As 2016 draws to an end, it’s a great time to take a look back at some of the good news of the past year. Throughout these final days of the year, Alabama NewsCenter will share stories you responded to the most in various categories along with one we think deserved more attention.
The Alabama Department of Tourism declared 2016 the “Year of the Alabama Maker” and so did we at Alabama NewsCenter. We launched a weekly series called “Alabama Makers” that features those entrepreneurs, artisans and craftsmen who are creating wonderful products with a decidedly Alabama accent. It is a series we will continue into 2017 and beyond as long as there are great Alabama Makers to spotlight. If you know of an Alabama Maker we should feature, email us at [email protected].
Here are the Top 5 Alabama Makers for 2016:
- When Becky Stayner saw someone with a leather bag she admired, she decided to learn to make one for herself. Before long she had cooked up Biscuit Leather Company in Homewood, leading to the proliferation of her creations for all to enjoy.
- By now you may have heard of Wickles Pickles. Not only is it an easy name to remember, but one bite of their pickled creations tends to make a new devotee to the Alabama-born brand. Here is the sweet and sour story behind the Alabama Maker with a name that’s fun to say.
- Frank Gravlee isn’t horsing around when it comes to health. His Life Data Labs in Cherokee is devoted to equine wellbeing with a full range of feeds and supplements designed for horse health. Life Data exports to 30 different countries.
- Brandon Greer was convinced he could make flavored popcorn that others would enjoy. After experimenting with some flavors with his family, he decided to see if the rest of Alabama would share their enthusiasm. He brought in his brother, Jordan, to help with the marketing and distribution and Kettle Bros in Attalla was formed. Business has been popping ever since.
- While business may be popping in Attalla, it’s swinging down in Pike Road. David Belser’s Four Oak Designs is crafting swings that are way beyond what grandma had on her front porch. Four Oak Designs specializes in bed swings and has grown a loyal following from Alabama and throughout the Southeast.
While this wasn’t one of the Top 5 Alabama Maker stories for the year, we want to make sure you see the story of The Hummus People. Everything about this Alabama Maker is fun, even how they got their name. But the best thing is the hummus. The creativity of the flavors will challenge the way you see hummus from now on.