Best of Atlanta 2021: Buy


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Readers’ Choice

B.M. Franklin & Co.
B.M. Franklin & Co.

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Bespoke Hats: B.M. Franklin & Co.

Ralph Lauren alum Brandon Franklin learned how to make hats using vintage tools under the tutelage of a master craftsman in New York. Now, he offers custom and ready-to-wear hats for men and women at his Buckhead Village boutique. Its walls are lined with colorful displays of linings, ribbons, and trinkets to inspire, and you can attend workshops upstairs to watch or participate in the hat-making process.

New Place to Score Atlanta Swag: City Champion Atlanta

“Rep yo city,” as Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz command, with a purchase from City Champion Atlanta, located inside the Atlanta Dairies complex in Reynoldstown. The gift shop, where displays resemble high school trophy cases, stocks a curated selection of ATL-themed merch, including T-shirts, pennants, and mugs.

Ethical Fashion Brand: Bombchel

At Bombchel, West Africa’s bold-print fabrics have been shape-shifted into stylish garments and wearable art by an all-woman staff of Ebola and abuse survivors in Liberia; and then retailed by refugees—now Bombchel employees—living in Atlanta. Bamboo decor accents and a Palava Hut round out a bit of the continent on Ponce City Market’s second floor.

Cute Date-Night Outfits: Monkee’s

Founded in 1995 in Wilmington, North Carolina, this women’s boutique opened its first two Georgia franchises this year—at Avalon and in Peachtree Battle Shopping Center. Independently owned, each store is intentionally small and personal, with girlie labels like Tyler Böe, LaRoque, and Atlanta’s own Crosby by Mollie Burch, plus a well-curated selection of shoes.

Home & Decor: Huff Harrington

Ann Huff and Meg Harrington opened their fine-art gallery in 2006, followed by a home-furnishings store in 2011. Now, they have combined the two in a chic three-story space at the Galleries of Peachtree Hills. The first floor is filled with jewelry by designers like Erin Gray, S. Carter Designs, and Julie Vos; home goods, including Atlanta-exclusive Tina Frey tableware; and gifts, which currently means lots of chunky knits and fur-trimmed vests. Floor two is the art gallery, and the top level houses a design studio.

Virginia Highland Books
Virginia Highland Books

Photograph by Ben Rollins

New Indie Bookstore: Virginia Highland Books

A sandwich board on the sidewalk says, “Come in and smell the books.” Inside, tin ceiling tiles, worn wooden floors, scattered rugs, and antique tables indeed capture that magic, multisensory bookstore essence. Don’t expect 20 copies of the latest bestseller, but there’s a wide array of titles with helpful staff recommendations. Visit the lower level so you can look up the staircase, which has risers painted with famous authors’ names (in a Courier-like font sure to delight true bibliophiles).

New Affordable Furniture: CB2

This fall, Atlanta welcomed back Crate & Barrel’s less pricey sibling to the Westside space formerly occupied by Bungalow Classic. We’ve remained fans since they left Midtown in 2015, but now, we can go sit on that $899 sofa before we buy.

Pop-Up Turned Brick and Mortar: The Village Retail

Under the banner “Support Is a Verb,” Village Market ATL was, at first, a deftly curated series of pop-ups and marketplace events (like Black Friday at the Georgia Freight Depot) that provided space for Black artisans and creatives to sell their wares without the worry of operational overhead. This year, they’ve refined their roving concept and set roots in Ponce City Market, retailing everything from athleisure to accessories from the hands of around 25 local Black entrepreneurs at a time.

Tropical Express ATL
Tropical Express ATL

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Tropical Plants: Tropical Express ATL

Part plant shop, part hang (who knew mindful stretching and candle-making amid rare tropical flora was a whole vibe?), Tropical Express ATL at the Goat Farm Arts Center offers plant parents a shot at curating a peaceful ambience in spaces of their own. Plants are tended with love and handed off with detailed instructions on how to keep the life force flowing.

Home Accessories: Bobo Intriguing Objects

Bobo just gets curiouser and curiouser. Indeed, there’s an enchanting, Through the Looking Glass quality to this place, which was formerly a wholesale supplier but has now opened a retail store at the Works. Technically, it offers furniture, accessories, and gifts for outfitting your home. But you never know what random thing you’ll become obsessed with here—perhaps a tramp art birdcage, a nailhead leather trunk studded with someone else’s initials, or a candle smelling like a chore coat? Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Furniture Oasis: Bungalow Classic

This Westside stalwart has moved over to Trabert Avenue, where it’s helping anchor a new stretch of shops, including future locations of the Seed Factory and Kolo Collection. The space is as serene as ever, with its signature textural, neutral-toned selection of furniture, Clay McLaurin fabrics, and handmade accessories. A tentlike back room is upholstered in a wide ticking stripe and filled with tropical finds like cane furniture and sweetgrass baskets.

Local Lacquer: Candy x Paints

With shades like “Grady Baby” and “Gresham Park,” Candy x Paints is undeniably a local brand. The vegan nail polish company is the creation of Atlanta native Shardae Layfield. In addition to being cruelty free, the colors are vibrant and have excellent staying power—what more could we want?

New Electric Bike Store: Pedego Electric Bikes

Sure, e-bike retail options have multiplied, but none have a location so primo as Glenwood Park’s Pedego, which opened this year—steps from the BeltLine. Pedego’s 20 highly rated, top-selling models start at $1,895 and range from cushy city-cruisers to legit off-road beasts.

Kimberly McDonald
Kimberly McDonald

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Gift for the Person with Everything: Lucite Cubes at Kimberly McDonald

New York—based designer Kimberly McDonald is known for creating jewelry with agate, geodes, and other natural stones. But, more recently, she launched her lifestyle brand of luxury clothing and home goods, opening a boutique in Buckhead Village last year. Her geode-patterned wallpaper, malachite-print sneakers, and stone vessels are enchanting, but we were especially taken with Lucite cubes embedded with floating geodes (from $200). McDonald uses NASA space rocks technology to create these little beauties, the perfect curiosity for the person who has everything.

New Designer Resale: The RealReal

This popular fashion reseller, which started online 10 years ago, opened its first Atlanta brick-and-mortar at Buckhead Village this summer. Expect a nice variety of carefully authenticated designer labels, from Chanel to Gucci, including handbags and accessories.

Melanated Fabrics
Melanated Fabrics founders Mimi Goodwin and Brittany Jones

Photograph courtesy of Melanated Fabrics

Boutique Fabric Store: Melanated Fabrics

The fabric selection at this light-bathed, BIPOC- and women-owned shop on Memorial Drive is curated for trendy DIY types, with bold, colorful florals, animal prints, and a large selection of menswear fabrics. Downstairs, the store hosts monthly classes and workshops where you can learn to sew your own jumpsuit, necktie, or headwrap.

New Jewelry Store: Don Purcell

Purcell’s retail pedigree includes serving as general manager for Jeffrey Kalinsky’s stores in both Atlanta and New York. This fall, he launched his own business, a jewelry store in Buckhead Village. The colorful, modern space features glass cases full of pieces by high-end designers like Eva Fehren, Irene Neuwirth, and Melissa Kaye (an Atlanta exclusive). Colorful pop art by Ashley Longshore, sparkling Judith Lieber bags, and paper wigs by Georgia’s own Paper-Cut-Project add drama to the mix. 404-239-4350

Art for All: FreeMarket Gallery

Galleries can be intimidating, but this laid-back, 4,750-square-foot space was designed for any budget, with pieces ranging from $100 to more than $5,000. As the owners also run the Print Shop at Ponce City Market, there are always limited editions on hand, such as the recent Sparrow Scene release by Peter Ferrari ($100). Rotating exhibitions highlight local artists such as Ferrari, Adelaide Tai, and Tanner Wilson.

Teamwork: Village Supply

Last year, Jazlin Pitts and Kia Perry teamed up with Jamestown to launch HerMarket at Buckhead Village—monthly sidewalk markets for women-owned startups. Now, the duo (who have formerly partnered with the women’s club/coworking spot the Lola) have taken over a permanent space at the center, showcasing miscellaneous merch from leather goods and technology to beauty products.

Record Store: Moods Music

Moods Music, aka Little 5 Soul and Soul Village, has been the coolest record store in town for a solid two decades—a reliable source in Little Five Points of rare vinyl finds from neosoul to acid jazz. Its latest flex, in the walkthrough space right next door, is a buildout that owner Darryl Harris has been dreaming of for a while now: an all and sundry cubbyhole for books, apparel, candles, and home decor.

Plant District

The houseplant trend remains in full bloom, and one corner of Atlanta is especially overflowing with shops offering unique botanical treasures. Paradiso Plant Shop, located inside the Atlanta Dairies in Reynoldstown, sells an array of Instagram-worthy greenery, including hard-to-find carnivorous plants. A few blocks away in Cabbagetown, pick up handmade planters and unusual orchids at Flora/Fauna. In Glenwood Park, Goat City Plant Design offers houseplants as lush statement pieces (don’t worry, they’ll deliver that massive ficus), while the Victorian Atlanta, a plant store/coffee shop in East Atlanta, has an entire room of rare succulents and cacti. —Jennifer Rainey Marquez

This article appears in our December 2021 issue.