Photo by Anne Wood.
Smith’s Variety Shop
Mary Anne Glazner’s family has owned Smith’s since 1976; the store was founded in 1950.
Smith’s Variety been Birmingham’s most familiar “high end variety store” since 1950 through moves from Homewood to the current Ritch’s Pharmacy location and then to its current storefront next to the Western Supermarket in Mountain Brook Village.
“Smith’s has received some upgrades over the years; however, we pretty much sell the same types of things that we have been selling for 61 years,” said Mary Anne Glazner, whose family has owned Smith’s Variety since 1976.
Over the years, Smith’s has maintained small town charm while also selling goods typically found in larger franchises. The front counter is still surrounded by glass jars of candy and treats like an old-time five-cent candy shop. You’ll also find selections from local writers and painters. At the same time, you’ll find shelves stocked with a constantly updated selection of toys from popular kid’s brands such as Play Mobil, Lego and Nerf. There is also a selection of monogrammed goods, imprints, greeting cards, board games and holiday decorations.
Throughout the years and continuing into today, this unique combination has succeeded in creating a loyal customer base for the store especially during the busy holiday seasons. The store traditionally extends its hours during the holidays starting in early November. During Easter, the store’s busiest time of the year, Glazner decorates hundreds of Easter baskets for returning customers who have cherished them year after year.
Like many Mountain Brook store owners, Glazner noted that her work with the people of Mountain Brook stands out. “Meeting customers, helping them find what they are looking for, and getting to know them personally are my favorite parts of Smith’s,” she said.
Smith’s also puts on a couple of events near the holiday season that consistently bring customers to the shop. Kids can test out the store’s toys before writing their wish lists at the annual “Play Day” in November. There is also always a “Play Day for grown-ups,” as Glazner says, in their nighttime open house, complete with wine and other refreshments for shoppers.