Homewood Magazine


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h o m e w o o d c h a m b e r. o r g 23 where the garden once stood. Originally, Shaia's was a variety store, carrying drug store items, cigarettes, bottle drinks, and some clothes. In 1932, A.J. Shaia, S.G.'s son, took over the store and gradually turned the store into a department store with everything from ladies' foundations and linens to children's clothes, yard goods, and men's clothes. In 1955, the store moved down the street (to its current location), and two of A.J.'s sons, Leo and J.L., joined the family business. They decided to specialize and eventually selected men's clothing as their business focus. By 1965, the change over was complete, and Shaia's became known as "the" place in Birmingham to buy men's clothes. Today J.L.'s son Ken represents the fourth generation of the Shaia family to be involved in the family business. In the last 20 years, Shaia's has remodeled a number of times, including an expansion three years ago that exposed the original rafters and roof line of S.G.'s home. In over 90 years in business, the Shaias have seen many changes. "Eighteenth Street is a very walkable area with customers meandering down the sidewalk to shop their favorite stores," J.L. says. "I think the great school system has also been a large help and a tremendous stabilizer for this community—like a magnet it has drawn people in, and they have stayed. Now we have second and third generations attending the schools and shopping in Homewood." And in that more than 90 years, Shaia's has experienced more success than S.G. could have possibly imagined in those early days. For 12 consecutive years, Shaia's has been on Esquire Magazine's list of the nation's best men's retailers. The store carries upscale lines including Ermenegildo Zegna, Hugo Boss, and Peter Miller. Yet the Shaia family has never felt the need to leave Home- wood. "Homewood has a unique feel about it that you will not fi nd anywhere else over the mountain," J.L. says. "I have been told by a veteran retail property broker that 18th Street is the best retail block over the mountain...including the Summit. It is the most unique mix of stores, almost all are family owned, several are 2nd and third generations, all with one goal in mind…to please the customer." Since 1972, Eugene Breeden has been sharing his love of sports with the Homewood community from his storefront on 18th Street in downtown Homewood. Homewood Sporting Goods is a family owned and operated business that has been serving Home- wood and beyond with a wide range of sports equipment for over 30 years. In addition to sporting goods, Home- wood Sporting Goods also sells fraternity and sorority wear, team jerseys, and athletic shoes. With a focus on customer service and satisfaction, Homewood Sporting Goods also offers services such as basketball goal installation. Mr. Breeden, also called Mr. B, and his friend, Jerry Oddo, have been working in the store together since 1977. Mr. B's granddaughter, Julie Clanton, is now a big part of the business, using her professional HOMEWOOD SPORTING GOODS experience in sales and retail to take Homewood Sporting Goods in a new direction, while still maintain- ing the same hometown feel that has always existed in the store. Today, the staff at Homewood Sporting Goods enjoys the coopera- tive spirit of the Homewood business community. "We are a much closer group of merchants now," Breeden says. "We often refer customers to local stores to keep the business in Homewood. The merchants really work together to for the betterment of the whole because it helps all of us." After more than 30 years in business, the Homewood Sporting Goods family still loves doing business in Homewood. "Home- wood is still the great community it's always been," Breeden says. "Homewood is like being at home, matter of fact, it is home."

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