Opening in 1954, Normandale Shopping Center was the first of its kind in Alabama. It consisted of a single level of retail stores anchored by Winn-Dixie. In 1956, the strip mall was expanded to include a two-level (84,000 square foot) Loveman's Department Store. Normandale had a covered open air "arcade" in the center and was home to many stores including Woolworth's, Brenner's Shoe Factory, Buster Brown Shoes, Liger's Bakery, and Francis Cafeteria. But, Loveman's was the focal point and at Christmas, its massive floor to ceiling windows on the 2nd floor of the storefront featured Santa Claus!
It was the best place in the city for children to visit Santa, have their picture made and get a huge candy cane. During a visit, shoppers could also enjoy the artfully decorated windows in all of the stores. For those familiar with Montgomery during the 50s, 60s and 70s, Normandale Shopping Center is embedded in the culture. And the beautiful iconic windows of Loveman's during the holiday season is etched in the memories of Montgomerians.