Making the Magic City Just a Little More Magical

On what was once hailed as the “Heaviest Corner on Earth,” the 21-story classical skyscraper renamed the John A. Hand Building stands proudly amongst the giants, as it did in 1912. The click of heels across the ancient Sylacauga marble floors tell a story of an era when this booming railroad-side commercial district was the busiest intersection in town.

John Hand Building | Shipt | Birmingham, Ala

Before the Shipt crew set up shop on the 6th floor, our founder, Bill Smith, had a vision to see this behemoth become a space for Birmingham-based tech and professional companies to establish a presence downtown.

Every day, a growing army of resident lawyers and tech startup employees travel beneath the 20th Street Underpass, where dark shadows have been transformed into warm, glowing displays of public art.

Almost prophetically, Shipt employees park on Morris Avenue, where the obnoxious jostle of late-victorian cobblestones demands it’s travelers pay homage to what was.

“Birmingham is really going through a renaissance right now,” Said Bill in an interview with Birmingham Business Journal.

Everyone seems to agree.

In a recent article on the restoration of the Lyric Theatre, John Archibald illustrates it perfectly: “It feels like this town is pregnant…with anticipation that something great is on the way.”

This city is determined to be something better again.

Organizations like REV Birmingham stoke the fire with community initiatives that revitalize the city and energize business development. Their influence is tangible and life-giving; they’ve set the pace, and this thing is moving.

Our entertainment scene is being shaken. The large investments into Regions Fields and the redevelopment of the old Lyric Theater illustrate who we are: fighters.

Though we once fell from our lofty seat amongst the greats, this city will rise again and be something big, and we’re not stopping there…

The rapid adoption of artists and musicians across Birmingham has made surrounding communities like Homewood, Avondale, Lakeview, Uptown and Five-Points a Mecca for creative minds. This is evidenced by upcoming big-ticket events like Sloss Music and Arts Festival hosted by Red Mountain Entertainment and AC Entertainment (the same folks who book Bonnaroo).

New activity means new people…more places to live, eat, drink and work.

Demolition soon begins inside the Thomas Jefferson Hotel, where the misery of a vacant Leer Tower will metamorphosize into Millennial-driven apartments.

Once upon a time, the Historic Pizits Building department store was erected in response to rapid growth in the 1920’s. Now it’s being remastered as modern apartments, office space and an urban market.

In response to the demand for a neighborhood market, Publix is building a location on Third Avenue South and 20th near the developing Parkside district next door to the new Regions Field and Railroad Park.

publix downtown Birmingham

Revelator Coffee Company, A fresh group of female-led coffee purveyors, seek to make their mark on local scene with a roasting facility on First Avenue in downtown Birmingham. Their flagship storefront recently opened across from the Alabama theater. They see Birmingham as the heartbeat of the South, a perfect launching point for aggressive growth into other markets like New Orleans and Chattanooga.

REV Birmingham’s Urban Food Project and Pepper Place Market aim to bolster the local the food economy and provide access to the best local produce and offerings.

Birmingham City Council just approved an open container area at Uptown Entertainment District, a keystone of Birmingham’s growth and positive momentum. More promising establishments like Texas De Brazil have made plans to join the army of hot restaurants, bars and hotels that are working together to make their mark.

We need not mention Avondale and other amazing pioneers in the craft food and beverage scene. Your work is respected and loved by each of us thanks to the growing number Birmingham-based publications that herald your stories stories: Weld for Birmingham, Yellowhammer News, and Scenes of the South, the newest addition, to name a few…

Birmingham Alabama Skyline from the John Hand Building
B’ham skyline from the John Hand Building


So much is happening around us, and we’re proud to share a vision with so many other co-conspirators, artists, businesses owners, musicians, investors and initiatives. Thank you for standing in the trenches with us.

We love our city. We believe in our city. If the Shipt business model can work in a place like this, then it can work anywhere. Our mission is to help our people spend less time on little things that don’t matter so they can invest more in the things that do. Family. Friends. Leisure. Culture. All the things that make life worth living.

…and with local support, we’ll be able to forever avoid pushing grocery carts and standing in long checkout lines.

Today we are testing the beta version of our Shipt Groceries app in preparation for our public launch in May. We’re working hard to build the best grocery delivery service possible, and we invite you to stay connected with the journey.

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Category: #LocalLove, #ShiptLife, Blog


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