Monte Sano is a popular destination for runners, walkers, bikers and families who want to hit the trails or picnic areas of the state park. Otherwise, it’s mostly a residential community, interspersed with a TV station, a fire station and an elementary school.
But five years ago, Ana Byrne, Ph.D., a Huntsville psychologist and married mother of two grown boys, opened The Little Green Store in a 12X18 space next to her office on Monte Sano Boulevard.
I had driven by the store a few times, assuming it was a quaint neighborhood grocer, catering to mountain residents and visitors, maybe offering Monte Sano-related souvenirs. Perceptions are funny. And often wrong.
The Little Green Store on Monte Sano is reason enough for anyone to trek up the mountain.
Byrne started the store with a few selections of local and recycled art, hence the name. Over time, her offerings grew and she has expanded twice, creating a unique gift shop on Monte Sano that could double as an art gallery. It’s something you’d find in an edgy or posh area in Atlanta or any other big city, but it’s cozily nestled high atop Monte Sano.
“We have a very diverse clientele,” said Byrne. “Everyone is fascinated by creativity and novelty. Monte Sano residents embraced us first, but today we have customers from all over North Alabama.”
If you are searching for that truly unique item, for yourself or someone else, you will likely find it at The Little Green Store. My favorites are the “spiritiles.” These tiles have artistic images on the front and inspirational quotes scribed around the sides by Atlanta-based creator Houston Llew.
Besides traditional art, The Little Green Store offers wooden art, glass, as well as artistic accessories, such as scarves, jewelry and even a wooden bow tie, which Byrne says has become an unexpected hit. Local artists include Carole Foret, Ursula Vann, Lee Ann Satterfield, Rickie Higgins, Eva Ziegler, Rocket City Glass Girls and “many other wonderful artisans.” It also features Fred bread and a lovely selection of wine.
On Saturdays, come hungry and treat yourself to some fabulous fare from Chris and Monte’s Cajun Food Truck.
Byrne, who has a Ph.D from the University of Miami, has been serving Huntsville as a psychologist since 1988. Her clinical practice includes individuals with developmental delays, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, behavior problems, depression and anxiety, family conflict, grief and loss, as well as assessment of gifted students.
A noted success in her first field, Byrne is now proving successful in her side venture, which she jokingly calls her mid-life crisis. But there is one benefit each job offers that makes her love them both: “The people I work with and meet daily.”
Can’t make it up the mountain? The Little Green Store recently extended its reach beyond the Tennessee Valley, thanks to its new online store. If you want to check out this retail gem in person, it’s located at 820 Monte Sano Boulevard. The Little Green Store on Monte Sano is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm, or by appointment. You can call 256-539-9699 for more information.