Downtown shopping keeps history alive

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 9, 2006

If you haven’t been downtown lately, it may be time to take a leisurely stroll around the town square and do a little shopping.

For those who grew up Demopolis, there are some new and interesting things, but there are still some old favorites to spark fond memories as well.

It’s true that shoppers can find most of the items they need at some of the larger chains in bigger cities, but these places don’t offer the true personality of their town.

Email newsletter signup

For those of you who were fans of “The Andy Griffith Show,” you probably remember how the men of Mayberry enjoyed getting together at Floyd’s barbershop to discuss life, politics or just to gossip.

The same scenarios are played out everyday on Demopolis’ town square.

Aside from shopping, downtown stores are a great place to find out who is sick, who is on the mend, who is hosting an event or who has recently married or brought home a new addition. There is a lot more to the downtown store than just the products they sell.

Imagine this, you wake up Saturday morning and need to pick up a few knick-knacks. You could spend your day driving around Meridian or Tuscaloosa in bumper-to-bumper traffic and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, or take a leisurely stroll around downtown Demopolis.

If you need lotions, soaps, art, candy or any other items to spoil yourself, Pamper Me Perfect is a great downtown location.

And when shoppers find all the items they need at this stop, they are bound to be hungry. Luckily, they don’t even have to leave the building.

Through the hallway is Napoleon’s, which has become a favorite around town because of its unique location and strong lunch menu.

If you are anything like me, a heavy lunch means it is time to lounge around for a while. You’re in luck. Directly across the street is Confederate Park, which has several park benches, shade trees and a gazebo. There is even a fountain that can do wonders for relaxing those who take the time to sit and watch it.

Now you are refreshed and it is time to get back to the task at hand. The next shopping trip is to the Vine and Hoof to pick up, well, pretty much everything a human being needs to live and do well.

Warm weather is on its way and your laundry is piling up, so it is time to wrap things up with a visit to Culpepper Electric for an air conditioning unit and Alabama Power’s Demopolis store for a washer and dryer.

As you prepare to go home, you can’t resist a quick stop by Spiller furniture to look at a new bedroom suite.

Now, your shopping day is over and the only mileage you have rolled up was on your feet.

You, the shopper, now have everything you need and have also caught up on all the news that’s fit to spread. It’s been a successful day.

The next time you find yourself with time to kill and a shopping list, I highly recommend a trip downtown.

As towns grow because of new highways and progress people gradually stray from public square shopping.

This is unfortunate because it gives potential business owners the impression that a downtown business can’t succeed.

Before you know it, there are unoccupied buildings in the area that made the town what it is.

Fortunately, in Demopolis, people have remained loyal to these historic buildings and kept them alive and well.

But, to continue to do this, they need a strong and loyal customer base.

If you find yourself with needs that can be met by these businesses and time to kill, take a walk in the park.

You might be surprised what you find and what you learn.

-Rick Couch is news editor of The Demopolis Times. He can be reached by calling (334) 289-4017 or e-mailing