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5 of Birmingham’s Oldest Businesses as City Approaches 150th Birthday

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Birmingham's historic and iconic Redmont Hotel. (bhamnow.com)
By Claire Hancock
Bham Now

Founded on June 1, 1871, the City of Birmingham celebrates its 150th birthday this year. In honor of that historic milestone, check out five of the city’s oldest entities, including one that was founded before the city itself.

  1. Bromberg’s Jewelers 

The oldest store in Alabama (and of course, Birmingham), Bromberg’s Jewelers began in 1836 in Mobile and is now 185 years old. Bromberg’s came to Birmingham in 1900, not long after the city was established, to open a store here in Linn’s Folly*. The jewelry retailer moved to Mountain Brook Village in 1950, then run by fifth-generation Bromberg’s. Now they have the Mountain Brook location and a spot at The Summit.

Even cooler, the Bromberg family has owned and operated this jewelry company since the very beginning.

Location: 2800 Cahaba Road, Mountain Brook, AL 35223

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9:30AM-5:30PM

*Linn’s Folly was the first National Bank of Birmingham building, located on the corner of 1st Avenue North and 20th Street. It was known as Linn’s Folly because of Linn Hall, the ballroom inside the building and the fact that it was built during the Panic of 1873.

  1. The Redmont Hotel 

A downtown Birmingham icon, the Redmont Hotel is currently Alabama’s oldest hotel that remains in operation, built in 1925. This 14-story building has seen its fair share of celebrities like Hank Williams (who spent his last night alive there) and Kareem Abdul-Jabar, community events, and at one point even a robbery shooting.

In 1983, The Redmont Hotel was inducted into the National Registry of Historic Places. Today, the hotel offers 120 guest rooms that echo the hotel’s history with a 1920’s-styled design.

Location: 2101 Fifth Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203

  1. Harbin’s Discount Pharmacy 

Harbin’s Discount Pharmacy is almost 100 years old. Photo via Bham Now.

Founded in 1928, Harbin’s Discount Pharmacy is one of the oldest pharmacies in the state. When Harbin’s first opened, they were located in Homewood. Today, they have locations in both Birmingham and Mountain Brook, and offer a variety of services like delivery and compounding.

Location: 57 Church St., Mountain Brook, AL 35213

Hours: Monday-Friday 8AM-7PM, Saturday 9AM-5PM

  1. Royal Cup Coffee 

Royal Cup Coffee first began caffinating Birmingham in 1896, when founder Henry Batterton sold coffee from a horse-drawn wagon. What was then known as Batteron Coffee Company eventually transformed into Royal Cup Coffee in 1950 after William Smith purchased the company. To this day the Smith family owns and operates Royal Cup from its headquarters in Birmingham.

Currently, Royal Cup serves roughly one million cups of coffee and tea daily in the Birmingham area and internationally.

Location: 160 Cleage Drive Birmingham, AL 35217

Hours: Monday-Friday 7AM-5PM

  1. Buffalo Rock 

Buffalo Rock Company is still headquartered right here in Birmingham. Photo via Bham Now.

In 1901, the Lee family switched from running the Alabama Grocery Company to building a soft drink empire. The change began when Sidney W. Lee and Ashby Coleman developed the first Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale. The drink became so popular that by 1927, the company rebranded as Buffalo Rock Company.

While it’s original location was on 1st Avenue North, Buffalo Rock is now headquartered on Oxmoor Road. Buffalo Rock is currently the largest general food distributer in the region, and offers a massive variety of drinks.

Location: 111 Oxmoor Road, Birmingham, Alabama 35209

For more on the modern, mobile guide to Birmingham, visit www.bhamnow.com