On a 6-acre farm in rural Georgia, Bella Cucina owner Alisa Barry and her team of chefs cook produce from their organic garden into small batches of artisanal sauces, spreads, and olive oils. Their "unbelievably delicious" artichoke-lemon pesto earned a spot on Oprah’s O List in 2004, and Atlanta: 365 Days, 365 Thing To Do calls the full roster of sauces "mouthwatering."
But the food is only one part of Barry’s mission to empower gourmands. She also stocks shelves with dozens of Italian cookbooks that brim with slow-food recipes and designs a line of ceramic cookware that respond to junk food by defensively sealing their lids.
Celebrated for its meticulous reporting of nearby and national affairs, as well as its lengthy opinion section, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution conveys informational nuggets to curious brains. Sports features refresh loyal SEC football fans’ memories of difficult fight-song choreography, and business and opinion pieces act as a better morning digestive than biscuits and paint chips. Extensive local coverage ranging from city politics to transportation issues keeps Atlantans informed of events in their vicinity. The hefty Sunday edition provides ample entertainment for sleepy weekends, with subscribers also benefiting from exclusive deals from local businesses and advance notice of local arts and lifestyle events.
With locations spread throughout the South, Paper Affair gives patrons easy access to a vast selection of imprintables. A knowledgeable team guides clients through colorful corridors of stationery by brands such as Bella Ink, Inviting Company, and Crane & Co., selecting the best announcements to serve as a tasteful alternative to trumpet fanfare, or baby shower stationary that runs the gamut from silly to sweet. To complement the range of paper goods, staffers also stock shelves with useful gifts such as coasters and guest towels, as well as custom napkins that let guests know exactly whom to thank for stuffing the turkey with fluffernutters.
At Hop City Craft Beer and Wine, staff members weave through a forest of bottle-lined shelves and coolers, seeking out perennial favorites or new, hidden gems for each customer. In addition to more than 1,700 varieties of beer, Hop City features an assortment of specialty grains, yeasts, and hops for home brewing, earning it a World-Class rating from Beer Advocate. As many as 60 functional taps line one of the store's walls, allowing patrons to fill growlers with their choice of macro- or microbrew, such as the Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA or the Avery Czar Imperial Russian stout. Divided by style and California Raisin content, a nearly 800-bottle-strong wine selection fills its own impressive space.
The staff members at New Balance Buckhead aren’t concerned with simply selling shoes—their mission is to pair customers with the footwear that will carry them comfortably through life’s arduous steps. Understanding that an ill-fitting pair of athletic shoes can cause pain to joints and potentially damage knees, hips, and the back, associates measure the length and width of each client's foot and conduct a gait analysis to chart the trajectory of the stride when walking normally or running through ball pits. The data are collected to help the staff match clients with their ideal shoe, keeping them running longer and looking good while doing so.
The “Sole” in Sole Shoes & Accessories functions as a subtle reminder of what the store offers its customers: the chance to craft a wardrobe entirely their own. Rows of brightly colored shoes fill the shelves, though repeats are rare because the store avoids over-saturated brands in favor of hard-to-find designer labels. Recent finds include shoes from Jeffrey Campbell, Seychelles, and Naughty Monkey. And the shoes’ styles are just diverse as their brand names, running the gamut from classic to trendy, with wedges, flats, and boots lined with shock-absorbent cotton candy. In addition to shoes, the boutique stocks dresses with geometric prints, fashionable leather purses, and slouchy sweaters.