Branding Birmingham

Downtown Birmingham is taking on the indoor shopping malls and big box retailers by promoting its 70-plus home, home accessory stores and home design businesses in one easy-to-shop district that comes with better atmosphere.

The city's Principal Shopping District is working to capitalize on its home-related stores — contemporary, rustic Italian, chic, and Northern Michigan styles among them — with the branding campaign, BLUEPRINT: THE BIRMINGHAM HOME COLLECTION.

The first Blueprint event was in May in connection with spring and summer decor updates. The next is the weekend of Oct. 3-5, the Fashion Your Home for Fall 2013. It will feature stores with trunk shows, sales and promotions, how-to seminars and more during the weekend. Check out's website or Facebook page for details.

John Heiney, executive director of the Principal Shopping District that markets the downtown and downtown retailers, says the intent is not to say Birmingham is a better destination but an alternative seriously worth considering.

"I wouldn't take it upon myself to say better or worse. What we're really saying is people may not know what a great destination Birmingham is for home furnishings and home accessories and items for the home," he says.

"People may think of Birmingham more for its fashion or shopping and its restaurants," he says. "We have all that but when you think about home furnishings, gifts, dishware, kitchen items, cabinetry, and interior designers, we really do have quite a wide variety of stores and businesses that are all geared toward the home."

Plus, he says, on days when shopping may be time-consuming it's nice to have the downtown with the atmosphere and environment.

Like the May BLUEPRINT event Heiney and retailers expect a good turnout.

"We think this is something that's going to grow every year," he says. "More and more customers are becoming aware of what we're doing and what we have her. We're just getting started."

Source: John Heiney, executive director, Birmingham Principal Shopping District
Writer: Kim North Shine