Hidden Gems: Finding piece of mind

By Lauren Lane | Staff Reporter

Hidden Gems: Finding piece of mind

Restoring Piece is located in downtown Northport. CW | Shelby Akin

The moment she entered, she knew this was a place she wanted to work.

“I think Restoring Piece is a lot different than normal Tuscaloosa shops,” Albert said. “It offers an experience and products different than what Midtown Village or somewhere more popular like that can offer.”

The store carries handmade jewelry, stationery, customized artwork and one-of-a-kind home decor, which they are most known for.

“My wife loves to decorate, and she wanted to find unusual pieces to decorate her house with,” said Brandon Bowen, co-owner of Restoring Piece.

Bowen said his wife was unhappy with the selection she found around town, and together, the couple began deconstructing old houses and investigating Tuscaloosa for junk to restore in order to create their dream home.

“We just started collecting neat little odds and ends to decorate our house with and then started selling them locally, and business just exploded,” Bowen said.

In a brave but hopeful initiative, both quit their day jobs. They then began to create, build and restore one-of-a-kind pieces until they were able to eventually open up their own store 
last December.

They haven’t looked back since.

Each day in downtown Northport may seem quiet for some, but the inside of Restoring Piece is bustling with chatter between local customers and buzzing with electric saws. Creative minds merge to create the perfect chair and Halloween decoration for their 
cozy home.

“We try to focus on creating and restoring items that are one-of-a-kind, either handmade by us or another artist. If it’s something that’s a reproduced piece, we try to be the only ones in Tuscaloosa that carries those brands,” Bowen said.

Albert said that in her few, short weeks working at Restoring Piece, she enjoyed getting to see customer’s ideas come to life through the help of Brandon and Jeni. Albert has even begun to sell her own artwork in the store. She said the whimsical atmosphere helped her create some of her best pieces.

Restoring Piece offers weekend classes for all ages and also hosts events for groups wanting to create seasonal or custom artwork for their homes. Those who take the classes get step-by-step instructions and materials and get to leave with a handmade piece of artwork.

“In our store, you find things here you can’t find anywhere else,” Bowen said “We are proud to be the only store in Tuscaloosa like this.”

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