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April 24, 2013

Thursdays thrill with special deals in downtown Birmingham

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

BIRMINGHAM — Live entertainment, in-store events, prizes and more — it’s just another First Thursday in downtown Birmingham.

The Birmingham Principal Shopping District is getting ready for warmer weather with a new promotional event to take place on the first Thursday of each month through September. The venture, aptly titled First Thursdays, will feature extended shopping hours and live entertainment for visitors to enjoy as they peruse downtown Birmingham’s shops late into the evening.

The concept is a throwback to a time years ago when shops in the city were traditionally open later on Thursday evenings, according to John Heiney, executive director of the PSD.

“We want to get people thinking about shopping late in Birmingham, and we thought Thursdays would make sense as a good night to try that,” he said.

He explained that each First Thursday will have a different theme, live music and activities for shoppers to enjoy. On May 2, the theme will be “Spring Fling,” featuring a performance by Sinjon Smith on East Maple. Shoppers can stop by the information booth, located on West Maple, to get a list of participating stores or a map, and the chance to win tickets to the musical “Catch Me if You Can” at the Fisher Theatre. Looking ahead, Sept. 5 will close out the series, doubling as Birmingham’s Fashion Night Out.

In addition to the fun outside, a number of stores are drawing shoppers in with sales, drawings and more in their shops. Bec and Sam’s, on West Maple, will have a clothing and sample sale to celebrate First Thursdays. Scavolini by Cusina Moda, on East Maple, will have a display of merchandise marked up to 50 percent off, and they’ll also feature an “Ask the Expert” session with a kitchen and bath remodeling professional on hand to answer customer questions.

Dan Herrle, of Custom Elegance, on East Merrill, plans to stay open until 11 p.m. for First Thursdays. He said the engraving shop plans to host free drawings, free wood engraving and 15 percent off of frames.

“We just thought this would be a good way to give back to the community. Birmingham has been really supportive of us,” said Herrle, who said the shop has been downtown since mid-November.

Heiney said that, for the inaugural First Thursday event, he expects 20-30 downtown retailers to participate, and if all goes well, even more may join in as the summer goes on. Each First Thursdays will last 6-9 p.m., though July’s event will be pushed to the second Thursday of the month to accommodate Independence Day.

For more information on First Thursdays, including a list of participating retailers, visit www.EnjoyBirmingham.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.