Shoppe started with the love for a neighborhood.
Jay Draper and Mark Thompson both live in the Forest Park area and they wanted to create a business that spoke to the needs of the neighborhood.
Both have extensive backgrounds in garden shop retailing, as well as interior design, and so creating a garden shop that offered gift items seemed like a natural. So in 2017, Shoppe was born.
“We just wanted to do something in the neighborhood that would bring the community aspects of gardening and getting outside to our neighbors,” Thompson says.
When they first came upon the property it was being used as a studio by an art cooperative, though in the past it had been an earlier home to Forest Park retailers, Naked Art and Zoe’s.
They cleared off the empty lot next door and constructed the signature greenhouse that has become such a fixture now along that stretch of Clairmont Avenue. The greenhouse is from England, shipped to Boston in a container and erected on the site.
“We’re always trying to make it better and improve. We do a lot of gift items, so it’s an easy place that you can come get a gift for a friend,” he says. Shoppe offers gifts, plants and home interior items. “We do a complimentary gift wrap, so the gift aspect is a big part of our business.”
Thompson worked at Leaf & Petal, though what brought him to Birmingham was a job at Anthropologie, where he set up new store openings and created prototypes. Draper has worked at garden shops inside and outside of Birmingham.
The pair has expanded into the former Silvertron Café space next door and this fall plan to open General, a café and gourmet food retailer that will also feature home accessories and small furnishings. They are hoping the café/shop will iron out the seasonal peaks and valleys of the garden shop business.