Downtown Gadsden is a thriving retail, business, and entertainment district. Downtown Gadsden, Inc. was created to establish the central business district as a centerpiece for the city’s economic progress. During 2009-2014, the number of businesses downtown increased by 58, and includes such specialty shops as Frios Gourmet Pops, Old Havana Cigar Bar, King’s Olive Oil Company and Maggie’s Gluten Free Bakery. Today, the occupancy rate exceeds 90%.
Gadsden Mall has almost 500,000 square feet under roof, with 40 stores including three major department stores, a food court, carousel, and a 16-screen cinema with stadium seating. National retailers include Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Bath & Body Works, Body Shop, Books-A-Million, GAP, Jos. A. Bank, Kay Jewelers, Maurice’s, PacSun, Radio Shack, Spencer's, and Victoria's Secret.
Gadsden’s Commercial Development Authority is attracting additional retail stores to the city. The 300,000-square-foot Coosa Town Center is home to Old Navy, TJ Maxx, Shoe Depot, Petco, Rue 21 and more. Riverview Plaza has Hobby Lobby, Kirklands, Tuesday Morning and Super Dollar Tree, among others. Gander Mountain has opened at the new River Trace shopping center; other local “big box” stores include Academy Sports, Lowe’s, OfficeMax, and two Wal-Mart supercenters.
The "World's Longest Yard Sale," also known as the "U.S. 127 Corridor Sale," begins in Gadsden and ends 690 miles away in Michigan. It starts on the first Thursday in August and continues through the weekend.
The "Antique Alley Yard Sale" runs along U.S. Highway 11 for 502 miles, from Mississippi through Attalla to Virginia. It is held each May, on the weekend after Mother's Day.
Attalla’s Downtown Historic District, a center for antique stores, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Mountain Top Flea Market, also in Attalla, attracts more than 1,000 dealers with 2.6 miles of paved shopping on 100 acres.