Adventure in Cullman

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Adventures of Hope:

A Black Warrior Riverkeeper Intern’s Day in Cullman



Cullman, Alabama is smaller than the two biggest cities in the Black Warrior River watershed – Birmingham and Tuscaloosa – but this historic town near the watershed’s northern border is definitely worth a visit. The magic of Cullman permeates the town’s local shops, with citizens waiting to share its unique story.

Last week, I set out to explore Cullman for the first time while helping spread the word about Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s work to protect local water resources.





My first stop was an outdoor sports and goods store, Werner’s Trading Company. I met the owner, Robert Werner, and his friendly pup Ola. I presented Robert with a plaque from Black Warrior Riverkeeper to thank him for sponsoring Earthbound’s Earthfest, an annual Earth Day event in Birmingham supporting environmental advocacy. He encouraged me to look around, and I quickly saw the store’s personality come alive through its product diversity. You can find anything from outdoor gear to cooking supplies, mountain bikes to custom visors, and everyday clothing to craft beer in Werner’s. Truly a place for everyone, the store illustrates Robert’s passion for providing a place for family and friends to come together.



My next stop was Southern Accents, an architectural antique shop right in the heart of Cullman. The store consisted of a large two-story building and a separate warehouse in the back. Before meeting the owners, I did a little exploring. Within its walls, Southern Accents held countless antique doors, windows, tables and so on. It was easy to fall in love with the store, but its story (which I heard from the owners) was even more compelling. Southern Accents began as one man’s hobby to preserve things he found beautiful. Soon, Dr. Garlan Gudger’s collection of architectural salvage drew crowds and allowed him to create a business and livelihood.









Dr. Gudger’s mission bears an interesting resemblance to that of the organization I was promoting throughout Cullman. Black Warrior Riverkeeper dedicates its time and resources to protecting a watershed that affects people across the state. With that same passion for preservation, it creates a livelihood for others. With these thoughts in mind, I left behind stickers and business cards and headed to grab coffee.






Berkeley Bob’s coffee house is filled with a unique atmosphere. Locals stop in for Fair Trade coffees and pastries made from organic and natural ingredients. The baristas are eager to chat with anyone that walks in and help you transcend your usual coffee house experience. With a wall lined with large jars of tea leaves and mugs of all shapes and sizes, Berkeley Bob’s was another example of how there really is something for everyone in Cullman.






From furniture to second-hand bookstores, Cullman’s collection of businesses illustrates a variety that everyone can appreciate. As I recall my day in Cullman, I can solely focus on its spirit. Community involvement, family and inspiration are what Cullman stands for. Within each shop is someone waiting to share his or her passion with every customer. Cullman is a town that was founded by German immigrants who had a dream of starting over and creating their own story. Today, the citizens of Cullman are still fulfilling this dream.




Author Hope Runyan, a senior at The University of Alabama, has received a grant from the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation to work with Black Warrior Riverkeeper. Runyan, a senior majoring in public relations, works for the organization as a communications intern throughout the summer. The grant, provided by a partnership between the Munson Foundation and The University of Alabama’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations, is the highest award given to a student in the College of Communication and Information Sciences. Read about all of Hope’s internship adventures here:

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