Old-World-Style Shopping, Restaurants & Retailtainment in … Huntsville, Alabama?!
If you’ve ever night-strolled the streets of St. Augustine, Charleston or any Parisian locale, you haven’t forgotten the experience: The romance, the street music, the unique boutiques, and the vibrant buzz of cafe culture. It’s the kind of ambiance and energy that’s hard to come by these days. But Gas Light Alley at Stovehouse offers quaint old-world-style shopping right here in Huntsville, AL.
As you enter the alley, you pass rusty towering tanks; relics of the century-old Martin Stove factory that operated in this spot before its revival in 2018. And you immediately spot Charlie Foster’s Coffee welcoming you (tempting you) with a warm cup of coffee, tea & more.
What isn’t visible to the naked eye is the story behind Gas Light Alley.
It was once a street that dissected the property of the factory that was built in 1929. When the owners later decided to expand north from the main building that sat on Governors Drive, they just constructed buildings right over the street. It wasn’t until the new Stovehouse owners began their mission to start “manufacturing leisure,” that the “alley” was uncovered and repurposed into the “retailtainment” area it has become.
Wandering is Welcome Here
Walking the cobblestone path, drink in hand, under the flicker of gas lamps and string lights, it’s easy to forget you’re in Alabama. And on the 12-acre Stovehouse campus, this new retail corridor is just a tiny piece of the experience that’s been created in this adaptive reuse project.
Eats, Drinks & Entertainment
There’s live music several nights a week on a state-of-the-art outdoor stage that rises above the Leisure Lawn and Food Garden. Here, hundreds gather for eats and drinks from local foodie-friendly restaurant concepts, full-service bars, and a “Southern Brewers Cooperative” that is slated to open soon. There’s indoor dining in The Booth & Canteen, plenty of high-end outdoor seating, and covered areas to escape the sun while still enjoying the great outdoors—all in a space that was darkened warehouse space just a couple of years ago.
Live music on the Leisure Lawn at Stovehouse Food Garden
Even More Areas To Leisure
Around the corner in this little “village” is a soccer-field-sized Courtyard, flanked by high-tech office tenants and The Shed, a public seating space that features a huge mural of the Martin Stove & Electric Belle brands that once occupied the building. The Shed is also outfitted with a full stage, sound, and lights for concerts and is available for private event rentals.
Live music happening in The Shed! Note the old Martin Stove logo on the mural wall behind the band.
Big Things Being Built
Peeking outside The Shed, you can spot the beginnings of a 10,000 and 5,000 sq. ft. event spaces (The Royal & The Belle) that are planned for late 2021. These large event halls will be used for weddings, corporate events, conferences, concerts, and more.
Stovehouse Is Your “Third Place”
Why ramble on about all the amenities around Gas Light Alley in an article about shopping the shops there? Because what’s most impressive about the Stovehouse “experience” is that it is “new” to the city but seems like it is evolving organically to provide an important “third place” for Huntsville residents. Maybe you come for hot ramen, for southern BBQ, Japanese Crepes, for a gourmet sandwich, falafel … for a craft beer, a glass of wine, or top-shelf scotch. But you stay because this place offers something you can’t ring up at a register: leisure and community.
Lunch & Dinner at the Stovehouse Food Garden & Leisure Lawn is a community event!
What’s Next at Gas Light Alley? Could be YOU!
Currently, there are just a few boutiques locked in at Gas Light Alley. About a dozen 500-1500sq. ft. spaces have just become available to lease. Why should you care? Well, if you’ve been waiting to get your shopping on while hanging at Stovehouse, it means there will soon be exciting first-in-town concepts along this once-abandoned street. If you’re a retailer with a great concept, it means there’s still time to secure your storefront.
Ideas that would be a great fit at Stovehouse:
Salons, massage, DIY candles, pottery, dessert shop/bakery, gift stores, art gallery, record stores, independent bookstores …
What ideas would you bring to Gas Light Alley?