I make my way over to Birmingham a few times a year. It’s a great town. We’ve enjoyed the food scene, the festivals, and the people. Birmingham has a great vibe. Uniquely Southern, and established. I was happy to head over last weekend to bring Mrs. RCS to a friend’s baby shower. This gave me a couple hours to do something I’ve been looking forward to doing for quite some time: visit Mountain Brook and see Harrison Limited.
Harrison Limited is the perfect example of an established, modern men’s store. They are celebrating their 25th year in business, and have navigated their way through Birmingham’s growth, different economic conditions, and have become one of the best places for a man to build a wardrobe. There is nothing stodgy about Harrison. It’s a friendly place, where the guys are genuinely happy to see you. They are more interested in the conversation than a big sale. That’ll usually take care of itself. There aren’t a million items on the shelves, rather smart choices that make it easy for guys to make the right choices. I’ll get into those details in a bit.
Harrison is perfectly located in Mountain Brook Village, which is a walkable outdoor, tree-lined shopping experience. The store is roughly 1500 square feet, and very well put together. By no means is it overstuffed, but the space is well organized, where every inch is accounted for. Proprietor Scott Pyburn has been running the show since the beginning. He really knows his stuff, and is a cool cat. I’ve been following Harrison Limited online for some time, and was introduced to Scott by Michael Williams, who couldn’t say enough nice things about him, or his store. I was really excited to go spend some time checking it out.
First, let’s talk about the Harrison Badge Twill Khakis that are absolutely outstanding. They hit all the right notes: very tight Japanese twill fabric, on-seam pockets with soft lining, and natural corazo buttons. They are offered in regular and trim fits, so they don’t require a bunch of alterations.
Another nice touch: they aren’t labeled. Instead, they are stamped on the pocket liner:
The Badge Khakis are an investment-grade pair of pants that you’ll take care of. These are the khakis that you get tailored, and keep your diet in check so you don’t have to get them let out. Put a 2″ cuff on these with an ever-so-slight break and you’re in business.
The Alden collection at Harrison is very impressive. Penny loafers, brogues, chukkas, and tassel loafers are all well represented, in different leathers and different colors. I’ve got my eye on some of his ‘special editions’, like the natural chromexcel tassels (forth from the left). Those will be mine…oh yes.
The chromexcel full strap penny loafers (first on the left) are another killer pair of shoes.
The dress shirt selection is very impressive, with a lot of Talbott, and a recent addition of the Ledbury line.
Scott and I had a great chat. It’s nice to spend time with people that are passionate about what they do, and when they run one of the best men’s stores in the US, that passion is about people, and menswear. He knows his store isn’t for everyone, but he wants everyone to be comfortable in his shop. His staff is very accommodating. We had a great discussion about tailored jackets, great lunch spots in the area, and Scotty Cameron putters.
What’s Harrison all about?
SP: ‘We are a mens store that has our own character; our own perspective on menswear. We have a great customer base here in Birmingham, but we also see a lot of guys in town on business come in, as well as guys with kids at Samford or Birmingham Southern. Just about all of them tell us they’ve never seen anything like our place.’
There is a communal feel at Harrison. They are the epitome of the new Birmingham, and love to service the area.
What kind of guy shops at Harrison?
SP: ‘We’ve got guys in here in their 20s, and up to whatever. We’ve got something here to make any guy feel comfortable’
The sport coat and blazer selection is second to none. There are more plaids and exploding jackets than you can shake a stick at.
What do you like to do when you aren’t in the shop?
SP: ‘I like to play golf, work in the yard, and drink red wine.’
Cab or Pinot?
My kind of guy.
I travel to quite a few stores all over the US. Retail is a tough game, especially for men. I spent an hour in Harrison talking with Scott and his staff, and wish it could have been longer. They are genuine guys who make the experience a pleasure. Not only that, the inventory is spot on. They are dialed in. I’m smiling as I type this, because it was that good. There is no way I don’t stop by when I’m in (or near) Birmingham.
Do yourself a favor and go see this place. Whether you are a menswear nerd like me, or have a slight interest in clothes, Harrison is an excellent experience. There really is something for everyone – whether it’s a special make pair of Aldens, or just a good conversation about SEC football. You won’t be disappointed.
2801 Cahaba Road
Mountain Brook, AL 35223