At Last, Grocery Shopping Downtown
Birmingham welcomes a new grocery in the heart of the city.
The influx of bistros, bars, and restaurants in downtown Birmingham over the past few years has brought life to an area that once threatened to become a ghost town. Much of the current surge in business traffic has occurred on Second Avenue North. At long last, a proper grocery of sorts is open to serve downtown loft dwellers and anyone who works in or visits the city center.
Antonio Boyd opened Mamanoes Grocery Shop (next to Baldone Tailoring, on the corner of 23rd Street and 2nd Avenue North) at the site of the former Gypsy Market on Thursday, June 17. Boyd, whose résumé includes a stint at a Whole Foods distribution center in Maryland, says his new venture will offer “an experience for the neighborhood; a simple, plain, but unique place to shop.”
Boyd has been an entrepreneur since childhood. “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, going back to when I was a kid digging earthworms out of the ground to sell to bait shops at country stores in south Alabama,” he says. As a teen, he arrived at school early each day to sell candy apples coated with Rice Krispies to classmates, using a corn syrup recipe passed down by his grandmother.
Mamanoes will sell wine, imported beer (including high-gravity brews), fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, sodas, juices, dog food, canned goods, and assorted paper products. Boyd says he will soon include a deli offering butcher’s cuts and sliced meats and cheeses. For those in a hurry, orders can be placed online or phoned in, allowing customers to drive to the store for curbside pick-up service. Loft dwellers walking their dogs will have the convenience of shopping as their pets are pampered by a “pet valet” service, allowing patrons to leash their dogs in a covered area supplied with fresh water and inexpensive doggie treats. Later plans for the store include delivery ($50 minimum order), and an upstairs area (a loft that Boyd calls his “tasting room”) where patrons may imbibe on the premises.
Mamanoes will eventually be open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to midnight, and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; they’re currently closing at 6 p.m. As for Mamanoes’ funky name, Boyd explains: “It’s a tribute to my mom and all mothers out there. Because if anybody knows, Mama knows.” &