summer 2023

Buddy, strapped down in the backseat, meowed in his cardboard box like he knew the words to the song. Erin had a long way to go and a short time to get there, barely enough to get to Georgia and back and still get her daughter to dance class (nobody ever said catsaving was easy).

As she pulled into the Pilot gas station in Tallahassee, Georgia, Andrea hopped out of her own car and cooed, “Buddy, oh, Buddy! You’re home! You’ve been on a big adventure.” She’s owned Buddy for five years and in that time, he had become a part of her family. Extended family, even. Andrea could not believe her good fortune in finding Erin.

“She is amazing, and she doesn’t know just how much she has touched me, when she was like, ‘Yeah, I can meet you. Let’s see where we can meet to get your baby back to you.’ People don’t do that,” Andrea says.

But, Erin does.

For her part, Erin says she’s no hero. She just drove a cat to Georgia. But, tell that to Andrea, who has a little kitty curled up in her bed again, getting thoroughly spoiled.

Erin maintains she is not a crazy cat lady, but how would one know? Easy, she says, “A crazy cat lady would have kept the cat.”`

HomewoodLife.com 63 3165 Cahaba Valley Road Birmingham, AL 35124 NOW ALSO SELLING COMMERCIAL PLAY EQUIPMENT! CALL 205-408-4386 FOR MORE INFO! CALL 205-408-4386 for more info! www.backyardalabama.com 3165 C h b V lle R d AY 86 For all your backyard playground needs!!
64 Summer 2023


Who’s the best? We asked, and you answered. Thousands of votes were cast in Homewood Life’s annual Homewood’s Best contest. Read on to find out our readers’ favorites.

Photos by Keith McCoy, James Culver & Contributed




SoHo Social 1830 29th Ave S #160 205-423-8080


Runners Up: Taco Mama–Edgewood, Oak Hill Bar & Grill


Dave’s Pizza 1819 29th Ave S 205-871-3283 davesontheweb.com

Runners Up: Taco Mama–Edgewood, Urban Cookhouse


Red Pearl Restaurant 243 W Valley Ave 205-945-9558 superorientalmkt.com

Runners Up: Jinsei Sushi, Maya Mexican Restaurant


Gianmarco’s Restaurant 721 Broadway St 205-871-9622 gianmarcosbhm.com

Runners Up: SoHo Standard, Oak Hill Bar & Grill


Edgar’s Bakery 2713 18th St S 205-987-0790 edgarsbakery.com

Runners Up: Johnny’s Restaurant, Urban Cookhouse


Big Bad Breakfast 1926 29th Ave S 205-666-7099 bigbadbreakfast.com

Runners Up: Demetri’s, Edgar’s Bakery


SoHo Social 1830 29th Ave S #160 205-423-8080


Runners Up: Taco Mama–Edgewood, Urban Cookhouse


66 Summer 2023


O'Henry’s Coffees 2831 18th St S 205-870-1198 ohenryscoffee.com

Runners Up: Red Mountain Expresso, Seeds Coffee Co.


Cookie Fix 2854 18th St S 205-582-2623 cookiefix.com

Runners Up: Edgar’s Bakery, Pastry Art Bake Shoppe

BEST PIZZA Pizzeria G.M. 600 Oak Grove Rd 205-905-3266 pizzeriagm.com

Runners Up: Dave’s Pizza, De Vinci’s Pizza BEST DRINKS/COCKTAILS

SoHo Social 1830 29th Ave S #160 205-423-8080 sohohomewood.bar

Runners Up: Local No. 39, Oak Hill Bar & Grill

BEST LUNCH SPOT Edgar's Bakery

BEST MARGARITA Taco Mama–Edgewood 1014 Oxmoor Rd 205-414-0441 tacomamaonline.com

Runners Up: Little Donkey Mexican Restaurant, Maya Mexican Restaurant


you for voting

Homewood Central Park


Tim Hontzas, Johnny’s Restaurant

2902 18th St S 205-802-2711 johnnyshomewood.com

Runners Up: Taylor Hughes, SoHo Standard; Chris Zapalowski, Homewood Gourmet


Homewood Gourmet

2703 Mamie L Foster 18th Place 205-871-1620 homewoodgourmet.com

Runners Up: Taco Mama–Edgewood, Sorelle Cafe



We Love Homewood Day Bands, barbecues, festivities, neighbors and a street dance: always the first Saturday in May.

Runners Up: The Exceptional Foundation Chili Cook-Off, Homewood Christmas Parade



Full of sidewalks, neighbor hang outs and choices for dinner or ice cream.

Runners Up: West Homewood, Hollywood


The Exceptional Foundation

1616 Oxmoor Rd 205-870-0776 exceptionalfoundation.org

Runners Up: The Bell Center, Homewood Witches Ride


Homewood Central Park

1632 Oxmoor Rd 205-332-6716 homewoodparks.com/parks

Runners Up: Patriot Park, SoHo Social



Frank Morgan

A Piggly Wiggly employee who puts a smile on everyone’s face, thanks to his loveable personality and exceptional service.

Runners Up: Coach Sills, Issam Bajalia (Owner of Salon U)


Trinity United Methodist Church–Homewood Campus 1400 Oxmoor Rd



Runners Up: Dawson Memorial Baptist Church, Our Lady of Sorrows Church



Mayfair Medical Group 3401 Independence Dr 205-870-1273


Runners Up: Birmingham Direct Primary Care, MedHelp

BEST LOCAL CAUSE The Exceptional Foundation

HomewoodLife.com 69


Alabama Pediatrics 2815 Independence Dr 205-879-7888 alaped.com

Runners Up: Mayfair Medical Group; Michael A. Keller, DDS, PC


Brighter Image Dentistry 2908 Central Ave #150 205-591-6220 brighterimagedentistry.com

Runners Up: Michael A. Keller, DDS, PC; Angelica Rohner Pediatric Dentistry


Backus Smiles 3507 Old Montgomery Hwy 205-879-0557 backusbraces.com

Runners Up: Law Orthodontics, Oxmoor Valley Orthodontics


VisionFirst Eye Center 1 W Lakeshore Dr STE 220 205-949-2020 visionfirsteyecenter.com

Runners Up: JJ Eyes, Red Mountain Eye Care


Dr. Backus, Backus Smiles 3507 Old Montgomery Hwy 205-879-0557 backusbraces.com

Runners Up: Corey Hartman, Skin Wellness; Brian Keith Stansell, MD


Witt Chiropractic 1919 Courtney Dr 205-871-1888 wittchiro.com

Runners Up: Oxmoor Chiropractic, Back on Track Chiropractic–Dr.


Alexa Lee, Seiler Skin 2700 Rogers Dr STE 101 205-870-0204 seilerskinandcosmeticlaser.com

Runners Up: Madison Birmingham Lash; Tatiana Ghilan, Salon U


Homewood Pharmacy 940 Oxmoor Rd 205-871-9000 homewoodpharmacy.com

Runners Up: Wellness Pharmacy, CVS


1830 29th Ave S STE 120 205-802-3888 facebook.com/fringeahairstudio

Runners Up: Saxx Hair Design, Salon U


Single Barrel Barbershop 1830 29th Ave S #140 205-582-2999 singlebarrelbarbershop.com

Runner Up: Homewood Barbershop


Genesis Nail Spa at Homewood 350 19th St S STE 51 205-802-0639 instagram.com/ genesisnailspahomewood

Runners Up: Elude Nail Spa, SoHo Nails & Spa

70 Summer 2023

BEST SPA Escape Day Spa 100 Broadway St 205-414-6062 theplacetoescape.com

Runners Up: Salon U, Skin Wellness

BEST FITNESS CENTER Burn Boot Camp 1035 Broadway Pk 205-529-8444 burnbootcamp.com

Runners Up: Battle Republic, Pure Barre


Magen Davis, Burn Boot Camp 1035 Broadway Pk 205-529-8444 burnbootcamp.com

Runners Up: Steve Mares, Battle Republic; Paul Shunnarah, Gauntlet Fitness

BEST ANIMAL CARE/CLINIC Homewood Animal Hospital

501 Scott St 205-943-0008 homewoodanimal.com

Runners Up: Nall Daniels Animal Hospital, Oxmoor Animal Clinic



The Dance Foundation 1715 27th Ct S 205-870-0073 thedancefoundation.org

Runner Up: Backstage Dance Centre


Twenty Twelve Formal Wear 2719 19th Pl S STE 109 205-637-1819 facebook.com/ twentytwelveformalwear

Runners Up: Cheap Chick Trading Company, Santo’s Coffee

HomewoodLife.com 71
BEST GARDEN SHOP Sweet Peas Garden Shop


Alabama Goods 2933 18th St S 205-803-3900 alabamagoods.com

Runners Up: Christopher Collection, Homewood Toy & Hobby Shop


Shoefly 2823 18th St S 205-870-7131 instagram.com/shoeflyhomewood

Runners Up: Hemline Birmingham, Pebblehurst Golf and Putter Lab


Alabama Goods 2933 18th St S 205-803-3900 alabamagoods.com

Runners Up: Christopher Collection, The Cottage Basket


Alabama Goods 2933 18th St S 205-803-3900 alabamagoods.com


At Home Furnishings

Runners Up: Christopher Collection, Homewood Toy & Hobby Shop


Homewood Toy & Hobby Shop 2830 18th St S 205-879-3986 homewoodtoy-hobby.com

Runners Up: Little Professor Bookshop, Swaddle


At Home Furnishings 2921 18th St S 205-879-3510 shopathomefurnishings.com

Runners Up: Christopher Collection, Nadeau–Furniture with a Soul


Sweet Peas Garden Shop

2829 Linden Ave 205-879-3839 sweetpeasgardenshop.com

The Whole Dog Market 2937 18th St S 205-783-1169 thewholedogmarket.com

Runners Up: Pet Supplies Plus Homewood, Wags ‘N Whiskers Comprehensive Pet Care


Wild Things 2815B 18th St S 205-703-8821 wildthingsbhm.com

Runners Up: Sweet Peas Garden Shop, Blakelee’s Bouquets


Christopher Collection 2913 Linden Ave 205-719-3206 christophercollection.com

Runners Up: Homewood Public Library, Do It Yourself Crafts



72 Summer 2023

Lindsey Culver Photography 143 Citation Ct 205-527-6455

Instagram: @lindseyculverphotography

Runners Up: Brittany Sturdivant, Mullis Media


Our Lady of Sorrows Church 1728 Oxmoor Rd 205-871-8121 ourladyofsorrows.com

Runners Up: Trinity United Methodist Church, All Saints Episcopal Preschool


Wallace-Burke Fine Jewelry & Collectibles 1811 29th Ave S 205-874-1044 wallaceburke.com

Runners Up: Holland & Birch, At Home Furnishings


Brookdale University Park 400 University Park Dr 205-870-0786



Art House 2823 Central Ave STE 101 205-352-7742 soldbyarthouse.com

Runners Up: ARC Realty–Homewood, RealtySouth Homewood


Savannah Johnson 256-293-0675 savannahjohnson.soldbyarthouse. com

Runners Up: Ann-Yates Pate, ARC Realty–Homewood; Mandy Williams, Keller Williams Homewood


Bodewell Legal Group 1286 Oak Grove Rd STE 200 205-533-7878 bodewell-law.com

Runners Up: Steel City Law, LLC; Law Office of J. Todd Miner, LLC; Nickson Law LLC


Trinity United Methodist Church

HomewoodLife.com 73

BEST COFFEE O'Henry's Coffees


Nate VanDerVeer, Bodewell Legal Group

1286 Oak Grove Rd STE 200 205-533-7878 -law.com

Runners Up: Hugh Nickson, Nickson Law LLC; T Shane Smith, Steel City Law, LLC


Sentry Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical 2490 Rocky Ridge Rd 205-979-9684 sentryheating.com

Bob Grantham Plumbing; Standard Heating, Cooling & Plumbing

BEST HVAC Sentry Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical 2490 Rocky Ridge Rd 205-979-9684 sentryheating.com

Runners Up: Homewood Heating

and Air, Iron City Heating and Air


Watkins Cleaners of Homewood Inc. 1715 28th Ave 205-994-8999 watkinscleaners.com

Runner Up: Hunter’s Cleaners


Waynes Pest Control 2195 Parkway Lake Dr 205-985-7009 callwaynes.com

Runners Up: Cook’s Pest Control, Vulcan Termite & Pest Control Inc



Blackstone Construction 2601 Highland Ave 205-994-8999 blackstone.build

Runners Up: Willow Homes, Twin Construction, Inc.

74 Summer 2023


Whitney Tingle, Christopher Collection

2913 Linden Ave 205-719-3206


Runners Up: CBM Design, Joanna Goodman


Oakworth Capital Bank 850 Shades Creek Pkwy 205-263-4700 oakworth.com

Runners Up: Avadian Credit Union, Wells Fargo Bank


Zach Sims, Nowlin and Associates 2718 20th St S 205-871-9993 nowlinwm.com

Runners Up: Frank Ippolito, State Farm; Joe Greene, Merrill Lynch


HomewoodLife.com 75
Lindsey Culver Photography



South Walton’s 26 miles of sugar-white sand beaches in Northwest Florida offer an all-natural escape, yet perfectly blend modern amenities, worldclass cuisine and small town charm into an unforgettable experience.

The days move a bit slower here, and it’s this simplicity – a day spent creating memories at the beach – that draws generations of families back to South Walton.


From resorts to boutique hotels, South Walton is home to unique architecture, breathtaking views and accommodations to suit any style.

The Pearl Hotel brings luxury and sophistication to South Walton, featuring beautifully appointed accommodations, destination-worthy cuisine and a welcoming spa. Guests also enjoy complimentary beach chairs and oversized umbrellas.

With accommodations from beach to bay, spanning the 2,400-acre resort, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort® and Hotel Effie have something for every traveler. Discover championship golf, award-winning tennis, world-class dining, shopping and so much more!

Experience T he Lodge 30A – South Walton’s newest 30A boutique hotel at Seagrove’s Greenway Station. Rooms include kitchenettes and guests have access to an outdoor pool, fitness center, as well as a private beach club and golf courses.

76 Summer 2023
ThePearlRB.com • - TheLodge30A.com • - Sandestin.com • -


The experience of a great family trip resonates through generations, and the backdrop of our natural beauty inspires true togetherness. Find your perfect beach at VisitSouthWalton.com.

HomewoodLife.com 77

A Visit to the Volunteer State

Photos by Visit

Located just south of Nashville, Tennessee, the city of Franklin is a fantastic Volunteer State destination, all on its own. Pick a long weekend this summer and make the two and a half-hour drive north to this charming hamlet. Sure, you can always tack on an extra day (or music-filled night) in nearby Nashville, but there is no shortage of R & R right here.




Founded in 1799, the city of Franklin was named after none other than Benjamin Franklin, who was a dear friend of Dr. Hugh Williamson, a member of that era’s Continental Congress.

As the county seat of Williamson County, it thrived for decades before the Civil War which left searing scars. A century later, as Nashville—just 30 minutes north—boomed, Franklin remained a country outpost of sorts. Today, Nashville’s growth has become Franklin’s boon, as Music City residents craving more elbow room have put down roots here. History and progress meld together here, in an area dotted with historic Civil War battle sites that serve as a backdrop to a city that often gets labeled with such monikers as “friendliest ,” “most bucolic,” “fastest growing,” “wealthiest” and “one of the dreamiest” places in the South.


Franklin’s town center is just that—the place where businesses, residents and visitors gather on Main Street. This 16-block historic district is lined with Victorian-era restored buildings that convey the town’s commitment to embracing the past while looking to the growth of the future.

The Downtown Franklin Association (DFA) is a preservation organization dedicated to the caretaking of this community’s history and charm. The DFA exists where well-worn creaky retail floors meet the feet of locals and charmed visitors alike.

80 Summer 2023 HIT THE ROAD



This breathtaking pastoral retreat just outside downtown has been in development for the past eight years as the owners sought to develop and create a truly unique experience. Expansive yet intimate and only open since December 2022, guests stay in the main inn or in cabins or treehouses that dot the hillside. While on property, there is no shortage of activities such as hiking, fishing, spa treatments, sound-bathing, falconry, foraging, biking and so much more. Acclaimed chef Andrew Klamar and his culinary team work with the farm team to plan and grow crops that fill out the resort’s menus. Southall’s honey has won two Good Food Awards and more seem to be on the horizon. Epicurean Ramblings large family-style meals served on-site under strings of twinkling lights—will return to the property after taking a brief Covid-induced hiatus. Offered nightly, be sure to save room for s’mores under the stars.



Located in the heart of downtown Franklin, the Harpeth Hotel puts Main Street at your feet. With plenty of event and meeting space, large groups and folks celebrating special occasions often find themselves here.


The answer to that question all depends on what you are looking to do. Romantic getaways are ideal all year round, and autumn is certainly the perfect time to take in the fall foliage changes along the famed Natchez Trace Parkway and the city’s annual Pumpkin Fest . But summertime reigns supreme when it comes to just spending time outside, taking in all that Franklin has going on. There are Movies in the Park most Fridays in June and July that begin at sunset. Franklin on the Fourth is an all-out homage to the shared patriotic spirit, with a parade through downtown and a bang-up fireworks display at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm. Live music lovers clamor for the Bluegrass Along the Harpeth River festival in late July.

HomewoodLife.com 81


For the Outdoorsy Types—get out there.

Spend an afternoon along the blacktop ribbon that is the famous Natchez Trace Parkway, which is a 444-mile stretch of scenic byway that connects Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi. There are sweeping vistas and plenty of forests, fields, ridges and overlooks to stop at along the way. The best part though might be found at Milepost 438, which is a site of the double-arched Natchez Trace Bridge spanning Franklin’s Birdsong Hollow. Timberland Park can be found at Milepost 437.2 where visitors can do a woodland hike. The Big East Fork Reserve loop trail includes an idyllic pond and naturally-noisy meadow with enough birds and wildlife to make you feel like Snow White.

Grab an electric bike from Pedego in downtown Franklin to explore with a little breeze in your hair. Of course, if you fall in love with that bike, they’d be happy to sell you one to take home.

Paddledog Adventures offers kayak and canoe rentals on Westhaven Lake and river excursions on the nearby Harpeth and West Harpeth Rivers.

On 300+ private acres of pristine green space sits Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary, home to more than 2,000 species of flora and fauna. Pack a picnic and a sense of adventure and turn your cell phone off. And yes, there are owls here, too!

Or, if alpacas are more your spirit animal, make your way to Mistletoe Farm where owners Leanne and Tom Butchko raise a pack these camel-relatives, known for their prized fibers.

Looking to perfect your roll cast? Wade into the Harpeth River with Franklin Fly Fishing Company, and try your hand landing a rainbow trout or smallmouth bass.

Home to several important Civil War battle sites, Franklin is home to Carnton Plantation which served as a field hospital during the Battle of Franklin. Visitors may opt for a classic house tour, guided throughout the home or an extended tour which includes a tour of the home, an exploration of the history of slavery on the grounds, as well as the adjacent military cemetery.

The Lotz House, which is the epicenter of the famed Battle of Franklin, offers ghost tours, a walking battlefield tour, a women’s history tour and a tour the Lotz House Cellar. It is a fascinating and important journey back in time to see what life was like in this Confederate era.

Make it a trifecta and tour the Carter House and Rippa Villa, too. You’re bound to come away with an appreciation of this place and time that shaped the region.

Not sure where to begin? Engage the experts at Franklin On Foot Tours where you’ll learn the history of the area and get a complete primer on the architecture and stories that make Franklin worth visiting.

82 Summer 2023 HIT THE ROAD
For the History Buffs—follow the split rail fenceline.

For the Retail Enthusiasts

Specializing in old and rare books, as well as some current titles, Landmark Booksellers has a tome for even the most niche of readers (or those who fancy themselves as such)!

White’s Mercantile, owned and operated by Holly Williams (Hank Jr.’s daughter), really does harken back to the traditional mercantile days, with a little bit of everything: FILSON luggage and flannels, pretty coffee table books, housewares, art and wearables.

Rebel Rebel Boutique is edgy, hip and fun. At the roundabout, stop into Onyx + Alabaster, an interior design studio, home market, and coffee-emporium. Stock up on their signature home scent to take that vibe home with you.

A creatively repurposed industrial site, The Factory at Franklin is undergoing a renovation and update that aims to be completed by this summer. This retail and entertainment complex has been a big draw since it originally opened; additional food, beverage, retail and a 330-seat live-performance theater will augment this destination.

For the Performance-Loving Patrons

Puckett’s in Leiper’s Fork Open Mic Night—Given the proximity to Music City and the fact that there are dozens of local denizens famous for their musical prowess, you never know who will take to the stage at Puckett’s. Singers and songwriters alike love this venue, and we bet you will too.

Most would argue that September’s Pilgrimage Festival is the highlight of the musicfest season. The Lumineers, Zach Bryan and Margo Price are among those scheduled to appear this fall. Prior years have seen such acts as Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, The Avett Brothers, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, The Black Keys and Birmingham’s own St. Paul and The Broken Bones.


Chef Jason McConnell’s Tennessee culinary roots run deep as is evidenced on the menus of Red Pony (upscale Southern fare); Cork and Cow (high-end steakhouse and stellar wine list), and 55 South (named for the highway that runs from Memphis to New Orleans. The menu reflects this region).

McCreary’s Irish Pub is popular for a pint and some bangers and mash. Head to Culaccino for Italian fare and O’ Be Joyful for stellar burgers.

Gray’s On Main is a Main Street institution with something for everyone: live music, craft cocktails, small

plates and big, grilled meats.

Dessert can be found in the form of ice cream at Sweethaven or oldschool Kilwin’s. Coming late summer, Birmingham’s own Cookie Fix will open in Franklin’s Berry Farms

For a truly special dining experience (whether you are staying on property or not), plan an evening at Southall when the resort’s signature restaurant opens to the public. Guests will enter through a speakeasy-style door and be met with an amusebouche and a sip of something bubbly to set the tone for the evening. Pure magic.

HomewoodLife.com 83
Franklin Theatre—The Heritage foundation of Williamson County oversaw the detailed renovation and restoration of this local gem in downtown Franklin where live music and movies are the big draw.

Homewood Chamber of Commerce


Recent Events

Upcoming events

May 6 We Love Homewood Day

May 16

May Membership Luncheon

June 20

June Membership Luncheon

July 29

Downtown Homewood Sidewalk Sale

Gift Cards

Did you know you can purchase gift cards that can be redeemed at 44 participating Homewood merchants? Buy Local Homewood instantly available gift cards can be emailed as gifts and redeemed from your mobile phone. They look great, make great gifts and never expire! Purchase them at buylocalhomewood.instagift.com.

Jan. 10 - Ribbon Cutting for the Deborah J. Fout Computer Lab at the Homewood Public Library

Jan. 17 - January State of the City Luncheon ft. Mayor Patrick McClusky

Feb. 2 - Social Taco Ribbon Cutting

Feb. 21 - February Membership Luncheon ft. Will Lochamy

Feb. 21 - 1918 Catering Ribbon Cutting


84 Summer 2023
HomewoodLife.com 85 Find Us Online Sign up for our weekly newsletter | Access our member directory Purchase Buy Local Homewood eGift Cards 205 - 871 - 5631 WWW.HOMEWOODCHAMBER.ORG Recent Events Feb. 23 - Ribbon Cutting for Ace Hardware March 7 - Ribbon Cutting for Brookwood Women's Diagnostic Center New Members Sumetri and Company Hair Salon Joy Beth Smith, Equitable Advisors Sentry Heating, A/C, Plumbing, Generators and Electrical Central Avenue Dentistry Mayfair Advisory Group Homewood Hardware Steel City Stump Grinders FastSigns/AccuPrint The Battery PK Fitness Telecom Transport Services Inc Vista Engineering Join the Chamber! Chamber membership could be just what your business needs for a boost this year! Work, live or do business in Homewood? Apply for membership at homewoodchamber.org and start taking advantage of the many benefits that come with membership! March 16 - Taste of Homewood 2023
March 21 - March Membership Luncheon ft.
Carlos Alemán


The Exceptional Foundation held its 19th annual chili cook off in Brookwood Village on Saturday, March 4. One Hundred and thirty seven chili teams and

86 Summer 2023 5 6 3 7 1 2 OUT & ABOUT
1. Johanna Stapleton, Ashton Johnston and Andrew Spears 2. CGI Technologies and Solutions 3. Mary and Walker Thomas 4. Allison, Cara and Callie Dolan 5. Lauren Whatley, Kayla Moreland, Ryan Smith, Conor Shattuck and Joe Powell 6. Hattie and Caroline Fleming 7. Austin Virciglio and Michael Perez 8. Robins and Morton 9. Marathon Electrical Contractors 10. Samford University's Sigma Chi Fraternity 11. The Hamilton family 12. Pangeatwo PHOTOS BY JAMES AND RACHEL CULVER
4 8
more than 11,500 people attended to help raise more than $450,000 for the nonprofit’s programs.
HomewoodLife.com 87 9 10 11 12 OUT & ABOUT


88 Summer 2023 6 7 4 8 3 OUT & ABOUT
1. Brad Howell and Aimee Brookes 2. Lori and Ryan Jackson 3. Amber Broadhead and Karen Delaine 4. Jocelyn and Kathy Quintanilla 5. Lisa and Wyatt Pugh 6. Victoria Jordan Smith and Breanna Jordan 7. Little Donkey 8. Hannah and Reese Oppenheimer 9. David and Gabby McGuffey 10. Piggly Wiggly 11. Frank Morgan and Tina Green 12. Hedy Fitts, Frank Morgan and Tina Green 13. Bonnie Johnson with Tracy, Natalie and Katelyn Martin 14. Andrew and Sarah Grace 15. Lora Haghighi, Katie Seale and Mallory Seale PHOTOS BY JAMES AND RACHEL CULVER
2 1 5 9
On Thursday, March 16 the Homewood Chamber of Commerce held its annual Taste of Homewood event, which featured more than 20 local food vendors and hundreds in attendance.
HomewoodLife.com 89 10 15 OUT & ABOUT 11 12 14 13


90 Summer 2023 5 6 3 7 1 2 OUT & ABOUT
1. Cierra Dunbarr, Toni Webster, Laura Tucker, Jim Cooley and Peter Lankford 2. Adriana Rosas, Aizlin Romero, Johanna Alvarez, Gloria Glassco, Diana Baez, Melissa Rodriguez, Laura Jarquin and Alexis Villegas 3. Tena Lovell 4. Elly Arnold and Aliyah Hill 5. Vivian Terry, Dyllan Duckworth and Woody Woodford 6. Johnathan Carter 7. Eric Crowe and Chris Thomas 8. Monica Stewart, Addie Sims, Anna Nichols, Aaren Carter, Stacey Karney and Earl Holley 9. Derek Randolph 10. Morgan Wood, Jenny Powers, Madison Gaines, Brian Fisher, Tommy Cannon, Shay Gartman and Andy Bell 11. Andy Bell, Tommy Cannon and Shay Gartman 12. Meredith Drennen, Carlos Alemán and Hugh Nickson 13. ¡HICA! PHOTOS BY ANNA GRACE MOORE
8 4
The Homewood Chamber of Commerce hosted Dr. Carlos Alemán, who is the CEO of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, as the keynote speaker for the chamber’s monthly luncheon on Tuesday, March 21.
HomewoodLife.com 91 9 12 13 OUT & ABOUT 10 11


92 Summer 2023 4 5 3 6 1 2 OUT & ABOUT
1. Bob and Tracy Ireland with Harper, Livie, John Hoyt and Rose Clark 2. Scott, Emily, Ellie, Jake and Sarah Johnson 3. Avery Rhodes 4. Angelia Ham and Christine Saladino 5. Alex Case and Callie Hall 6. Silas Miller with Chloe and Mia Henry 7. Barclay and Debbie Marsh with grandkids John and Sarah 8. Anna Sharp and Rachel Strickland 9. Diane Tucker and Beverly Seeley 10. Kathy Daily with Emerson and Harper Boyken 11. Watson and Dave Williams 12. Jasmin, Jaeden, Kim and Nelson Alvarez PHOTOS BY JAMES AND RACHEL CULVER The Homewood Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, April 1 held its annual spring shopping extravaganza in downtown Homewood.
7 10 12 OUT & ABOUT
9 11 8
Shop Little Buckhead Blue, Buff City Soap, Onward Reserve and much more!


94 Summer 2023 10 6 7 1 3 OUT & ABOUT
1. The Wellen family 2. The Callison and Harris families 3. The Wen and Zhou families 4. The George and Wells families 5. The Wallington, Orcutt and Walker families 6. Hayden, Vivi and Raughley Barnett 7. Allie, Charlotte and David Clanton with Lauren and Lilly Kate Gibson 8. Zoe Swack 9. Liz, Turner and Zoe Swack 10. Molly McCoy EGG HUNT PHOTOS BY JAMES AND RACHEL CULVER
2 5 4 9 8
On Saturday, April 1 the City of Homewood hosted the annual Easter Egg hunt on the front lawn of the Homewood Senior Center.

AmStar Alabaster

Now with GPX and luxury recliner seating!

820 Colonial Promenade Pkwy Alabaster, AL 35007 205-621-8884

SJ Outdoor Construction

•Bobcat Work •Hauling

•Dump Trailer Rental (will drop off and pick up)

•Debris, limbs, tree removal

•Gravel •Millings •Demolition TEXT OR CALL BRIAN! 205260-4122

Central Alabma Wellness Mental Health Services Office locations in Calera, Clanton, Pelham, and 280! 205-6510077 Visit our website to learn more centralalbamawellness. org

Earth Angels In-Homecare

LLC Are you in need of a caring, trustworthy caregiver? Everyone gets a full screening to keep you safe. We offer around the clock care. If you are interested or have questions, feel free to call us at: 205-605-9482 1365 A. Hueytown Rd. Hueytown, AL

Automation Personnel Services Hiring

IMMEDIATELY For: Automotive Assembly, General Labor, Production, Clerical, Machine Operator, Quality, Carpentry, Welder, Foundry. Positions In: Calera, Clanton, Pelham, Bessemer, McCalla. Walk-in applications accepted. Clanton (205)280-0002. Pelham (205)444-9774.

Bama Concrete Now Hiring: Diesel Mechanic 4 Years Minimum Experience. CDL Preferred. Competitive Pay. Great Benefits. Apply in person: 2180 Hwy 87 Alabaster, 35007

Marble Valley Manor. Affordable 1 and 2 Bedroom Apartments for Elderly & Disabled. Many on-site services! 2115 Motes Rd, Sylacauga. 256-245-6500

•TDD#s: 800-548-2547(V)

•800-548-2546(T/A). Office

Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm. Equal Opportunity Provider/ Employer

Quantum Logistics Hiring Class A Driver. Montgomery, AL. Full or part time. $.48$.55 per mile. Paid weekly. BCBS Insurance. Home weekend EZ Pass and prepass. Safety & Fuel Bonus. Apply online www.qtmlog.com Call (334)2888106.

Security Guard for Gated Community in North Shelby County Full-time or Part-time. Must have pistol permit. Call Brittany 205-991-4653

Nursing Assistant to help care for an elderly gentleman in Jemison requiring total assistance. PT-FT. To apply, call Ms. Peoples (205)688-1992 or (205)447-3005






Dogwood Plumbing LLC

– Master Plumber, Master Gasfitter. Licensed & Insured. Senior Discounts. Plumbing • Drain • Gas 205-864-2369 dogwoodplumbingllc@gmail. com

Kelly Education • Shelby County Schools • Hiring Substitute Teachers. Limitless opportunities for passionate people! •Free pre-hire training •Paid orientation •Ongoing professional development •Steady, yet flexible, work •Weekly pay •Your preference of schools. Contact Anne Gamble: O: 205.682.7062 M: 205.532.1122 anne.gamble@ kellyservices.com


Production Supervisor

$50,000.00-$70,000.00/ year 10hr shifts Mon-Thurs Oversees production operations. Sets objectives, organizes workflow, prepares schedules, assigns responsibilities, trains employees, ensures safety, schedules maintenance, submits performance reports. Skills:-Automotive Plant

Experience -Experience as Production Supervisor or similar role -Experience with manufacturing machinery and tools -Advanced skills in MS Office -High School Diploma; Degree in a technical, engineering or relevant field will be an advantage Benefits: PTO, 401k w/match, Health/ Dental/Vision insurance, employee assistance, referral program, tuition reimbursement 725 Keystone Drive Clanton, Al 35044


2nd Shift Supervisor

$50,000.00-$70,000.00 2nd shift 2:30p.m.1:00a.m. Monday–Thursday

Responsibilities: •Be an effective Supervisor in a participative work environment

•Ensure all Finishing Dept. goals and improvement objectives are accomplished per our commitments •Ability to optimize utilization of personnel, equipment, material, and space to meet OMF’s daily, monthly and annual targets. Will be evaluated regularly on ability to continuously improve in all areas of responsibility. 725 Keystone Drive Clanton, Al 35044


Maintenance Technicians: Friday–Sunday 12 hour shifts 6:00a.m.-6:00p.m. Responsible for maintenance of O-Flex facilities & equipment across all lines & departments. Oversight of preventative maintenance programs. Coordinates continuous improvement activities with Maintenance Team Leader. Starting pay $19-$28 BOE 725 Keystone Drive Clanton, Al 35044

Become a Dental Assistant in ONLY 8 WEEKS! Please visit our website capstonedentalassisting.com or call (205)561-8118 and get your career started!


Ubique Technologies is hiring forklift operators and production workers. Starting pay $12.50hr up to $15hr. Apply via Indeed or in person at 1919 7th St S Clanton, AL 35045

Check out purplewave.com to view auctions across the country!

GENERAL MANAGER SONIC–CHELSEA Postions will be available in Alabama and Mississippi.

REQUIREMENTS: Responsible for operations, training and development of all employees; execution of policies, programs and systems, including Sonic Operations Manual. Creates and maintains an “Employer of Choice” environment.


-High School diploma/ GED -Two years restaurant management experience (P&L experience preferred)

-Advanced studies in business, restaurant management, or related field preferred.

-Proven experience managing all shifts without supervision.

-Willingness to relocate.

BENEFITS: -Competitive Pay

-Bonus Plan -Health Insurance

-Dental/Vision Insurace

-Optional Life Insurance, IRA -Paid Vacation -Excellent training program

Are you “Sonic Good”? Mail Resume: J.W. Cain 6 County Road 455 Iuka, MS 38852 Call 662-424-0706 Email: john@ mfmanagementllp.com”

Hill Brook Manor Apartments

300 Sumner Dr. Calera, AL 35040 205-668-2020

Affordable Living 1 and 2 BR Apartments Available As low as $465 a month

Hiring Experienced Driver

Must have Class A CDL, Hazmat, tanker exp. Local deliveries, so you will be home every night. We have new equipment, FT/PT positions available with excellent hourly pay. Offering health/dental insurance, paid vacations. Send resumes to: mark@ allenoil.com Call 256-404-4143 or come by the Allen’s office at: 1251 Old Bham Hwy in Sylacauga.

Experienced Termite

Technician or someone experienced in route-service work and wants to learn new profession. Work-vehicle/ equipment provided. Must drive straight-shift, have clean driving record/be 21/pass background/drug test. Training provided. Insurance/401K offered. M-F 7:00-4:30 + 1 Saturday/month. Pay $13hr. Send resume to facsmith@ charter.net

BAMA CONCRETE FINISHING •Concrete Replacement and Repair •Bobcat Work and Hauling •Driveways/Patios/Sidewalks/ Building Slabs•Concrete Retainer Walls and Sea walls •Wooden Privacy Fences 31 years experience (205) 9014112(pls leave voicemail or text me)

96 Summer 2023
Life • 205.669.3131 HomewoodLife.com MARKETPLACE
Marketplace Homewood
HomewoodLife.com 97

Enjoying Nature

Lakeshore Trail

I love riding my bike on the Lakeshore Trail. During Covid, I started riding my bike a lot around town, but the trail is my favorite.



Homewood High School Band Director

Sentimental Spots

Homewood High School Band Field

My favorite place in Homewood is above the high school at the band practice field. It is such a nice, secluded place way up on the mountain. You can see all over Samford University. When you see the Homewood band on Friday nights, just know that we have put in a lot of work on that practice field in the summer. My favorite time of year is when we are up there working on our show.

A Career in Homewood City Schools

Homewood High School’s Band Program

The best part of being a band director is getting to know the kids for so long. These seniors I have been teaching for seven years! The students in the Homewood band are such amazing kids, and it is such an honor for me to stand in front of them! I have the best job in Homewood!

Community Events

We Love Homewood Day

We Love Homewood Day is my favorite event the city puts on. The band is in charge of the 5K run, the rides during the day at the park and the band plays a pep rally in the middle of the day. They also play the We love Homewood Day parade!

Eat Local Red Pearl

I love Red Pearl! The band staff goes on game days in the fall, and I order something not on the menu. I also ask for it to come in a bowl. The band staff like to make fun of me for ordering it that way.

98 Summer 2023
• AC • HEATING • PLUMBING • GENERATORS • 24/7 SERVICE • MAINTENANCE PLANS • EASY PAYMENT PLANS CallStandard.com 205•624•5046 $ 50 $ 50 ANY INDOOR AIR QUALITY ACCESORY ANY A/C OR PLUMBING REPAIR Valid with repair only during normal business hours. Coupon must be presented at time of service. Cannot be combined with other offers or discounts. Some restrictions apply. Expires 08/01/23 - SCM2301 Purchase and installation of new air quality accessory required. Cannot be combined with other offers or discounts. Some restrictions apply. Expires 08/01/23 - SCM2301 FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED SINCE 1939 AL LIC#83594 Off Off TRUST THE STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE WHATEVER IT TAKES.

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