By Wil Crews
Opelika Observer

Customers who enter The Gallery on Railroad become immersed in the luxurious, ornate and welcoming atmosphere. It has been that way for four decades.

The Gallery, located at 809 S Railroad Ave. in downtown Opelika, is a “unique, eclectic treasure” that specializes in custom framing, fine art and home and gift accessories.

“Our main business, when we opened 40 years ago, was a custom frame shop and art gallery,” said owner Debbie Purves. “I don’t know when I started with the little accessories but I started with enough to fill a corner and it has just grown.”

Celebrating their 40th anniversary on arguably Opelika’s most recognizable street, when the Gallery opened in May of 1980, downtown Opelika was not like it is today.

“We were the first people to renovate a building down here,” Purves said. “Most people thought we had lost our minds.“

Purves said she considers herself fortunate to have witnessed downtown’s transformation over the years.

Photo by Robert Noles/Opelika Observer

“It means everything, it was a dream,” she said. “Growing up as a little girl, downtown was where everyone went. When the malls opened and seeing how everything downtown sort of decayed, it’s nice to see it’s all been brought back.”

With coronavirus afflicting so many business, Purves said that The Gallery has actually been doing great.

“People are home and seeing the things that they have wanted to do for a long time.”

So, speaking of a long time, what do the next 40 years hold for The Gallery?

“I don’t know; I’m here, keeping on keeping on,” Purves said.  “I hope people just stay safe and keep preserving our beautiful town.”