cloud nine

Cloud Nine co-owner Sarah Neighbors pulls through clothes for a client. The store will celebrate its 20th year of business Thursday.

It’s time to get out china giftware as the anniversary present for Cloud Nine.

Cloud Nine is celebrating 20 years of being in business Thursday and Main Street will be blocked off for live music and businesses will be open later.

“We want this to be a celebration for us as well as for Alex City,” store manager Amanda Silavent said.

The business will celebrate from 5 to 7 p.m. but Cloud Nine will be closed from 2 to 5 p.m. to prepare that day.

Ocie & Belles will release a signature drink for the event and restaurants are encouraged to stay open, according to co-owner Sarah Neighbors.

The store has already been celebrating with giveaways every day in August and will have door prizes for customers who buy items Thursday. The first 20 customers will also get gift bags.

Cloud Nine started 20 ago with nine women who started a small gifts store to preserve a building, according to Neighbors. All nine women had their own section of the store they sold items from.

“A friend of ours was the (Main Street Alexander City) program manager at the time and she got nine women together who were willing to do it and we only worked every ninth day so it wasn’t a huge commitment,” Neighbors said.

The store started with gifts before expanding to apparel and then shoes. All of the sections combined into one store in 2005 and it moved into its current building five years ago.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years,” Neighbors said. “It’s gone by really fast. We’ve enjoyed it.”

Neighbors and Amy Hill are the only co-owners remaining from the original store.

Operating in a small town can be challenging at times.

“Trends change every day and something that might sell in Auburn won’t sell here,” Silavent said. “We don’t know why but it varies.”

Neighbors said her favorite part of the job is interacting with customers.

“It not only celebrates us, which we’re celebrating our birthday and still being here because of small towns,” Neighbors said. “It is hard for small retail businesses to stay open … we want to bring people downtown and show them what we have to offer.”