Where to find Birmingham’s best neon

Birmingham has many iconic neon signs. A more in-depth story about Birmingham’s history of neon appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Exodus Magazine, and can be found here.

The best way to experience these iconic lights, however, is to venture out past sunset and find them yourself. Here is a guide to Birmingham’s best neon. Click images to be directed to a Google map for directions.


The journey begins in Homewood, with an iconic funeral home, a locally owned pet store and a specialty jewelry repair shop.


Ridout’s Valley Chapel:

1800 Oxmoor Rd
Homewood, AL 35209
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The Whole Dog Market:

2937 18th St S
Homewood, AL 35209
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Mark’s Jewelry:

1919 28th Ave S #145
Homewood, AL 35209

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Next, take a left on Highway 31 toward downtown Birmingham to find everything from a famous theatre to a furniture store.


Southpace Properties Inc.:

300 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N #900
Birmingham, AL 35203



DSC_0227Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 10.31.46 PMStandard Furniture & Appliances:

2020 3rd Ave N
Birmingham, AL 35203
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City Federal Condominiums:

2024 2nd Ave N
Birmingham, AL 35203
The best place to see this sign is actually from across the street.
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Alabama Theater:

1817 3rd Ave N
Birmingham, AL 35203
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200 20th St N
Birmingham, AL 35203
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Wood-fired: Post Office Pies continues to shine

Post office Pies celebrated its one-year anniversary in March, and has continued to draw attention to the growing Avondale neighborhood from its home on 41st street.

When you walk into the transformed former post office, it’s hard to miss the two custom-built wood ovens that Post Office Pies is famous for.

Two of the three woodburning ovens used by Post Office Pies were built by on of the founding business partners.


The two ovens, constructed by one of the co-owners of the restaurant, bake the hand-made pizzas that keep locals coming back for more.

The chicken-pesto pizza at Post Office PIes offers pizza-lovers who prefer sauces other than traditional tomato an appetizing option. (Aperture priority; Shutter 1/13; f/4.5; ISO 800).

Expert chef John Hall, who grew up visiting his grandparents just a few blocks away, has made it his mission to elevate a food that speaks to everyone. Every pizza starts more than a day before it is served, with the dough proofing for over 24 hours before it is formed into a crust. Hall said this process gives the crust a unique taste and sets Post Office Pies apart.

Post Office Pies 4

In addition to its pizzas, Post Office Pies offers a variety of fresh salads. (Aperture priority; Shutter 1/8; f/5.3; ISO 800).

There are also numerous gourmet salad options, including their popular beet and Brussels-sprout salads.



More information about the restaurant and a full menu can be found by visiting www.postofficepies.com.

Our Steel City

Our Steel City is a photo essay exploring the still of the night in Birmingham, Alabama, combined with words from past and present residents and passers-by of this city.

Exodus2-1Exodus-3“Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. Anyone who lives inside the US can never be considered an outsider anywhere in the country.”

“Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail 

Exodus-4 Exodus2-2“The music scene here is small enough for great acts to stand out but big enough to offer the support growing musicians need to find their audience and their sound.”

Ben Griner, member of St. Paul and the Broken Bones, about Birmingham

Exodus-7 Exodus-8“There is a contagious atmosphere, not just of acceptance, but of appreciate for creative variety.”

Jonathan Haefs, pastor of Shades Valley Community Church, about Birmingham

Exodus-11Exodus2-7“The quality I most appreciate [about Birmingham] is the overwhelming kindness of the people in this area… Even casual conversations in grocery store aisles are works of relationship artistry. We’re blessed to live here.”

Dr. Andrew Westmoreland, president of Samford University

Great Bear Wax Co.

Many great ideas develop from a simple inkling or a meandering thought on an idle Sunday evening. Many of the greatest world changers started from modest and humble beginnings.

Bill Bowerman made his first pair of running shoes using a waffle iron in his kitchen and sold them out of a car at track meets. You may know this little shoe company, which is now Nike, Inc. There are countless examples of young people who had an idea and were inspired to make the world around them a little better.

Three years ago, Jake Carnley was studying sociology at Auburn University with no intention of starting a business after graduation. An idea came about when he purchased an
expensive candle for the girl he was dating at the time and he saw a gender gap in the marketplace. He decided he wanted to create beautiful, well-crafted and masculine candles that celebrated design and form. He started pouring candles in his kitchen and thus began the foundation of Great Bear Wax Co.

Carnley stayed in Auburn for a year and a half after graduation and then moved to Birmingham to further establish the Great Bear Wax Co. brand. True to his love of supporting local businesses, Carnley’s twin brother Josh took on the creative responsibilities of the brand. The candles have a simple label, including the candle scent and a description explaining the idea behind the scent.

There is more depth to this business than just the candles creation.

“Of what I do, making candles is a very small fraction of it. I love the community. I have that local bug. I love getting to meet people and learn their story,” Carnley said.

He has opened a shop in the back of The Nest, an event space in Avondale. Ultimately, he hopes to create a space where the community can gather, learn about candle pouring and meet other Birmingham dwellers. Carnley has been working to renovate a 1972 Airstream with his dad. Long term, he foresees it as a place to sell candles and host community gatherings or live music.

He pours the wax into individual glass jars with  scents like Tobacco Bay, Campfire and Patchouli Jasmine. He started off  primarily selling his candles online, but Great Bear Wax Co. candles can be found in select stores across Birmingham such as Alabama Outdoors and Revelator Coffee.

Upon meeting Carnley, it is clear that he is passionate about people, his business and the Birmingham community. Carnley is an Octane regular and knows just about every other person who walks through that door.

“Whether you’re selling mugs or candles, we are small businesses, and we’re local. It is a unifying thing among creative folks. We are pushing a big rock up a hill; we are the ones trying to change culture a little bit,” Carnley explained.

“We are the ones walking uphill. There is something lacking if you’re not pushing with each other.”

It is obvious he has found a firm community in Birmingham and believes in our generation as the next shapers. Carnley spoke about how a lot of our nation learns and thinks about Alabama’s grueling past of un-acceptance. He believes this generation has an opportunity to shape Birmingham’s brighter future.

There are other changes taking place in Birmingham’s small business community. REV Birmingham strives to transform vacant space with the help of small businesses,
creating vibrancy in the city. Other initiatives are being made around the city by people and businesses who believe in the soul and strong heartbeat of Birmingham. Jake Carney is one of these people.

“Some may ask if we can we define ourselves as something other than historic Birmingham. I say we can. I know what I am asking of people. I am asking $15 for a candle. People could go elsewhere for a cheaper six-ounce candle. But there is intentionality in supporting local,” Carnley said.

As the young demographic in Birmingham we have an opportunity to shape the future of our city and support the unique businesses started here in the Magic City.

To support Carnley and Great Bear Wax Co., visit www.burnbear.com.

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