After 25 years in the corporate world serving as an accountant, Teresa Brodie had to decide what to do next. Keeping her current position would mean moving to St. Louis, Missouri—something she knew she didn’t want. Teresa is an only child and wanted to stay close to her parents in Athens. That’s when she says God stepped in to choose for her. She would leave her desk job behind and purchase a gift shop in Athens, Alabama. That shop was called Pimentos.
“Making the leap from a corporate job to owning a gift shop seemed natural,” said Teresa, owner of Pimentos. “My parents were entrepreneurs and I grew up with an appreciation for people operating their own businesses. It was personal—meaningful. Pimentos offered me the chance to stay close to my family and make my dream of entrepreneurship a reality.”
Now, six years after purchasing the business, Teresa and her team have decided to open its next location at Stovehouse’s coming shopping district, Gaslight Alley. While Pimentos’ Stovehouse site will be its third shop, it will be the first time the business has been housed in a vibrant mixed-use development with constant visitors, daily foot traffic, and on-site office employees.
“Stovehouse has been my dream location for some time,” admitted Teresa. “Once I saw advertisements for the property, I began visiting the site every few months to keep an eye on progress. I’ve wanted to be there before the first restaurant even opened.”
Pimentos first opened its doors in March 2004 on the square in Athens, Alabama. Its creator, Shannon Bryant, wanted to develop an oasis for people looking to relax and converse while shopping for the perfect gift. After years of building Pimentos into a well-known Athens landmark, Shannon stepped down to spend more time with her family. Teresa saw the opportunity to carry on her vision and purchased the store in 2014.
“I’ve always wanted to own a shop like Pimentos,” Teresa smiled. “We try to offer much more than unique gifts; although, that’s our specialty. When we get a chance to speak to our customers about what they’re looking for, we begin to know them on a more personal level. We know most of our customers’ children, spouses, friends, and big life events because we build those relationships with each visit. Our guests ultimately become our friends. That’s my favorite part of the retail business.”
During its first ten years of operation, Pimentos also opened a location at Hampton Cove in Huntsville. Stovehouse, however, will be the first expansion the shop has experienced in 16 years.
“Gaslight Alley is going to be an incredible opportunity for us for many reasons,” explained Teresa. “We are most looking forward to becoming a part of the on-campus community. For instance, we can show up at the offices on-site and bring candles and small gifts so they can get to know us. We can help them find a gift and have it beautifully wrapped for their loved one by the end of the workday.”
Teresa also said that Stovehouse offers her shop the ability to be more active with its promotions.
“At Stovehouse, we aren’t stuck inside our shop waiting for customers to come inside,” she said. “We can head out and explore the campus, hand out samples, give people our information, and get to know clientele even before they physically step foot inside Pimentos. It gives us more time and opportunities to get people’s attention and converse with customers.”
Plus, her team will love having so many restaurants nearby to enjoy during breaks.
Love, Laughter, and Lots of Wrapping Paper
As a unique home décor and gift shop, Pimentos carries an endless catalog of items to brighten the days and homes of its guests. Some of its more popular pieces include candles, kitchenware, vases, seasonal items, wall décor, jewelry, light fixtures, bath items, throw pillows, and locally made goods. The possibilities are endless and you’ll find something new with each visit.
“Our people make Pimentos special,” clarified Teresa. “We love getting to know our guests. We love laughing with them, praying with them, and helping to bring a smile to their day. We also try to feature local makers and talented artists into our product lines. It means we are always carrying one-of-a-kind inventory.”
Another service that draws in Pimentos clientele is the shop’s incredible gift wrapping.
“I’d say about 90 percent of people who come in want gift wrapping,” said Teresa. “We’ve become known for it.”
One item that many customers will have gift wrapped soon has Teresa especially excited. In her effort to work with other local entrepreneurs, she’s reached out to artist Hilary Russell of Cotton Table Ceramics to create a custom plate and ornament featuring Stovehouse.
“It’s going to be stunning,” she said. “Hilary has made some beautiful painted ceramic plates that feature historic and prominent properties all over Alabama. Having one of Stovehouse will give guests another chance to purchase a truly unique keepsake.”
Crunkleton retail broker Anusha Alapati Davis is a fan of Pimentos herself. She helped place Teresa at the site and thinks they will be a great fit.
“Gaslight Alley is designed to combine retail with entertainment,” said Anusha. “As the development’s main shopping area, it will be a site unlike any other in the city. Guests will be able to enjoy food, listen to live music, and immediately turn the corner to shop at fun retail concepts. Pimentos has so much local flavor and style that it fits perfectly with what the site is trying to accomplish. A gift shop will be yet another amenity on-site workers can enjoy.”
Owner and Developer of Stovehouse Danny Yancey is also thrilled to have Pimentos join the campus.
“As developers, our goal is to make Stovehouse as entertaining, convenient, and diverse as possible,” said Danny. “Pimentos’ focus on building community and its beautiful inventory will be a welcome addition to the campus.”
The Perfect Gift
Teresa is devoted to the idea of being an entrepreneur because her parents were as well. Owning and operating Pimentos has allowed her to connect with her late parents on a deeper level and keep the tradition alive.
“Pimentos is very personal to me because it connects me to my past, my family, and my interests,” she said. “For a long time, owning a shop was a pipe dream; I never thought it would actually happen. But thanks to tons of support from my family and God, it has been a wonderful adventure I can call my own.”
Teresa says she was blessed to have her father around for a few years after she purchased Pimentos and her mother got to see it in action, as well. To Teresa, the shop is a dream come true, a link to her past, and a place to serve others all wrapped into one perfect gift.
“Our hearts have been poured into this business and we hope to share it with you,” said Teresa. “We can’t wait to see everyone at our Stovehouse location. Until then, visit our storefront in Athens and come say hello. We will help you find just what you’re looking for.”
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