Photograph by Amy Herr
“Faith, Family, Friends,” reads a placard in the stockroom of Southern Soles. The first indie shoe boutique to hit the Avenue East Cobb—the area’s upscale strip mall—became Sage’s neighbor in August, and those three words make an adequate slogan for the family-run shop. Manned by fifty-one-year-old Andrea Ragin, her daughter Michelle Philabaum, and daughter-in-law Summer Lindvig, the store is a higher-end successor to Magnolia’s on Madison—a shop Ragin owned in the late nineties on Bainbridge Island, Washington. A registered nurse, Ragin set up her first store partly to connect with the notables of the island’s downtown district. And this desire to build community—more than label love—is a recurrent theme in all her ventures.
Crystal chandeliers and antique lamps dress up the boutique’s cozy, rustic interior furnished with display tables made of patina-rich retired doors. The shop also possesses a chocolate leather “man chair” in the front corner, coupled with a rack of men’s magazines for the beleaguered husband in tow. For the wives, the Ragin clan proffers shoes by Cole Haan, Frye, Libby Edelman, and—in the near future, the brood hopes—Tory Burch. Southern Soles also supplies David Aubrey and La Vie Parisienne jewelry and Zina Eva and F&W Style handbags to supplement the footwear. Some of the family’s favorite picks include open-toe slingbacks by Sam Edelman, metallic pumps from Kenneth Cole’s Gentle Souls line, and a pair of Poetic Licence faux booties.
Market surveys indicated that, in a recession, a Marietta clientele wants its fancy footwear in a moderate $70 to $150 price range. Based on the store’s current foot traffic, that conclusion seems correct. As Lindvig asserts, “We have people walk in every day and say, ‘Thank God, there’s finally somewhere in East Cobb that we can shop for cute shoes.’” The Avenue East Cobb, 4475 Roswell Road, Suite 1000, Marietta, 404-955-7463, southernsoles.com
This article originally appeared in our November 2010 issue.