Business Spotlight


Left to right: Nikki Quick Schoel, Philip Powell, Marin Zanotti, Owner Lynn Ritchie

2707 Culver Road


By Lauren Nix

A’Mano, one of Mountain Brook Village’s most unique gift shops, will be expanding at the first of the year into the space where the ABC store is currently located.

The store, known for its distinctive and hand-made items, will add more accessories with the expansion, as well as offer some new lines.  They also plan to expand on lines already in the store that are popular among customers.

“It’s really going to be a great addition to what everyone already loves about A’Mano,” Owner Lynn Ritchie said. “We can spread out a little bit, and we’re really excited about getting in there.”

A’Mano, meaning “by hand” in Italian, first opened in Crestline 13 years ago and moved to its current location at 2707 Culver Road a year after being in business.

It is known for having one-of-a-kind items, and Ritchie says she tries to find things that are not carried in other stores locally.

Some of these items include blown glass, functional pottery, jewelry, plaques, doormats, handbags and holiday items.  Ritchie says they are known for their crosses, one-of-a-kind greeting cards and nativities.

“We always try to find new and different nativities,” she said.

A’Mano is the only store in Birmingham to sell R. Wood dinnerware, which is one of very few studio potteries in America that hand-makes each piece.

Another wonderful feature of the store is the complimentary gift-wrap they offer on all items.

Food items are sold at the store, as well, including cookbooks by local chefs.

“It’s always been one of our focuses to support artists in Alabama, as well as nationally,” Ritchie said.

A’Mano is known for having unique nativities that add character to traditional holiday décor, and something they have become known to carry, Ritchie says.

Their greeting cards are also very unique and popular among customers.

“We’re known for our cards,” Ritchie said.  “They’re all different and unusual.”

From jewelry to dinnerware, A’Mano offers a wide selection of hand-crafted items that are great for any person at any price range.

“Really a gift for any occasion you can find here,” Ritchie said.

For more information visit or give them a call at 871-9093.

RealtySouth Cahaba Road office tops in state

By Erica Breen

RealtySouth’s Cahaba Road office in Mountain Brook has been declared  the #1 office in sales volume for the state of Alabama. As Broker Manager John McGill says, “It is all due to the success of the 100 agents in the office.”

“In the office there is a sense of team work, so everyone tries to succeed individually and also helps others because they want what is best for the team,” says McGill. “Real estate has a reputation as a lone wolf, but in our office we are supportive of teamwork and each other.”

RealtySouth in Mountain Brook is a very diversified real estate agency because it not only sells homes in Mountain Brook but agents also have expertise outside of this market. At RealtySouth you are able to look at properties of interest, apply for a mortgage online, title insurance and anything else you might need. RealtySouth allows you do your home buying and everything that entails all in one place.

There are numerous tools that the agents have access to that help them when selling houses that has led to the office being the #1 in sales volume. Some websites that are used by agents are, Craigslist,, Linked in, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Yahoo, Trulia, Google, and FrontDoor. In addition each agent completes fifteen hours of continuing education courses every two years.  Many agents go beyond that requirement and earn additional designations.

The agents at this brokerage are extremely knowledgeable about the houses for sale because of these websites. It is also through their experience and knowledge in real estate that they are great at customizing client service. Sales agents at this office know Mountain Brook’s real estate market inside and out. They are familiar with all the neighborhoods and can match them to their client’s needs and pocketbooks. They want to turn a “stressful buying experience” into something enjoyable, and an easy experience.

“My favorite thing about my job is the people I get to work with, both clients and agents. Human interaction is what draws people to this business. We have happy people who are here and are willing to go above and beyond to make clients happy. It’s satisfying to see a happy person who wants a home and we are able to find them a home,” says McGill.

So congratulations to RealtySouth in Mountain Brook! It is a tremendous achievement and a great honor to be called #1!

Constance Longworth Collection

2408 Canterbury Rd.


By Lauren Nix

Constance Longworth has returned to Mountain Brook and she is thrilled to be back.

The onetime Mountain Brook resident moved from her Cherokee Road home to a horse farm on Highway 119 years ago to offer her daughters more opportunity to ride their horses.

“I was driving back and forth to the stables and decided it just made sense to live on a horse farm,” Longworth said.

Longworth was in the cable television business with her husband, Daryl Harms, and then in the very early 80’s, started traveling internationally doing advance work and design for a royal family, and that graduated into designing for diplomats’  homes and embassies.  A 20,000 square foot penthouse overlooking the Nile in Egypt was the last project abroad. It was completed in 2009. There is another one to follow in 2011.

“I decided to put the suitcase away and not travel so frequently,” Longworth said.  “A bit of retirement, I thought?  I found I needed and wanted to stay busy so have now opened my third location.  I am very happy to have the opportunity to have a storefront in Mountain Brook Village. It is a delight, indeed.  I am excited every day to open the door of my wonderful store.”

Constance lives at Brookfield Farm, which was the 2004 Alabama Symphony Decorators’  ShowHouse. She has been involved in civic organizations in Birmingham for years, having hosted many political fundraisers at her farm.

She is well known to many Mountain Brook residents, but until this fall has had a store in the Greystone area.

The store has a full line of home furnishings including furniture, chandeliers, rugs, lighting and wonderful bedding and window treatments.

Longworth’s background is in architecture and design and has traveled the world extensively through her work.  “I have designed buildings from the ground floor to finished interiors, both commercially and privately,” she said.

Some of the brands offered at Longworth Collection include Drexel-Heritage, Lexington, John Richard, Harden, Pulaski and Bradburn Gallery, to name a few.

“I love what I do, love the excitement of clients when they get just what they want for their homes,” Longworth said.  “And I also love the joy of getting to know all the people on the level of helping with something as personal as their homes.  I always strive to make sure that everyone is completely beyond a doubt happy with their purchases from my store.”

In addition to the fine furnishings, one is also guaranteed to see one of Longworth’s three Standard Poodles (Rudy, Bo, and Teddy)  who take turns coming to the store with her each day.

“The business that I love changes year to year, but one thing is always for certain, if the client stays headed towards the traditional, they will always have their monies worth for years and years to come,” Longworth said.

Visit Constance Longworth Collection at 2408 Canterbury Road in Mountain Brook Village or call the store at 803-4040.

Individuality Gallery

2913 Cahaba Road


Rose deCav with Mayor Oden at the ribbon cutting for Individuality Gallery.

By Lauren Nix

Individuality, Mountain Brook Village’s newest art gallery, opened in September and features one-of-a-kind pieces by artist Rose de Cav and her sister Irene Burns.

The showroom is comprised of approximately 25 paintings, with the majority being acrylic pieces by de Cav.  Oil pieces by Burns are incorporated into the mix as well.

“They’re all one-of-a-kind, there are no duplications,” de Cav said.

de Cav’s art work can best be described as colorful, abstract, modern works of art with unique textural aspects.  She describes herself as an impressionist painter and tries to give all of her paintings movement.

“When painting, my objective is to develop images that are both interesting and decorative,” says de Cav on her web page.  “I carefully select color and consider how the painting will look in various lighting.”

Burns lives in Tuscaloosa, and her oil paintings include landscapes and a beautiful painting of a frog in the rainforest.

de Cav, originally from New York, and Burns lived in Costa Rica for 6 months and were inspired to create colorful and bright paintings.  One of the paintings that Burns created caught the eye of the President of Costa Rica and is now hanging in her office.

“[Irene] is extremely talented,” de Cav said.

The artist says all of the paintings are priced reasonably, and she took the hard economic times into consideration when deciding what to charge.

Designers who come in and purchase paintings for their clients receive 10 percent off.

Along with paintings, de Cav also creates jewelry which she sells in the gallery.  The necklaces and earrings she creates are made with gold-filled wire and decorative beads.

“I put beads around the neck so they are comfortable, and they are made with gold-filled wire so they won’t tarnish,” she said.

Previously an IBM representative, de Cav says her marketing background drives her to stay up to date on current design trends and decorative preferences.

“Since I did marketing and sales, I look at what is going on in the decorating world and the industry to see what I should be doing,” she said.

Most of the paintings currently displayed in the gallery are bright and colorful pieces, but de Cav says she is beginning to create light and soft pieces.

To see the artwork available at Individuality visit or visit the gallery located at  2913 Cahaba Road near Village Dermatology  in Mountain Brook Village.

Little Hardware

Frank Davies III

2703 Culver Rd


By Erica Breen

Little Hardware has expanded. It has moved next door into the space formerly occupied by Jonathon Benton Bookseller.

“We thought this was a great opportunity when the lot next door became vacant,” co-owner Frank Davies III said. “We are very crowded right now, and we saw this as a chance to better our display and organization of the hardware and products we offer.”

And indeed they are very crowded.

Little Hardware currently has hardware, house-ware, gifts, grills, outdoor products and even a battery section crammed into one small space.

Along with expanding the store with the products they already have, the hardware store will also be adding a new paint store and expanding their pet line.

The paint store will carry house paint and all the painting supplies that are needed to paint a room.

“There were no painting companies in Mountain Brook and it’s a common thing to see in hardware stores, so we decided to start it,” Davies III said.

The paint store will carry Pratt & Lambert paint, which is a high quality brand of paint, and Mythic Paint, which is a specialty line that has zero toxins and no odors.

They are also expanding their pet lines to carry all natural cat and dog foods.

According to Davies, they expect to be in their new space for about two years.  That is when their new store in the Lane Parke development should be ready.

“This was an opportunity for us to get a feel for how much space might work well for us, “ Davies said, referring to their current expansion and the proposed new space in Lane Parke.

Little Hardware first began in 1946 in Ensley.

The owner, Mr. Little, moved the store to the Mountain Brook location in 1959. In 1963, the present owner, Frank Davies, Jr., bought the store from Mr. Little.

It is now a family owned business with Frank Davies, Jr. and his son, Frank Davies III, being the full time owners.

“I’m very excited and hopefully it will be well received by our customers,” Davies III said. “We are very appreciative of customer loyalty through the years and hope to continue it with the expanding of our store.”

Snoozy’s Kid’s

George Jones

228 Country Club Park

Birmingham, AL 35213


Monday-Friday 9am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 1pm-5pm

A toy store for all ages

Snoozy’s Kids is definitely not all toys and your typical kid store. When you walk in the brightly colored store your hear elegant French music playing and are greeted by jewelry and purses. As owner George Jones says, “I want moms to be able to shop for themselves while their kids look at the newest toys.” But don’t worry Mountain Brook, there are plenty of toys for the kids to choose from.

This August, Snoozy’s Kids will have been opened for twenty-two years. Having grown up in Crestline Village, owner George Jones thought this would be the perfect location for a bookstore. Starting out as a bookstore, Snoozy’s has since grown into a deluxe toy store. Jones says he named the bookstore after his father, whose name is Snoozy. Jones says that Snoozy’s has kept the bookstore tradition with its other stores- Snoozy’s Bookstore at UAB and Snoozy’s Bookstore for Jeff State.

You can find almost anything imaginable at Snoozy’s. They sells purses, jewelry, scooters, girl’s dresses, dolls, books, cars, earring holders, etc. Snoozy’s also has a camp section with water bottles and everything you would need for camping, and a pool/outdoor section with all sorts of fun things to help kids enjoy all of summer’s outdoor activities. Snoozy’s has all the newest toy creations such as the XBike, Phiten necklace and bracelet, and Tonaka collector erasers. Jones travels to New York and Atlanta to find exclusive toys and the newest jewelry and accessories. “It’s important for me to have a wide product mix and new stuff for my customers,” said Jones.

“He’s a genius. Mom’s come in for kids birthday presents and leave with that and hip affordable purses and jewelry for themselves,” said one loyal customer. That is one thing Jones will always offer, things for everyone. He wants moms to be able to come in and feel comfortable letting their kids running around. As Jones says, he really wants the store to cater to all customers and their needs.  A customer can come into the store and pick out a gift, and Snoozy’s will then ship that gift to whomever the gift is for. A customer can also call the store inquiring about a gift and Snoozy’s will have a pile of toys ready for them to choose from when they enter the store. And if you’re in a hurry don’t worry, Snoozy’s can have your gift wrapped up, and before you can even say, “That is perfect!” you’ll be out the door.

No matter what your price range or age is, you will be blown away by Snoozy’s Kids. A toy store like no other Snoozy’s Kids is the place for you!


Nicole Clemons Noles and her dog Sommer

2732 Cahaba Road



Birmingham’s source

for the latest, trendy styles

Classy, elegant and great customer service. These are three things you will instantly think as you walk into the Swank Boutique. With clothing from Elizabeth & James and jewelry from House of Harlow it is a store you were not expecting to see in Birmingham. You will instantly feel at ease as your walk into the girlish, yet modern store complete with candy on a glass table and an adorable dog named Sommer.

accessories available at swank

Owned by Emily Dees Boulden and managed by Nicole Clemons Noles, Swank has been in Birmingham for four years. As Nicole Clemons Noles says,“Mountain Brook is great, everyone knows about this place and it’s great to be able to walk everywhere and have such nice neighbors.” The owner Emily Dees Boulden has now moved to Atlanta and opened another Swank this past February, but still visits Birmingham from time to time.

Swank is a luxury boutique that carries numerous lines of clothing such as Mara Hoffman, Vivienne Tam, William Rast, shoes by Barbara Bui, and many other well-known brands. It’s very different from other boutiques because every article of clothing is carefully picked out at specialty buyer shows. Best friends Noles and Boulden love  to travel frequently to stay fashion forward and pick out unique items to sell in their stores. They like to offer clothes that people wouldn’t think they could find in Birmingham. It’s a way for locals in Birmingham to feel like they are shopping in Manhattan. They currently even have the miniature Vivienne Tam laptop that Samantha uses in the new “Sex & the City 2” movie!

Swank caters to all ages and body types and offers something for any type of event. Whether your spending a day at the ball park, going to lunch with friends, or dressing for a fabulous cocktail party, Swank has something for you! Customers will leave looking stylish and telling their friends about Swank. Swank also makes sure to a have a wide price range, this way everyone can come in and leave with an item.  It’s very important to manager Nicole Clemons Noles to build lasting relationships with her customers. She considers the store and its employees, “One big happy family,” and she wants her customers to see that and come back again and again.

Swank’s newest styles

“I absolutely love Swank, it doesn’t even feel like a job. Retail and fashion have always been a passion for me. I love being able to tell someone they look fabulous and to see them light up with confidence because they know they truly do,” says Noles. This is why customer service is a number one priority at Swank. Ms. Noles always makes sure customers are greeted when they enter the door and that they are always happy with items they bought.

No matter your age, price range, or what you are looking for, Swank is the place for you. A boutique like no other in Birmingham you  are sure  to leave one happy and stylish girl.


Beverly Ruff Antiques and Linens

Hannon Davidson, Suzan Doidge, Beverly Ruff, Mayor Oden

2417 Canterbury Road


Monday – Saturday

10 am – 4 pm

Mountain Brook now has the lovely pleasure of finding a new antique store on Canterbury Road. Antique lover Beverly Ruff has moved her treasured antique store from Cahaba Heights to our very own neighborhood. When you walk in the door you are greeted by a soft fragrance and charming vintage antiques and maybe even a standard poodle?

Beverly Ruff Antiques and Linens specializes in antique frames, unique lamps and vintage linens, and hand painted mats for frames. Many of the lamps you will find are hand-crafted and have exquisite details such as leaves, flowers or a vintage lamp shade. You can also find beautiful hand painted mats for frames, Ms. Ruff’s favorites are ones with flowers and leaves. You are guaranteed to leave with an item that has never been seen before and will truly add glamour to a room.

Ms. Ruff wants customers to walk into a beautiful, and very “put-together” store. Antiques are spaced and placed evenly around the store in a creative way that makes for an interesting shopping experience. You will never have to “dig” to find a special antique at this store.

Ms. Ruff has loved antiques since she was a child and loves working with them. To her, antiques give a room history and a welcoming personality. Different antiques will offer variety and character to a room. This is why she does not specialize in one “era” or type of antique. She loves being able to offer different types of antiques so any customer can find that special piece to put in their home.

“Mountain Brook is booming, and this place is a better deal and more ideal location, says Ruff.”  While Cahaba Heights is a great area, Ms. Roth feels

Nancy McClendon

that she will have more traffic and customers in Mountain Brook. Personally, she also just loves being in the Mountain Brook area.  To her, being able to walk down to Starbucks every morning to grab a coffee before opening the shop is just ideal. The area is very charming and has a vintage feel and she feels this is the perfect place for an antique store.

Having been in the antique business for five years, Ms. Ruff and her friend Nancy McClendon have a great eye for spotting unique finds. They both have complimenting tastes that help make the store very unique and appealing. Ms. McClendon currently has a section of the store called “Antiquities” for her own take on unique antiques.

No matter what type of antique you are looking for you are sure to find it here. Anytime you come in you will be welcomed by a “put together” relaxing shop and Ms. Ruff and one of her four treasured standard poodles.

May 2010

Pants Store

233 Country Club Park,

(205) 868-1616

By Michael Seale


Pants Store

The sign on the door at the pants Store reads “Since 1950,” and although that does not signify how long the store has been in Mountain Brook, it does relay just how long the Gee family has been in the clothing business.

“My granddad was a pants wholesaler and was selling pants out of the trunk of his car,” said co-owner Michael Gee. The first Pants Store opened in Leeds in 1950, and the business just grew from there.

The Pants Store in Crestline Village has been a part of the Mountain Brook business community since 2006, and has been offering residents a wide variety of quality men’s, women’s and youth footwear, shirts, jackets – and of course, pants – ever since. Gee said he has enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of the business community in the city where he grew up.

“We grew up in Mountain Brook, my brother and I both live in Crestline, so it was a natural fit,” Gee said. Michael Gee and his brother, John, have taken over the daily operations of the Pants Store business from their father, Mickey Gee. The business now has four stores (Leeds, Downtown, Trussville and Crestline).


Michael Gee

Each store is slightly different than the other, as the brands and inventory cater more to the customer base in that particular area. The Crestline location has become popular quickly because of the wide selection and brands that the store offers, such as Columbia, Carhartt, Guy Harvey, Merrell and many others.

The Pants Store stays busy throughout the year, and the store is holding a sale in May, with everything in the store sold at 20-percent off (some exceptions). But with the stress of running a business, coupled with working with family, would understandably take its toll on many people. But Michael Gee says nothing could be further from the truth.

“I got to work with my dad every day for about eight years, and I work with my brother every day and somehow we have survived and not killed each other,” Gee said. But he added on a serious note, “Who gets to see their family every day? I think I am pretty lucky.”


One response to “Business Spotlight

  1. Kari, We miss bham though are really settling into Carlsbad, CA 18 month later. I so enjoy your posts and staying in the loop thru this site and your blog. Your family is beautiful, thank you for writing.
    Tracey Ross

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