About Town Labels Pepper Place as a Design Destination

Pepper Place Featured in About Town as a Design Destination in Birmingham

In the August 2014 issue of About Town, Pepper Place is featured for being “Birmingham’s premiere design district.” The article describes the district as being one that “delivers a one-of-a-kind, one-stop-shop experience” offering every aspect of design and goes on to highlight everything Pepper Place has to offer such as the Market at Pepper Place, nightlife and dining. Continue reading below for the full article and insight from some of Pepper Place’s oldest tenants, Susan Kidd of King’s House Antiques and Charlie Thigpen of Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery

Design Destination
August 2014 | By:  Leslyn Brantley

Known around the region for its design stores and colorful farmer’s market, Pepper Place delivers a one-of-a-kind, one-stop shop experience. As Birmingham’s premiere design district, Pepper Place offers people every aspect of design, from architecture, gardening, and office to marketing, graphic and fashion design. Pepper Place houses Birmingham Fashion Week and the Saturday farmer’s market, showcasing the multitude of Birmingham talents.

Saturday at the Market
With local tomatoes in high-season, August is a great time to go! Vendors come from all over Alabama to feature their work, pottery, farm-grown veggies and fruits, vibrant flower arrangements and homemade coffee and tea brews. What first began as strictly home-farmed vegetables and fruits soon turned into a market for homemade goods of all shapes and sizes. One of the most successful vendors has been Piper & Leaf tea company, which sells unique homebrewed teas, such as the classic Front Porch, made with Earl Gray, spearmint and other ingredients, and specialty teas that differ each Saturday, such as Birthday Cake tea. A paramount selling point for the company is the refillable mason jars with the logo painted on the glass. You get to take the jar home with you and do as you please until the next week, when you bring it back for a $4 fill-up.

“People come from all over the country to come see this market," says Susan Kidd of King’s House Antiques. Not only do Birmingham natives contribute to the success of the market over the past years, but tourists also play a vital role in the Pepper Place’s flourishing accomplishments. A family from Huntsville can come to this hub, searching for textiles, plumbing and lighting, while a couple driving in from Texas can find an intricately designed rug from King’s House Rugs. With all of Kidd’s background, experience and knowledge of furniture and design, she values each piece she discovers and sells. “My mother-in-law always told me, ‘If you wouldn’t want this in your home, don’t buy it for someone else”. She takes that advice and 30 years of learning and shares it with everyone who walks into her fantastic store. Each piece is special and deserves a special place in someone’s heart and home.

Charlie Thigpen is all about supporting the community in more ways than one-that’s why he wanted his store to be a Garden Gallery, not just a garden store. “I wanted to sell oneof-
a-kind pieces from local artists,” says Thigpen, “That’s what sets us apart from a typical garden store.” A story connects each piece of artwork, hand-crafted wood bench, pressed and framed plant hangings or leather purse with the artist and the customer. “We want people to think differently and do things differently like no one else has ever done before,” says Thigpen. Like his fellow PP business owners, Thigpen doesn’t want to just sell a product, he wants to tell a story and make his customers feel special.

Design a Fresh Nightlife

Not only does Pepper Place offer design, but it also caters to those looking for good food and drink. All the restaurants are local, so you know the ingredients come from the fresh farms and trustworthy sites of Birmingham. Red Cat, a unique and eclectic coffee shop and music venue, makes delicious lattes, such as The Persian, a scrumptious sweet mix of almond and white chocolate, and hosts Birmingham native bands that play under the strings of café lights. Or head over to the Martin Biscuit building and start the night off outside with a margarita and guacamole at CantinaBettolla has great authentic Neapolitan pizza and luscious wines, and sister restaurant Vittoria is unique for their fresh grass-fed meats. Coming soon is Chris Hastings’s (chef of Hot & Hot Fish Club) new wood-fire restaurant OvenBird, across from Charlie Thigpen’s Garden Gallery. The fresh farm-to-table products offered at these restaurants can also be found similarly at the Pepper Place Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.

More is Better “We have a lot down here, but I want more-the more shops, the bigger the crowd,” says Kid, “I want to see more energy.” Because each store, restaurant and gallery owner in the district truly believes that the area encompasses every need and want for people, they each support the other businesses in the efforts to showcase the area as a whole. “This area has potential to do design and a whole lot more,” says the owner of Red Cat Coffee.