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After V. Richard's, What's Next for Forest Park?

v richards

Months after V. Richard’s sudden closure, the Birmingham Business Journal reports a new owner for the space. The now-vacant V. Richard’s property had a decade-long stint as specialty grocer and before that as a payless drugs, according to the BBJ. It’s surrounded by Naked Art, Silvertron Cafe and Little Savannah, Full Circle event space, Zoe’s, and soon a healthy eating restaurant. Naturally, that got us thinking, what else does Forest Park Village need?

First, we considered the basic requirements for the area. The shop should be a locally-owned, independent-type place, since that’s a critical part of the village ethos. It should also be neighborly enough to participate in the Third Friday Tour de Loo, and we don’t know how well corporate types take to bathroom art installations. Finally, it should be small enough in scale to avoid major traffic and parking problems on Clairmont. It needs to attract a steady business to be viable, obviously, but this isn’t the location for a high-traffic retailer or a heavy drive-through crowd.

Then there’s the Forest Park audience to consider. It’s a relatively well-heeled community, so there’s room to go a little bit upscale. On the other hand, the area’s fair share of reasonably-priced apartments and homes for the young professional crowd suggest that a degree of affordability matters.

With those things in mind, here are our ideas:

Bakery/coffee shop

Both are neighborhood staples, and neither really exist in Forest Park Village. Why not change that, perhaps with a Birmingham outpost of Church Street Coffee and Books?

Ice cream shop

Local startups like Big Spoon Creamery and Pixie Ice Cream Company will always have our votes and attract our sweet tooths.

Latin food

The Loft District has El Barrio, Lakeview has Cantina and Babalu, but we can’t think of a Nuevo Latino joint in Forest Park. It might be time to change that.

Specialty tailor

With Zoe’s in the next block and the inevitable alterations needed on professional attire, we think there’s room for a neighborhood tailor, perhaps even one who specializes in upcycling vintage items.

Pop up boutique

Now that Full Circle has become exclusively an event space, there’s room for a boutique-style offering. Why not one that blends the constantly-shifting inventory of neighboring Zoe’s with the handcrafted vibe of Naked Art and the traveling exhibition ethos of Third Friday? The pop-up model has shown staying power in Pepper Place; why not Forest Park as its next outpost?

And in truth, the space is probably big enough to house more than one of our ideas. So the ball’s in your court, local entrepreneurs. We can’t wait to see what’s coming.


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