Ponce City Market is getting ready for holiday shopping with a slew of openings and pop-ups this month—one of them from beloved local brand, Alternative.
Everyone knows Alternative’s cool, comfy apparel (check the label on your favorite band tee), and come Monday, you can find them in a pop-up alongside Lululemon and J.Crew at PCM. Despite having been based in the metro area since its founding more than 20 years ago, this will be the brand’s first brick-and-mortar presence in the Southeast. With permanent shops already in New York, L.A., and San Francisco, Alternative is finally testing the waters in its home city.
Evan Toporek, CEO of Alternative, says he’s been eyeing Ponce City Market as a potential retail destination since Jamestown purchased the building. With its Atlanta holiday pop-up, Toporek sees a chance to raise Alternative’s profile in its hometown—and meet its customers where they are.
“Our customers are modern creatives—Ponce and the area around it is where they live,” he says. “And really, everything about Ponce resonates with our brand. It’s a historic building that’s been rebranded with a modern touch, which is how we approach our apparel: we’re inspired by good old thrift store finds and then bringing them to new life.”
In keeping with its hometown theme, Alternative also tapped local artist Gavin Bernard to design the pop-up’s interior. Bernard, who’s known for his colorful string art installations along the BeltLine bridge over Ponce de Leon Avenue, is bringing elements of that concept to the shop, although in a more neutral palette. Alternative will also debut is new “Basics Bar” at the new holiday shop, which will feature the brand’s most classic and timeless pieces, including eco-fleece sweatshirts ($50) and eco-jersey zip hoodies ($44–$46).
With Alternative pouring so much effort into the PCM pop-up, we had to ask: Is a more permanent retail presence at the development in the works?
“We’re keeping an open mind,” Toporek says.
That’s not all you’ll find swinging its doors open at PCM this month. Another pop-up comes from San Francisco–based short shorts crusaders Chubbies (“Sky’s out, thighs out,” they say), so you can check off finding a gift for the frat guy in your life. As for new permanent shops, last week Posman Books opened its first location outside of New York, bringing classics, cookbooks, games, and cards (because a real book wraps better than a Kindle gift card).
By the end of the month, Charleston-based Candlefish will welcome shoppers to its candle shop, featuring candles in more than 100 scents from its “fragrance library”—so you can select one you know your picky friend will really like. (It will also offer small gifts and will launch candle-making classes in the new year.)