Pickard inherits heart, head of business

Published 3:30 pm Monday, January 24, 2011

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

Alan Pickard inherited a head and a heart for business.

Excellent customer service in retail business was engrained in Pickard from a very early age.

It is a part of his genetic makeup having a grandfather, father and uncle who owned a clothing store for more than 50 years, and a mother who with two friends, opened the state’s first cooking store in the ’70s.

After opening and successfully working as a merchandising manager for another party store in Birmingham, Alan left to follow the American dream of owning his own business.

“Sometimes it’s a dream. Sometimes it’s a nightmare, but it’s always an education — like my dad promised me it would be,” Alan said with a smile.

In the middle of North Shelby County’s phenomenal growth spurt, Pickard opened Alan’s Invitations in 1993.

In its original location off I-65 South on Valleydale Road in Hoover, Alan’s is the largest invitation and fine stationery store in the area.

Alan Pickard inherited his head and heart for business from his grandfather, father and uncle. (Contributed / Beth Chapman)

Their main focus is on wedding invitations and printing genuinely engraved and letter-pressed invitations, many in hand-drawn calligraphy.

Not only does Alan’s work with people in Shelby County and all over the state, they have grown into a national business via alansinvitation.com.

Not only did Alan grow up in the retail business, he married into it as well.

While talking about typestyles and papers, he met his wife, Beth.

At the time, she owned her own business, Fabulous Designs.

In addition to loving the work he does, Alan and Beth enjoy spending time with their Westie, Daisy.

Alan’s offers a large variety of invitations and other party accessories.

However, what he offers that attracts people most is a down-home customer service and a sure-to-please attitude that is rare to find in the retail business today.

Whether Alan’s business skills and abilities were inherited or not, there is no doubt he has them.

He has proven it over the course of the past 18 years and uses them on a daily basis in one of Hoover and Shelby County’s finest businesses.

Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident and writes a weekly column for the Shelby County Reporter. You can reach her at bethchapman@bellsouth.net.