Beyond the Build

The Weekend

On the Road Again

Last Saturday, I felt like a trip to the Black Belt of our state for a couple of stops. Greensboro was first up. I had visited this small town several years ago when my friend Pamela Dorr led a hand-built bamboo bike shop called HERObike and Pie Lab. Greensboro is a sweet town, still beautiful, but different since my last visited. Pamela has moved closer to her roots, and sometimes when the leadership leaves, their initiatives leave as well. Those shops I frequented in years past have since closed, but the town looked great, and a new Pie Lab & Coffee shop are in the making.

Just down the road in Newbern, Auburn’s Rural Studio is running strong. There is a really cool restaurant next door that is frequented by the locals. I got to meet a couple of architecture professors from Mississippi State who were having lunch there as well, and we had a nice conversation. Like me, they like to get off the interstate and travel the back roads.

My last stop was Uniontown, where my friend Trés Taylor and his wife, Helene, were painting a mural with the help of community volunteers. I got to do a little painting myself and learned that Trés has a goal of painting 20 brick wall murals in Black Belt towns and around his home of Selma. I am glad to call him and Helene my friends and have commissioned them to create another piece for our office. Stay tuned.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.