Downtown New Albany flourishes with the opening of inventive new shops, creative restaurants

By: Maria Johnson

Many people enjoy going across the river to hang out in Louisville and stop at cool shops there.  Some say it’s more fun than New Albany, but with the town flourishing recently, people are starting to disagree. There are plenty of groovy stores and restaurants popping up, and a lot of them are locally owned. People are attaining their dreams by opening their own shops, which makes coming to New Albany a little more pleasurable. No need to drive across the bridge for a good meal or a fun shopping excursion.

lf-done renovation, The Dandy Lion was opened by Ali and Ani Tucker with a grand-opening bash on August 14, 2010 that raked in over 400 people. What a great way to start a business, not to mention to celebrate their 26th birthday which would follow the next day. Having been born Leos, the lion mascot is perfect for these ladies and their new shop.

While Ani was working in Atlanta for TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress as an Assistant Manager and Bridal Consultant, Ali was packing up to join Ani in Georgia. When their mom was injured in early 2010, Ani came to New Albany to help. It all ended well with the introduction of the Dandy Lion.

Most of their 140 artists’ work comes from around the world through a website called “Etsy.” Ani and Ali are all about upcycling and anti-mass production. They are also very excited to be a part of a growing New Albany.

“With The Farmer’s Market, Dave’s Art Store, The Carnegie Center, and all the antique shops and other gems sprinkled on the streets nearby, it feels like our little creative district of New Albany,” Ani said.

Describing their store as “folky” and naming jewelry a top seller, the Tucker sisters are happy to have joined New Albany as it expands to welcome more retail influence and foot traffic.

utique alongside her husband Billy, has accomplished her childhood dream of having her own store. She is finally able to sell a large variety of handmade products from mostly local artists.

“Supporting local artists is really important to me and exciting in this little evolving town,” said Byrne, “And people really like the handmade wearables that Creative offers.”

She agrees that Downtown NA is absolutely growing.

“There’s actually stuff to come down and stay for. You can go to a restaurant, walk around to different boutiques, there’s salons and spas,” Byrne said.

With 67 out of 70 of her artists local, Byrne is very glad she and her husband took the risk of opening her own shop.

What used to be the place to go for barbeque has become a Leo’s Reader’s Choice Awards best beer list winner. The New Albanian Brewing Company, also known as Sportstime, Richo’s, and the NABC, is a micro-brewery and pizzeria that is helping contribute to the success and localist movement of New Albany. The restaurant is owned by Amy and Roger Baylor and Kate Lewison.

Samantha Davidson, a two and a half year employee very familiar with the workings of pizza-making, is pumped about the popular upside down pizza and the large development of New Albany.

“I encourage everyone to try to eat at more local restaurants,” Davidson said. “Support your community!”

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