Contributing to local commerce isn’t new territory for the Howard family. In 1925, Edwin Howard’s in-laws founded a small grocery in Doraville, which he took leadership of 30 years later. After gaining experience in that business, he decided to expand the family’s venture, and in 1972, he opened the first Howard’s True Value Hardware right next door. Now, after more than 35 years and currently under the ownership of Howard brothers John and Doug, the hardware store keeps shelves stocked with more than 100,000 hardware items, tools, and home-garden accouterments from the likes of Carhartt and Honda, as well as charcoal grills from Big Green Egg, wood pellet grills from Traeger, and a line of propane grills with tanks they can fill in-store. For sports enthusiasts, they're an authorized YETI Cooler and Tifosi Eyeglass Dealer.
Building materials, including adhesives and mason tools, lighten the burdens of home-improvement projects, and a constellation of hand tools relieves the hassle of hiring a beaver to chew its way through 2”x4”s. A full stock of interior paints helps customers brighten the hue of living quarters, while a sturdy pair of jeans from Carhartt helps them to withstand the wear-and-tear of maintenance projects or slow dances with rose bushes.
Father-and-son team Robert and Fred Lee worked as homebuilders for years before going into business selling lights in 1965, so they knew how quickly something impressive could rise from a humble foundation. Sure enough, Lee Lighting, their small family company, grew to include a vast online retail shop and one of the largest lighting dealers in Texas. They've even purchased Savoy, a company that designs fixtures to bring cheer to dining rooms and make rooms full of ventriloquist dummies less terrifying.
Lee Lighting stocks shelves with a diverse selection of indoor lamps from brands including ELK Lighting, Quoizel, and Hudson Valley. Staffers certified by the American Lighting Association move beneath the dazzling crystal sprays and faux candles of chandeliers. They suggest outdoor lighting to transform backyards into regal terraces. They also stay abreast of lighting trends to help patrons select lights that will stay in style.
Cofounders Michael Kirk and Scott Frishman quickly bonded after they met in college, as they shared the desire to support—and help others support—local and sustainable food production. After learning the industry ropes while working together at a small organic-produce company in Colorado, they launched Nature’s Garden Express. At their carbon-neutral facility, where all materials are either recycled or composted, staffers carefully nestle organic produce into boxes before delivering the goods to customers’ doorsteps. The system makes buying local easy for all consumers, regardless of whether their neighbor refuses to sell the koi in his pond. Other boxed offerings include grass-fed beef, local honey, and free-range eggs.
Though its name might suggest otherwise, The Nautical Nest boasts not standard fishy fare but a comprehensive menu of freshly crafted sandwiches and hearty salads. The eatery, helmed by a customer-focused family, celebrates all things nautical with its marine-themed decor and sunny outdoor patio. Wait staff complete the scene with sandwiches stacked high with freshly sliced Boar’s Head meats paired with gouda cheese and thick slices of avocado and tomatoes.
When not assembling restaurant meals, the deli afficiandos at The Nautical Nest prepare sweeping trays of catered breakfast, lunch, and appetizers. They adorn platters with cheese samples, freshly baked muffins, or a treasure trove of sandwiches stuffed with roast beef, ham, or turkey.
Fleet Feet Sports helps promote an active, healthy community by outfitting people of all fitness levels with the proper apparel and footwear. At three different locations, the staff maintains a one-on-one connection with customers, particularly during the Fit Process—an extensive, multistep fitting formula that incorporates multiple measurements and a gait analysis so shoes, socks, and inserts jive comfortably with every foot. To ensure clients are swift enough to compete in marathons or outrun even the fastest repo man, Fleet Feet Sports also offers marathon training and free workouts every Thursday at its Sandy Springs store.
At Fairhope Stables, owners Rick and Valerie Adams train professional show horses and guide students through lessons tailored to their individual skill levels. Instruction centers on basics of saddle seat riding and driving. Indoor and outdoor facilities allow the teaching team to host lessons throughout the year. In addition to personal instruction, the duo welcomes aspiring riders between the ages of 7–17 for summer-camp sessions. Campers enjoy riding activities and discussion of topics such as safety, breed characteristics, and whether or not horses understand irony.