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Published: March 1, 2022

How Our Birmingham Thrift Stores Got Their Start

The story of our Lovelady Thrift Stores is not one typical to most Birmingham thrift stores. It has had its ups and downs, failures and successes. Read on to learn about the journey that our thrift stores have taken. 

Early Days

In 2004, Brenda Lovelady Spahn opened her home to inmates from Tutwiler Prison and the Lovelady mission was born. She had heard talk about halfway houses and how little help they actually provided. That’s when Brenda vowed to be a “whole way house” to these women. 

The need quickly outgrew what Brenda could provide in her own home. In 2005, she toured the former East End Memorial Hospital in East Lake and immediately felt what God wanted her to do. She knew that this opportunity would allow her to help countless women in the community overcome barriers to success.

“I knew there was no way at that moment to calculate how many lives could change in a place that big.” —Brenda Lovelady Spahn

First Attempt

Many ministries, especially new ones, struggle with finances. The Lovelady Center was no different. Despite being behind on payroll, Brenda saw the lives that were being changed by The Lovelady Center and knew God wouldn’t allow her to fail. That’s when she started a flea market in the parking lot.

Since the flea market was promising, Brenda decided to open a store on First Avenue North. This location was not meant to be and soon closed, but God was still there. Brenda knew that He would bring them a thrift store when the time was right. 

Through God’s Glory

After meeting a couple a few years later that traveled the country opening thrift stores, Brenda knew that God was moving through them to show her that now was the time. This couple had a non-compete with other area thrift stores, so they could only help in certain ways. They ultimately opened and completely funded the thrift store, allowing The Lovelady Center to pay them back gradually over a few years after opening. 


This is exactly the plan that He had because this time was different. It thrived! The first thrift store location in Irondale opened in 2009 and completely changed the dynamic of The Lovelady Center. We were able to pay our bills while still providing essential services to the women in our program. 

The success of the Irondale store led to the opportunity of opening another Birmingham thrift store in 2015. This one, in Clay, completely covers our payroll. This means that more money from individual donors, foundations, and churches goes directly to supporting our mission.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” —Philippians 4:13

Check Out Our Birmingham Thrift Stores

We have been blessed by our thrift store donors. We have enough great inventory to fill both of our stores and make sure that our shoppers have a wonderful shopping experience. We’d love to have you stop by to pick up some great deals and also support all of the women and children that we serve.

7720 Ludington Lane,
Irondale, AL 35210
(205) 951-9230

2402 Old Springville Road,
Birmingham, AL 35215

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The Lovelady Center
7916 2nd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35206
Main: (205) 833-7410
Fax: (205) 833-9997
Lovelady Thrift - Irondale
7720 Ludington Lane
Irondale, AL 35210
Call to schedule a pick-up: (205) 951-9230
Lovelady Thrift - Clay
2402 Old Springville Road Birmingham, AL 35215
Call to schedule a pick-up:
(205) 951-9230
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