Alabama’s newest shopping experience mixes fun with innovation

Alabama’s newest shopping experience mixes fun with innovation
Upswing Birmingham designed to prove and improve downtown's market for retail with mix of shopping and events. (Dennis Washington / Alabama NewsCenter)

A parking lot on the corner of 2nd Avenue North and 19th Street in downtown Birmingham has been transformed into Alabama’s newest shopping experience.

Upswing Birmingham is a “demonstration project” designed by REV Birmingham to prove and improve downtown’s market for retail. David Fleming, president and CEO of REV Birmingham, says Upswing Birmingham is a modern twist on the old pop-up shop concept.

“There have been a lot of places around the country where people have done demonstration projects for retail,” Fleming said. “We’re all about taking those good ideas and applying them to Birmingham.”

Upswing Birmingham aims to prove and improve downtown’s market for retail from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Fleming said the owner of the parking lot was very willing to work with REV Birmingham on the project. Three former shipping containers — outfitted for retail, have now been installed on the lot, along with some outdoor swings and seating for shoppers to hang out and have fun.

“It’s intended to take a dead parking lot space and turn it into something more vibrant and a place where retail can incubate,” Fleming said. “We’re all about bringing good businesses to downtown.”

Five businesses are sharing space in the three shipping containers:

Each of the businesses operates weekdays and during special events. Fleming says the project will shut down mid-December for the winter, restarting in the spring.

“Our goal is to incubate more retail,” Fleming said. “Downtown is growing to the point where retail — which at one point thrived in this area, can come back in a really unique way.”

For store hours, event calendar and more information on the businesses at Upswing Birmingham, visit upswingbham.com.

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