When Jaime Thursby moved back home to help his parents with their antique business, On A Shoestring in Bluff Park, he saw a way to not only help the business, but also a way to enrich the community he grew up in.
“Since moving back to Bluff Park from Atlanta, I’ve noticed the demographic has changed drastically,” Thursby notes. “I saw a young and vibrant community.”
And he is correct. During the past 10 years, Bluff Park has seen an increase in young families and professionals calling the historic mountain community home. That gave him an idea for an outdoor neighborhood market.
“This community really reminds me of some Atlanta neighborhoods, such as Virginia Highlands, that are very proactive in doing fun events in their neighborhoods that brings the community together,” Thursby says. “I wanted to do the same, so I took matters into my own hands.”
A chance meeting with artist Jordan Cowie, owner of Wood Ya Look at That, expanded the scope of Thursby’s idea.
“We talked about shows, and I asked her if we put together a show in our parking lot if she would want to do it. She replied with a very strong yes!” Thursby says.
Cowie connected him with 10 more vendors, and Park and Crest Market was born. As the name suggests, the market is located at the corner of Park Ave. and Shades Crest Road.
The vision for Park and Crest is to feature local artists, crafts, food and fashion every Sunday at the corner of Park Avenue and Shades Crest Road. Thursby compares it to a smaller version of the Market at Pepper Place downtown.
“We want to create something with a Pepper Place feel that brings the community together to enjoy the view of the bluff and have fun. The biggest challenge is realizing it is going to take time and a ton of hard work to get to our goal, ” Thursby says.
Each Sunday, vendors ranging from jewelry artists to handmade soap makers set up booths in the parking lot of On A Shoestring from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The first market was held on April 3 with vendors including Captain Charles Banks at Fire Station No. 5 and his horseshoe art, Layken Elizabeth from Southern Scripted and Vera Ada, a Birmingham jewelry artist.
“We always want to keep a mix of Hoover/Bluff Park residents vendors, while also bringing in some outside talent,” Thursby explains. “Our end goal is to have 10 vendors (max) revolving each Sunday with a blend of the best that Hoover and Alabama have to offer.”
In the months to come, visitors to the market can expect organic produce and fresh eggs as offerings along with the local arts and crafts.
“We recently met with several farmers, and they are excited to bring their goods to Bluff Park,” Thursby says. “We have also been contacted by local beekeepers and will have local honey available soon.”
The outreach and response from the Bluff Park community is a thrill for Thursby and his family.
“The neighborhood has been so excited to see this happening. My siblings, Tara Thursby Graf, Amber Thursby Croy and Jay Thursby, and myself are so excited,” Thursby says. “Our parents have taken so much pride in On A Shoestring, and it has blessed our family in so many ways throughout our lives. We all think it is cool to see Bluff Park embrace Park and Crest Market, and we love adding to our eclectic neighborhood,” Thursby says.
He has also partnered with Linda Williams of Artists On the Bluff and met with Capers on Park Avenue and Hoover city officials to brainstorm ideas and combat parking problems.
“I had never been to Artists on the Bluff (located on Park Avenue in the old Bluff Park Elementary School) prior to this venture,” Thursby explains. “Linda Williams and her crew have created one of the coolest attractions in Alabama: world class. This type of venue, one you would see in Asheville or Charleston, is right in our own backyard. They have been so supportive of Park and Crest Neighborhood Market and helped with ideas.”
As Park and Crest continues to grow, the family business, On A Shoestring Antiques, is also getting a fresh update.
“We are keeping the cool factor of what everybody loves about the place but adding a fresh twist to attract the young modern Bluff Park resident. You will see the shop evolve into something Bluff Park has never seen,” Thursby hints.
“We are looking for a variety of vendors with unique stories and artwork — the best of the best,” Thursby says. Potential vendors can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Follow Park and Crest and On A Shoestring on Facebook and Instagram for updates.