Moving down the street
In 1954, a small children’s shoe store opened in the quaint Birmingham suburb of Homewood. Parents brought their children to have their feet sized and fitted, and walked out with a brand new pair of shoes. The store, which would become one of Birmingham’s retail icons, even had four locations in all at one point — Homewood, Hoover, Vestavia Hills, and Roebuck, although today the Homewood location is the one that remains.
Sike’s Children’s Shoes, and its sister store Jack n’ Jill Shop, recently moved locations for the first time since its inception in 1954.
“We had a 20-year lease that was expiring at the end of 2020,” says Laura Player, owner of Sike’s and Jack n’ Jill. “As 18th Street has become more of a shopping destination, it’s become tougher for our customers to find parking and get into the store. The time was right to take advantage of the opportunity to move to a brand new building.”
Player started working at Sike’s as a high schooler, obtaining the job through the DECA program at Homewood High School. While she worked on her degree at UAB, she continued to work there. Then-owner Frank Youngs promoted her to be manager of their Hoover location after she graduated from college. When he decided to retire in 2014, Player bought the two stores from him.
“Business has been brisk since we moved to our temporary location,” says Player. “We have the blessing of a loyal customer base, so they’ve rolled with us while we are waiting for construction to wrap up.”
The new store will have a combined showroom for both shoes and children’s clothing, with a central checkout area for both stores. Player thinks that customers will like the open floor plan and ease of shopping and checking out.
2020 was a significant challenge for small, locally-owned businesses, and it was no different for Sike’s and Jack n’ Jill. “We had to adapt to challenges none of us had ever faced,” says Player. “But, again, our fantastic customer base kept us going, and I’m so excited about this new chapter of our 66-year-old business.”