New Ideal

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The New Ideal was a department store specializing in women's clothes in downtown Birmingham. It originated as the Ideal Department Store, founded Robert Aland in 1908. The store moved into the new 6-story Ideal Building at 111 19th Street North in 1928.

In 1935 the store's name was changed to "New Ideal" as it relocated to 1813 2nd Avenue North, between Pizitz and Sears. When Sears moved three blocks west to their new location in 1941, New Ideal took over their corner spot at 2nd Avenue North and 18th Street, which became known as the "New Ideal Building". After the construction of the Pizitz parking deck in 1965 New Ideal's owners painted their store's name on every level of their back wall where it was visible to drivers in the deck. A three-story annex was added to the east of the main building.

Ralph Aland headed the family business in the 1950s. By the late 1960s, Leon Aland was managing the company. He oversaw the opening of another location at West Lake Mall in 1969.

New Ideal closed around 1990. The vacant New Ideal building downtown was owned by Metropolitan LLC, which was working on plans for redevelopment. It was later purchased by H2 Real Estate, which plans to renovate it as the New Ideal Lofts in 2018-2019.


  • Polk's Birmingham (Jefferson County, Ala.) City Directory (1937) Richmond, Virginia: R. L. Polk & Co.
  • Buchanan, Charles (2012) Fading Ads of Birmingham. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press ISBN 9781609494834