If you were looking to do your Black Friday or Small Business Saturday shopping in Birmingham, there may be no better year than 2012.
According to John Heiney, director of the Birmingham Principal Shopping District, the occupancy rate among downtown shops, restaurants and offices is at 96.3 percent — a 10 year high.
"This has been an excellent year for Birmingham's retail in terms of new store openings," Heiney said.
In total, almost 30 new shops and restaurants have opened in downtown Birmingham in 2012 so far. Headlining those openings is Friday's grand opening of Lululemon, the upscale yoga and athletics shop that has renovated and moved into the former Ann Taylor Loft location at the corner of Old Woodward and Maple.
What else has opened in downtown Birmingham this year? Consider these new shops and local hotspots when making your Christmas list:
- Metropolitan Tailoring (357 S. Old Woodward)
- Happy Dino Playcare (375 Hamilton Row)
- Axis Music Academy (283 Hamilton Row)
- Elements Therapeutic Massage (755 E. Maple Rd.)
- Level Multisport (528 N. Old Woodward)
- What Crepe (172 N. Old Woodward)
- Mobili Now (746 E. Maple Rd.)
- Head to Toe (915 E. Maple Rd.)
- Platform (168 W. Maple Rd.)
- Farida Salon (975 E. Maple Rd.)
- Touch of India (297 E. Maple Rd.)
- REVIVE (157 W. Maple Rd.)
- Fifi & Coco's Gallerie (700 N. Old Woodward)
- Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse (201 S. Old Woodward)
- Social Kitchen & Bar (225 E. Maple Rd.)
- Snug Camisoles (1024 S. Old Woodward)
- Churchill's Bistro & Cigar Bar (116 S. Old Woodward)
- Try It Raw (213 E. Maple Rd.)
- Old Woodward Shave Company (164 S. Old Woodward)
- Liquid Lunch Cafe (750 S. Old Woodward)
- Art of Strength (1025 Webster Ave.)
- Blue Yoga (161 Townsend St.)
- Maple (168 W. Maple Rd.)
- Releve (160 Elm St.)
- Illusionz (142 S. Old Woodward)
- The Socialite Beauty Bar (191 N. Old Woodward)
- Sherwin Williams (820 S. Old Woodward)
- Jarbo Collection (203 E. Maple Rd.)
Scheduled for opening later this year and early in January is Market, a new bistro concept on N. Old Woodward; Francesca's Collection, which will open in Lululemon; Bistro Joe's, a bistro slated to open in Papa Joe's; and Custom Elegance Group, LLC, slated to open at 280 E. Merrill.