Category Archives: Business Spotlight

The pun artist: Don Stewart of DSArt

Homewood artist Don Stewart with his Uncommon Valor print of the history of the Marine Corps. Photo by Rick Watson.


Don Stewart’s mother died unexpectedly when he was five years old, and it was then he knew he would become a doctor. But it wasn’t until the Homewood resident had completed medical school and was training as a surgeon that he realized practicing medicine did not make him happy—drawing did. So he walked out in the middle of his rounds.

That was 25 years ago, and he’s never regretted walking away. He had no idea how he would support himself drawing pictures with a ballpoint pen, but he knew he loved the work and believed he’d find a way. And he did.

Trying to categorize Stewart’s art is difficult. “I draw funny pictures that are made of puns that make people smile,” he said. “My job is to increase the endorphin levels of everyone that sees my pictures.”

An example is a golf bag made up of a set of clubs (playing cards that are all clubs), shooting iron (a pistol), trap (rat trap), driver (a hammer) and it’s all carried by a caddie (a Cadillac). The longer you look at the drawings, the more puns you see. Continue reading

Brandino Brass: Business Spotlight

Eric Brandino and his dad, Buster, re-established their family business, Brandino Brass, in Homewood in 2009. Photo by Craig Kleimeyer.


Brandino Brass doesn’t have their own brand, but the 63-year-old business has become so synonymous with hardware in Birmingham that people come into the store requesting it.

Tony Brandino, who passed away in May at age 96, started the business in 1948.
“He loved to sell and take care of people, and he treated all of his employees and customers like family,” said Tony’s grandson, Eric.

Tony, an avid University of Alabama fan who attended 500 consecutive football games, worked closely with Birmingham’s architects and designers as well as generations of homeowners. The store still sees customers come in whose parents and grandparents worked with Tony over the years. Continue reading

Business Spotlight: General Pest Control

Terry Freeman owns General Pest Control and has recently started a new business, Wildlife Management. Photo by Craig Kleimeyer.


Terry Freeman has been capturing wildlife since he was a child in the late 1950s. Growing up on the bayous in Gulfport, Miss., he quickly realized his love for hunting and capturing animals. Today, he owns and operates General Pest Control and his newest business endeavor, Wildlife Management.

Freeman got into the business in 1987. A friend suggested Freeman open a cable company, but he started a pest control business instead.

“I thought that I just needed a truck and a sprayer and to put some flowers out, and I could go to work,” Freeman said. “But, I ended up having a difficult time.”

He soon learned he needed certification and licensure by the State Department of Agriculture and took a crash course from Purdue University on pest control technology. Continue reading

The Maids: Business Spotlight


Kathy and David Senseman own Homewood The Maids franchise. Photo by Craig Kleimeyer.

Kathy Senseman is a Registered Dietician. Her husband, David, worked in medical sales. But since 1987 they have been in the business of keeping homes clean and healthy.

“You just never know where professional life will take you,” Kathy said. “We were looking to have our own business, and this one seemed to be one with opportunities.” Continue reading

The Best of Homewood 2012


The Homewood Star would like to thank everyone who voted in our first Best of Homewood competition. Congratulations to all our winners.

Best Coffee Shop
O’Henry’s Coffees
O’Henry’s helps us start the day off right with fresh muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls and of course a hot cup of coffee. Their coffee beans are delivered fresh to the store every week, and you can choose from up to 45 coffees by the pound. It’s the perfect study spot and also great for catching up with a friend. 2831 18th Street South, 870-1198. 569 Brookwood Village, Ste. 101, 870-1148.
Runner Up: Hart and Soul

Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Best Hamburger

Best Hamburger
With a variety of hamburgers and hot dogs plus Cajun-style fries cooked in pure, no cholesterol, peanut oil, this place is hard to beat. Also, you can choose as many free toppings as you want for your burgers or dog. And to top it off, they offer the delicious complimentary roasted peanuts. 585 Brookwood Village, 414-8459
Runner Up: Hamburger Heaven

Best Barbecue
Saw’s BBQ
Saw’s Sauce is so good you can now find it at grocery stores all over the country, but all those other places don’t get to eat red or white sauce atop Saw’s tender pulled pork, smoked chicken and ribs like we do here in Edgewood. The barbecue institution also offers all the barbecue fixings we love as well as stuffed taters. 1008 Oxmoor Road, 879-1937
Runner Up:  Jim N Nick’s Bar-B-Q Continue reading

D1 Birmingham: Business Spotlight

Geoffrey Connor, MD. Photos courtesy of KC Projects.

In his words, Dr. Geoffrey Connor enjoys being close to the action. And as a founder of Homewood’s D1 Sports Medicine; a physician at Alabama Orthopedic, Spine and Sports Medicine Associates at St. Vincent’s East; the team doctor for the HHS football team; not to mention a husband and father-of-two; it’s safe to say action is a part of his daily routine. He’s also extensively published, well traveled and fluent in Italian.

Connor landed in Homewood by way of his residency and internship at UAB, and more importantly, through meeting his wife, Tammy, who grew up here. They have settled in Hollywood, making his commute to D1 about a mile, and Tammy’s interior design business is just down the road on Oxmoor.

“My grocer, dry cleaner, pharmacy, and favorite places to eat are all basically on the same couple of streets,” said Connor. “My wife’s family lives right around the corner.  We are pretty much Everybody Loves Raymond come to life.”

The D1 sports training facility opened near Brookwood Medical Center in June of 2010 and is co-owned by former Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle and linebacker DeMeco Ryans along with UAB Olympian Vonetta Flowers. This location is the tenth opening of the nationwide D1 franchise, which was founded by Will Bartholomew in Franklin, Tenn. Continue reading

Homewood Family and Cosmetic Dentistry: Business Spotlight


Julie Webb, DMD and Deanne Vail, DMD of Homewood Cosmetic and Family Dentistry. Photo by Anna Cate Little.

Customers age two to 98 come to Homewood Family & Cosmetic Dentistry for everything from routine cleanings to veneers, whitening and implants. Homewood resident and mom-of-four Deanne Vail, DMD and her partner, Hoover resident Julie Webb, DMD have been in practice on Oxmoor Road since 2006. While February is officially “National Children’s Dental Health Month,” this Homewood business is dedicated to children’s (and adults’) oral health each and every month.

“February is an optimal time to reinforce the importance of good oral health,” said Vail. “We always stress to our patients that regular dental cleanings and checkups every six months are vital to maintaining the health of one’s mouth.”

Each February, the staff visits local elementary schools and preschools to educate kids on proper brushing and flossing in both technique and frequency. They also discuss the importance of a balanced diet in minimizing the effects of dental decay.
Continue reading