Ever since the age of 4, Ciera Carter has wanted to own her own shop and business. Back then she thought it would be a kids’ store, but in high school, she got bit by the “re-purposing bug.” She and her then- boyfriend-now-husband Josh “started building stuff,” as she says. Josh knew how to weld, and that was when they officially began to “build the dream.” It’s now 20 years later from the time she first thought about being a business owner, and “the dream” is named “The Bird’s Nest.” It is a charming little shop located in Elkmont at 18820 Upper Fort Hampton Road, right across from Belle Chevre Creamery.
Ciera is 24, the mother of two little girls, Reese and Marley, and has had the chance to “layer in” another part of her dream. She is enjoying being a part of history and a wonderful legacy. You see, The Bird’s Nest is located in what was the first hospital in Limestone County, known as “Powers’ Hospital.” Her grandmother worked for Dr. A.D. Powers for many years, and Ciera, who grew up in the area, says she “always felt drawn to the building.” As we chatted, she said with contentment, “I just love this building.” On the wall behind the checkout counter, there is a picture of the building “back in the day,” as well as a bit about the other docs who ran their practices from it: Drs. Joe Maples and Will Maples, Dr. C.V. Mayhall, and Dr. Joe Whitfield. She most definitely has good reason to feel at home in her “Nest.”
She and Josh had been vendors at another location, and when the old hospital/clinic became available, they worked hard to snap up the spot, and opened for business this spring. Her family, observing the Carter’s hard work, knowledge of paint, distressing, and antiquing, strongly encouraged them to “go for it.” Ciera told me something interesting about the power of support from loved ones: “they told us we should do this for the public.” They have been there for Ciera and Josh when, as she describes it, “We didn’t know what we were doing, and made a lot of mistakes.” During our interview, her dad, Paul King, came in, and she told me with pride, “He’s a triplet, and they were the first triplets to graduate from Elkmont High!”
Athens Now has several clients who are “re-purposers,” and as “shabby chic” continues to garner a significant portion of the home décor market, competition has increased. I asked Ciera why I should buy from The Bird’s Nest, especially when I have several choices. She said, “I like what I am doing. It’s a hobby, but it’s more than that. I don’t dread going to work, I like it.” Ciera also told me, “We have a wide variety of items for sale, and things are always changing.” Finally, she said, “We have something for everyone at every price range.”
Some of those “somethings” include: a coffee table made out of an engine block, beautiful furniture, (both painted as well as with the original finish, all at reasonable prices), humorous as well as touching wall art, children’s clothing and furniture, jewelry, and “tree tables,” (which are some of my favorites.) The “tree tables” go back to their high school days, and can be charming in everything from a cabin to a new construction family room.
The Bird’s Nest also has vendors from here to Indiana. “The Nest” carries a line of flameless candles called “Warm Glow.” The Indiana family that makes them started out in a basement, and have since added fragrant sprays and scent chips for wax diffusers to their “hobby-turned-business.” In Warm Glow, Ciera has found a kindred spirit. Locally, the shop carries goat milk and shea butter products made by Stephanie Fish. Stephanie, who hails from Limestone County, calls her product line, “Sooner or Lather.”
So, what’s ahead for The Bird’s Nest? Ciera is going to make dried arrangements, some of which will be from items she has grown herself. Currently she has lavender flourishing in her garden at home, and will add cotton, millet, wheat and boxwood. They will be displayed in all manner of re-purposed containers, and designed for year round or seasonal use. In addition, once she gets The Bird’s Nest firmly established, she wants to open another shop in a farmhouse, fully decorate it in cream and neutral tones using the shabby chic motif, and continue her legacy of carefully and cleverly re-purposing items and buildings for the pleasure of the public.
Come and “nest,” at The Bird’s Nest, and see what the Carters have come up with next!
The Bird’s Nest
18820 Upper Fort Hampton Road Elkmont, AL 35620
Hours: Tue-Fri 10-5, Sat 9-6, Sun 12-5
Facebook: The Bird’s Nest
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner