VESTAVIA HILLS – Jamie Pursell, proprietor of Leaf & Petal garden centers in Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook and Birmingham, is the 2019 Gold Alabama Retailer of the Year in the Annual Sales $5 Million to $20 Million category. Pursell was honored today during the Alabama Retail Day awards luncheon in Birmingham. The garden centers sell indoor/outdoor plants, statuary and garden décor, as well as local arts and wares, gourmet foods, furniture and home décor, among other products.
“Leaf & Petal started in 1974. It was part of a larger regional franchise that went from North Carolina down to Alabama,” Pursell said. “My family bought the business in 2005.” Leaf & Petal has been an Alabama Retail Association member since the Pursell family became involved. This is the second time it has been named an Alabama Retailer of the Year. In 2013, managers of its Mountain Brook location were the Bronze Retailer of the Year in the Annual Sales Less Than $1 Million category.
That same year after traveling with his wife to London, Pursell was inspired to create a new garden center development with a restaurant component like those common in the United Kingdom and Europe. The Leaf & Petal development based on that vision opened in the Cahaba Heights neighborhood of Vestavia Hills in 2018.
“While I wanted to have a food component, I didn’t want to have to learn a whole new business,” Pursell said. “Networking through friends and some relationships I already had, I partnered with a couple of other businesses in town that were looking to expand as well, and now we have a restaurant neighbor on either side of our garden center.” Crestline Bagel and El ZunZún are the book-end restaurants on the Leaf & Petal campus.
“That new store is impressive,” said one of the 2019 Retailer of the Year judges. “It is a big deal to see that, have the vision, then come back, build it and make it happen.” The judges also lauded Pursell for hiring veterans, people with disabilities and high school students.
Karen Odle, president and chief executive officer of the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce, who nominated Pursell, said, “Jamie does everything right. When he started planning this business, he went out and knocked door-to-door to talk to people in the community to get the buy-in before he started the build out. We were very impressed with how he approached the development.”
Leaf & Petal is one of 14 retail businesses honored today as Retailers of the Year. The Alabama Retailer of the Year awards, started in 1999, honor retailers who have demonstrated growth, innovation and a commitment to their respective communities. This year’s winners came from a pool of more than 70 nominees. “We are so blessed to have so many wonderful employees working for us and so many loyal, wonderful customers who come and see us, season after season,” Pursell said as he accepted his award.
“Jamie Pursell is a retailer of the year EVERY year to the Leaf and Petal customers, his 52 employees and the Vestavia Hills and Birmingham area communities,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown.
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,200 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.