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.
With humble beginnings in 1924, Ace Hardware now comprises 4,600 stores in all 50 states and in more than 70 countries, guiding everyone from seasoned do-it-yourselfers to novices through its massive inventory. Enlist the aid of a knowledgeable pro while sifting through tools, lawn and garden supplies, electrical equipment, and outdoor-living accessories that simplify the hosting of backyard barbecues and the hanging of Christmas lights on zoo animals. Holiday accessories such as 100-count lights ($9.99) and portable fireplaces ($29.99) aid and imbue celebrations with seasonal spirit. During any time of year, a hatchet ($18.49–$36.99) helps forest visionaries see the wood for the trees, and a second mailbox ($13.99–$84.99) doubles the amount of fan mail homeowners can expect to receive.
The end of Prohibition signaled the start of the Greenbaum family's dream to enter the beer and spirits industry—and a few years later, they realized this dream with the opening of Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits. Since then, the founders' descendants have earned praise in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and INsite magazine for its diverse selection of drinks and a trained squad of wine spectators. Staff members guide visitors through samplings of their craft and domestic beers, international spirits, and North American, European, and South American wines at weekly and often bi-weekly tasting events held at the long wooden tables of the private tasting room or inside of a keg. They also expose participants to the finer points of beer through sponsored dinners with beer pairings.
In 1975, four friends with hearts full of the great outdoors decided they needed a place to get gear indoors. This quest for adventuring equipment lead Bubba Sloan, Gerald Marshall, Denny Mays, and Ned Buxton to found High Country Outfitters as a gear shop for all manner of activities performed under the sun. These days, Bubba runs the retail side of things in Buckhead, while Gerald continues to captain daring cruises down the Ocoee River's relentless rapids. The store kits out customers for safe communing with nature with tools and togs from manufacturers including The North Face, Patagonia, and Big Green Egg, whose verdantly painted smoker grill creates hot meals in the midst of a long trip or particularly boring wait in the airport. Meanwhile, guides lead expeditionary parties along on waterborne trips down the Middle and Upper Ocoee’s burbling banks, recapturing the sun-dappled fun that inspired the store's creation in the first place.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.