After a good rest on vacation in Gatlinburg we were ready to start visiting some local shops. Where should we go first? We started out at The White Room located in the heart of Mountain Brook Village. I was a little nervous sending that first Facebook message to Cathy Kelley, one of the owners , trying to explain exactly what I was doing. What response would I get? Would it be similar to my families? Nope. Cathy was very receptive and we had an appointment to meet her and the get a tour of her store two days later.
It was a beautiful morning in Mountain Brook and Talmadge was wearing our new fitted white Providence notch tuxedo, after Labor Day I know, but we were visiting The White Room. Right?
As we were taking a couple of photos outside Cathy came out the front door and got a picture with our sharp dressed man. When we finished outside, it was time to see what the White Room was all about.
When you walk in the front door you are immediately greeted by beautiful things. A curio full of sparkling jewelry and a few mannequins of their own adorned in the prettiest of dresses. As you make your way into the main showroom you are met with a feeling of style and sophistication. The dresses line the walls hanging from custom racks, a comfortable seating area, and one of the coolest chandeliers I have ever seen. Cathy was nice enough to give me a grand tour of the place and it is larger inside than you think. Every nook and cranny is decorated elegantly and the break room is to die for! I’m a guy and I would shop for a dress here! I sat down with Cathy and Carolyn in the showroom to get an insight on how the business got started and a little background.
Carolyn Kelley started altering dresses for the only couture shop in Birmingham at the time. Ladies from Birmingham would go to Atlanta and pick out their dresses then come home to get altered. As her work became recognized Carolyn became the name in town for wedding dress alterations. After a while Carolyn realized that this was a successful business to be in and has not looked back. Seeing the need for alterations and the majority of ladies flocking to Atlanta for wedding gowns, the next step was a no brainer, to open a bridal shop. All the lines that the ladies were bringing back were designers that were not yet offered in the state of Alabama. Carolyn decided to offer those designers right here in Birmingham. Having that idea in mind, Carolyn placed an ad in an upcoming bridal magazine connecting her name with it, even before she had actually opened a store. This was very successful seeing that her name was well recognized in the business. The publication came out in 2004 and the first store was opened January 2005 in Old Town Helena, Alabama where Cathy came in as an owner/manager. After 5 years there they moved The White Room to Cahaba Heights and after 5 years there saw a great opportunity in Mountain Brook. They have been at the present location since June of this year.
In the short time I spent with these two ladies it was apparent their genuine passion not only for the business but also for the bride-to-be’s satisfaction. Their personalities are infectious and I left the shop with a smile on my face. Just a note, their semi-annual black tie event with gowns up to 80% off is in full swing and will end September 30th so hurry in. Thanks to Carolyn and Cathy Kelley for the chance to visit with them and we hope to see them soon.
Talmadge? Talmadge who?
That is a very good question. Some of you who follow Mr Burch and my personal Facebook page may have noticed some posts including a well-dressed (most of the time) mannequin we have named Talmadge. Where did he come from? He was hiding in the warehouse, deep in our shipping department. Amongst all the other mannequins he was the one with a smile on his face and a 3 inch layer of dust covering his entire form. The idea came to me while making plans to take a vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennesse. Why not take a mannequin with me and not only show the beautiful sites but also showcase some of the great looking tuxedos and suits Mr Burch has in inventory? The plan was in motion.
The name Talmadge was my Grandfather’s name and seemed appropriate, meshing an old name with the world today. It is also a very unique name that people will not forget.
Once I got approval from the bosses, which took a little convincing, I was quick to put in tuxedo orders for Talmadge to wear on our trip. Trying to explain to my family that I would be bringing a mannequin with me on our trip was met with laughter and a couple of “have you lost your mind?” looks. After I explained the idea they were more receptive but still had their reservations. I was especially worried that Talmadge might scare my nephew, 5, and my nieces, 4 and 1. Surprisingly they found him quite interesting and fun and helped me with him. The looks that I received as I was walking down the sidewalk in Gatlinburg are priceless and a huge thanks to my sister, Mary Dillard, for doing most of the photography.
We had a blast with him on our trip. We went to the Smoky Mountain National Park, The Apple Barn, downtown Gatlinburg, and many other places. (See Facebook for our family vacay photos.)
Since our trip he has been relaxing for a bit but he has plans on visiting local businesses, landmarks, and other wedding vendors. Where will he be next? Who knows. He might show up at your door soon.
Would you like Talmadge to visit you? Let us know.