Baubles from Sloan/Hall (Photo: Deirdre Stevens)
The Current came out with their "Best of San Antonio" list in April, and while I normally don't pay attention to the rankings, there is a category I want to address: "Best Place to Find a Birthday Card," and the winner Sloan/Hall (5424 Broadway).
Located inside one of the few remaining old Mobil gas stations on Broadway in Alamo Heights, Sloan/Hall has been a mainstay in the community for 20 years. What was started in 1994 by Marcus Sloan and Shannon Hall as a quirky mom and pop gift shop has evolved into a high fashion and jewelry destination, carrying designer goods that are much more commonplace in NYC and LA than here in San Antonio, Texas.
So, with all due respect, getting an award for best birthday cards is like going to a famous steakhouse and getting chicken. Sure, the chicken is probably great, but you're missing out on the complete experience and aesthetic that has been so meticulously crafted by a pair with fabulous taste.
High fashion finds at Sloan/Hall
Where most high end boutiques and department stores have buyers specifically tasked with going to market to select products to sell, Sloan and Hall do it all themselves, flying to Paris for fashion week at least twice a year to get a jump on upcoming trends for the season.
Clothing is a new development, and a giant risk on their part with an unstable economy and a community that isn't overly concerned with trends. But, one thing the pair do have down is a knack for discovering designers on the rise while keeping their specific clientele in mind. Notable designers carried at Sloan/Hall include Nina Ricci, Kenzo, and Carven among many other elites.
The jewelry is also something to drool over, and features international artisans as well as a few with Texan roots, like Lauren Craft and Kar-Bn. For those of you that are like me and don't have unlimited funds, the selection of candles and fragrances from Italian brand Santa Maria Novella and Diptique of France will make you feel très chic without having to rob a bank. Although you might be tempted to after you leave.
Alongside books, art, antiques, and yes, a damn good card selection, Sloan/Hall is a rare jewel in our city that has been mentioned in fashion publications like Vogue and Lucky, and is fast becoming a go-to for its Houston location's high rollers, where seeing and being seen is of top priority in their burgeoning social scene.
It's a challenge for small businesses to stay open and relevant today, with the rise of fast fashion, e-commerce booming, and the gift shop business being a dying one. Sloan/Hall has managed to not only survive but thrive. So next time you're driving down Broadway, and you see the building with the Pegasus, pop in for a look. Especially if you're in need of a great birthday card.
Sloan/Hall is located at 5424 Broadway, San Antonio, TX, 78209
Open Monday-Thursday 10-6:30, Saturday 10-5:30. Closed Sundays.