MYN Blair Goodgame.jpg
Blair Goodgame sat at the bar in the kitchen of her downtown loft, sipping an energy drink on the rocks and speaking about economic growth in Pell City when Roman, the blue Great Dane, left his pillow by the window overlooking Cogswell Avenue and placed his head in her lap.
She patted him affectionately and laughed.  “He’s the world’s biggest lap dog,” she said of her pet, which was eight weeks old and weighed 23 pounds when she got him.  Four years later, Roman weighs about six times that much, and is more than three feet tall from paw to shoulder.
“He was born in Sulligent, and we had to drive down 12 dirt roads to get him,” Goodgame said.  “My mom blames it on my affinity for watching Scooby-Doo when I was little.”
The distinctive Roman is often seen with Goodgame walking around Pell City and at Lakeside Package, which she opened two years ago at Lakeside Landing.  The firewater emporium is nominated for the Pell City Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Business of the Year Award.
She went on to explain what led her to opening the business, what she enjoys about living downtown, and why there is a skeletal arm on the steamer trunk that serves as her living room coffee table.
About Lakeside Package:  “People tell us all the time that we’re not the typical package and liquor store.  We’ve worked hard to make it a nice, upscale environment, as warm and inviting as it’s possible for a package store to be.”  It offers beer, wine, premium liqueurs, barware and glassware, party supplies, college football-themed coolers and a variety of specialized services such as gift wrapping and catering.  “When we started, I didn’t realize how specialized we’d end up being.”
Her favorite cocktail:  “Vodka martini, straight up.  And if there are bleu cheese olives included, I’m a happy girl.”
Loft living in downtown Pell City: “My favorite thing about 1917 Cogswell is the city-feel you get from the second you start to ascend the stairs. It is truly unlike any other place in Pell City. Having a business here, being involved in many civic organizations here, and my family being from Pell City, it only made sense for me to live in Pell City instead of making the commute back here from Birmingham. So the loft was the closest thing to a city-feel I was going to find in my hometown. The tiled ceilings, the original hardwood floor, and the best view of Cogswell Avenue one could ask for, made it hard to resist in our small town community.”
Downtown after 5:30 p.m.: “Ghost town. Like an old western movie—you can watch the waves of sand and tumbleweeds roll on through. Except on the city’s new Fourth Fridays. These days have been a great way to promote shopping locally and to encourage the community to interact with each other. We have averaged several hundred people each Friday so far, a number we are hoping to continue to see grow. 
“This month, September 27, the theme is Downtown Fall Kick-Off and Tailgate Party. Many of the stores are offering discounts or specials if you are sporting your favorite team’s attire. Next month, on October 25, the Downtown Committee and the Chamber of Commerce are bringing a ‘Halloween Spooktacular’ to Cogswell. There will be trick-or-treating, costume contests, pumpkin carving contests, and much, much more. Hoping to see a large turnout with the live music, kids’ activities, and the antique car show.” 
The person she most admires: “My mother, Cindy Goodgame, whom I always refer to as ‘Cita.’ My mother has always been my best friend and the most amazing source of encouragement and creativity possible. My mother has put my education first because she has instilled in me that education can change the world—and it’s one of very few gifts that can only broaden your horizons and never be taken back. My mother has been my biggest supporter and has always been my champion in my absence. 
“She is slowly turning into her father, Floyd ‘Sonny’ Goodgame. He was an avid outdoorsman who was truly dedicated to this community. Civic involvement was instilled in her by her father, the same way my mother passed it along to me.  Cita is my hero: a cancer survivor, a business owner, an artist, a philanthropist and an incredible and inspiring woman who I am lucky to call my mother.”
Her greatest fear: “Showing weakness. Being raised by my mother, she has always taught me to be a strong, independent woman. And let’s be honest, we still live in a man’s world, but being a woman in it, I am going to do all I can to equal the playing field. I am a woman who can run in high heels.  And the higher, the better.”
A close second:  “Cockroaches. The most vile creatures known to man.”
How she describes herself:  “A Southern belle with a modern twist.  I have deep Southern values, and I don’t understand the concept of being bored.  There’s always something to learn and experience.”
The best advice she ever received: “A family friend has always said, ‘It’s not who you know, but who knows you.’ This has always stood out because if you work hard, follow through, and give your all, people will recognize and remember you for good, and they won’t forget it. If you wait on someone else to do it and expect to rely on your connections, you will always end up coming in second place with a second-rate product or advantage.”
Another quote she lives by: “‘Once you’ve ruined your reputation, you can live quite freely.’  Not that I am trying to destroy my reputation, but how much more enjoyable would life be without the constant worry of what others will say or think about it? We are only here for a short while.  Why not make the most of your decisions and your life. Live without fear and as you please.  People are going to love or hate you either way.  May as well make sure you are happy in the meantime.”
Her favorite indulgence:  “I believe my addiction to oddities falls under indulgences. I love all things vintage and antique and the idea of repurposing them. David Tim’s Friday night auctions have allowed me to play with this indulgence some. From the auction, I bought an original streetlight, which my boyfriend, Joseph, rewired so that it is on a multicolor rotation or you can set all five bulbs to one of the colors: pink, red, neon green, purple, white, yellow or blue.  I also purchased a huge dining room buffet, but with less than 1,000 square feet, I am using it as a bar since we don’t have a dining room. The plan is to eventually turn the drawers into refrigeration and freezer space, then on the sides put in an icemaker and a wine cooler. I enjoy the originality of the pieces and believe I have an eye for turning them into something else.”
Speaking of oddities, why does she have a skeleton’s arm in her living room? “My mother and I were in NYC and came across this little shop called Obscura Antiques and Oddities in the East Village. They have been featured on The Discovery Channel for a show called “Oddities” where they collect and scavenge to find strange and interesting antiques and rarities. They range from the extremely macabre to playful and innocent. 
“I found an arm while exploring their tiny store space and thought it would make a great conversation piece throughout the year and double as some Halloween fun otherwise. I guess my affinity for oddities plays into my eagerness to explore that of the unknown.  I love that the arm has a story, and it’s anyone’s best guess as to how this arm ended up in a shop in Manhattan. I have no idea who the arm belonged to, what they did, or how they perished, -- merely that is it from the early 1800s. Obscura is definitely on the list again for my next jaunt to NYC.”
All Hallows’ Eve: “Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. I enjoy the realm of the unknown and believe that Halloween celebrates that.  I’ve already started getting things together for this year’s costume and decorations. This will be my first year decorating my loft.  The 16’ ceilings are going to allow for some really unique opportunities.  I also have some plans for the outside of my building, so everyone get ready.  We are going to rejuvenate this downtown.”
Her favorite guilty pleasure: “Louis Vuitton.  No explanation necessary.  And traveling.”
On her travels: She’s visited 12 countries, including Turkey, Morocco and Panama.  “I’ve seen the ruins of Pompeii, a true Capri moon, the tide come in at Mont Saint-Michel, art museums from the Louvre to the Prado; eaten dinner atop the Eiffel Tower; and even ridden a mule named S.O.B. to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.”
Her favorite touristy:  “New Orleans. Hands down. There is just something about that city, and no, I do not mean Bourbon Street. This Louisiana city has so much originality and pizzazz. You see such a mix of cultures, cuisines, and characters. The eccentricities that come out from so many diverse people sharing space make for some radical architecture and art. 
“Once you get away from some of the more typical rowdy tourist options, the city has a plethora of history to engage yourself in, restaurants and bars that will forever change the way you eat and drink and quaint and quiet streets where you can get a grasp on why so many people call it home. There is just something about the laidback lifestyle. Everything just calms down in Cajun Country. Someone told me a long time ago that there is always something special to cities on the water or cities with water running through them, and this rings more than true for New Orleans, just like Pell City.”
 
 

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