Need a gravy boat? How about an olive boat? You’ll find them both along with much more at BB’s China and Glassware in downtown Birmingham. BB’s has always been a favorite place of mine for exploring and I’ll be sorry to see them move at the end of June.
Jean Woods, along with her husband Ronnie, have been at the family-owned business on First Avenue North for 31 years. “We’re not closing our business, but we got a good offer on our building and we’ll move the inventory to our warehouse in Remlap, a tiny town on a mountain between Springville and Oneonta in Blount County. Local developers plan to turn the upper space into lofts and the ground floor into retail.”
Aside from the thrill of the “hunt”, half the fun of shopping at BB’s is the unbelievably low prices. On my recent visit I picked up a charming, vintage white gravy boat with a green stripe and matched it with a green-checked, oval diner-style under plate. More finds included large, stoneware mixing bowls with blue stripes and stylish, white ceramic olive boats for only $5. (One of these olive boats with a pint of mixed olives from Whole Foods Market’s olive bar makes a fabulous hostess gift for around $10!)
BB’s is a great place to find factory seconds and discontinued restaurant grade china, with all kinds of glassware at wholesale or near wholesale prices. Need a Fiesta replacement piece? BB’s is the first place to look. For years they’ve been selling to restaurants, schools, churches and anyone else looking for quality products at great prices. “You wouldn’t believe how many local restaurants buy from us,” laughed Jean.
Homer Laughlin and other American china companies, both new and retro, are featured. New restaurant supply brands sold include Tuxton, Crestware kitchen equipment and International Tableware. According to Jean, “We’ll be taking orders and plan to deliver twice a week to Birmingham after the move.”
BB’s carries plates, platters, cups, mugs and bowls of all sizes, styles and colors. Some pieces were custom-made for restaurants, such as the Olive Garden china pattern. You’ll find plates and platters marked with various restaurant names (cool, inexpensive pieces to share your baking efforts with friends and family).
Need inexpensive linens for a party? They sell discounted tablecloths and napkins, too. In addition to poly/cotton blends, I dug around and found some beautiful, white, heavy cotton damask napkins. Woods plans to introduce linen rentals to Blount County at their new location.
If you’ve been to BB’s, you know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t, make plans to drop by before the end of June to find a treasure or stock up on glasses, dishes and more.
While you’re at BB’s, check out Dixie Store Fixtures next door at 2425 First Avenue North. The Dixie staff wanted me to let you know they will NOT be moving. Dixie is primarily a wholesale business, rather than retail. None of the items displayed are priced, but the staff is friendly, helpful and willing to quote prices from their catalog. I picked up several bargains; for instance two kinds of classic cotton dish towels, a four-sided Microplane grater (boy is it sharp!) and one of those little stainless steel cardholders that restaurants use to identify or reserve your table. I plan to use one on my desk to display a photo or a greeting card, but it would be perfect to hold a recipe card (remember those?) in the kitchen too.
BB’s Wholesale China & Glassware
2427 1st Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35203
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday
Dixie Store Fixtures
2525 1st Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35203