Loyal Stricklin is an idea built from nothing. One hide turned to two, two to four, and four to many more. With a few simple tools, we began our story: one built on hard work, late nights, and too many cups of coffee. We were tired of purchasing low quality goods that didn’t last more than a few months, and we realized that many others out there felt the same way. Our studio is located in the historic Opelika, AL train depot, the reason for the town’s—and Auburn University’s existence. Often the train rushes by, drowning out the sounds of work, reminding us that its presence created the space we now call home. At Loyal Stricklin, we believe in community; the careful selection of materials; smart, simple design; and the beauty in products that age and patina with grace— and are all the better because of it.
« WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT ALABAMA?
Growing up I always thought I would want to leave Alabama as soon as I could, but as I grew older and got to see the world a little bit, I realized that Alabama had something that nowhere else does: it is home. I grew up here. I went to school here. I started my first two businesses here, and it is still my home. I love everything about Alabama: the people, the beauty, the culture, and especially the food. Alabama will always be home.
« WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT IN ALABAMA?
Sam’s Super Samwiches in Homewood for breakfast. I’ve loved going since I was in high school and always find at least one morning to stop in every time I’m home. It’s a classic good breakfast: two eggs, melted cheese, and thick sliced ham on a hot hamburger bun with mayonnaise. Delicious.
« IF SOMEONE WAS COMING TO VISIT YOU FROM OUT OF TOWN, WHERE IS THE ONE PLACE YOU WOULD TAKE THEM?
I’d take them on a tour of all of our local coffee shops, my storefront and workshop, and then probably just try to get outdoors at Mt. Cheaha or Tuskeegee or just a drive around the nearby countryside.
« IN ONE WORD, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE ALABAMA?
Does Sweet Home count?
« WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS ONE OF ALABAMA’S BEST KEPT SECRETS?
Every time I travel to a big city, people are surprised to see that my business is located in Alabama. They just can’t believe that a relatively unknown brand like mine was born and bred here. There is something special going on in Alabama right now, one built on hard work and individuals striving for their dreams. Many Alabamians, especially young adults, have found a lacking job market and instead of sitting around, have taken their fate into their own hands—building their dreams off their talents and skill sets, even developing new skills through determination and perseverance. From small towns like Opelika, where I live, all the way up to Birmingham, there is a resurgence in creativity and business that is unprecedented. The South is already a mysterious place to those not from here, and Alabama is booming with a revival in Southern heritage, style, and a rustic flair unique, authentic, and relatable to people all across America. Alabama is a genuine place, where people greet strangers, and hold doors open for each other, saying “excuse me”, “thank you”, and “please”, and I think it’s beautiful.
All photography by Sarah Lolley
We’re giving away this Aviator Mug by Loyal Stricklin to one lucky winner! One winner will be chosen Wednesday, December 10th at 5:00 p.m. Head over to our Instagram to enter!
Thanks for sharing with us, Michael! Loyal Stricklin Aviator Mugs will be available later this week at Soca Birmingham!