Percy Jones knows the resilience of the Magic City first-hand. He believes in Birmingham so strongly, he’s created a series of shirts that pay tribute to the city’s famous greeting marker - the Rotary Trail sign. In addition to highlighting a landmark, the high-quality T-shirts and other Birmingham-themed apparel found at magiccitytshirt.com (website currently undergoing some changes) benefit a nonprofit Percy operates called CASED (Community Action and Social Economic Development), which is an approved provider by the state of Alabama for childcare services including summer camps and after-school care.
The nonprofit began operating three years ago as an online store with occasional pop-up excursions. A short time later, Percy was selling T-shirts out of an upscale shipping container at Railroad Park next to another great Birmingham brand, Urban Vintage. The location, which shares a corner with Good People Brewing and Regions Field, allowed more people than ever to come across Percy’s attention-grabbing clothing.
Unfortunately, a global pandemic prevented Percy from signing on for another year at the park (the decision had to be made in April of 2020), but he was quick to figure out his next options with what he calls the “corona pivot”. He bought a bus that now enables his shop to travel to various outdoor locations (primarily breweries right now) and lets customers shop in an open-air setting. He’s been operating in this style since October 2020, and has only come up with more creative ideas since.
“We’re thankful that we were able to be nimble and figure out how to restructure so that we could still operate. This is an example of that.” But Percy’s decisions aren’t only influenced by his own nonprofit and those that it supports - they are meant to uplift his fellow Birmingham small business owners as well. The Magic City Marketplace, a free event will next be at the Urban Supply/Good People lots on March 6th, is one form of doing that. It will take place in an open-air setting every other weekend in March and April, and bring food trucks and artisan vendors together to make for a great Saturday.
Percy Jones rolled with the punches of 2020, and he did so by creating a roll-up retail shop. He’s got his foot on the gas and isn’t looking in the rear view mirror - only forward. Catch him and the Magic City T-shirt bus at a local brewery (we found him at Avondale), at the marketplace, or online!