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Best of Atlanta 2011 Consumer Culture

 

Best Of Atlanta 2011 Consumer Culture Large


Consumer Culture

The term "retail therapy" is dorky and cliché, but there is something to be said for the healing power of shopping. Spending money is a form of catharsis, and we've scoured Atlanta's retail scene for the best places to get it all out.

There weren't many new places to blow dough this year, but we rustled up plenty of stores that make us proud to shout, "Recession be damned!" and dust the cobwebs off our wallets.

While some of us are buying on a budget and others have the means to splurge, everyone feels good about shopping at locally owned businesses. The Beehive Co-op, in its recently opened retail space, charmed us with its selection of handmade jewelry from local artists and indie crafters. And we love the new ATL apparel company Streetela for making local street art wearable.

Among our other faves are a B&B-slash-urban farm in the heart of the city, a beautiful chocolate shop that makes its confections from scratch and a tattoo parlor that knows how to ink skin of all colors. And for retail therapy in its most literal form, may we suggest the to-die-for luxury mani-pedi at Nouvelle Nail Spa or G Salon's $40 spa deal?

Sure, it might be time to stop saying "retail therapy," but indulging in it will never go out of style.

— Gwynedd Stuart and Bobby Feingold

Best doggy day care BOA Award Winner

Best gym deal BOA Award Winner

There are some people in this world (lots of them, actually) who really like to exercise. The rest of us need incentive to get our fat asses off the couch beyond the possibility that we'll no longer have such fat asses. Retro Fitness, a chain that's heavily represented in the Northeast, but only hasmore...
There are some people in this world (lots of them, actually) who really like to exercise. The rest of us need incentive to get our fat asses off the couch beyond the possibility that we'll no longer have such fat asses. Retro Fitness, a chain that's heavily represented in the Northeast, but only has a few locations in the South, opened its 15,000-square-foot Buckhead location less than a year ago, and it's awesome. All of the equipment is brand-spankin' new, there's a cardio room/theater where you can watch a movie on the big screen while you sweat, and the rest of the cardio equipment has individual TVs to take your mind off the agony. Probably the best thing about Retro Fitness: It's cheap. There's no sign-up fee, monthly membership dues are only $19.99, and for $5 extra you can either get unlimited tanning or massages in its nifty, computerized massage bed. 3050 Peachtree Road. 404-549-7126. buckheadga.retrofitness.net. less...

Best hot tchotchkes BOA Award Winner

Highland Row Antiques isn't your mildewed neighborhood yard sale. The Poncey-Highland shop specializes in mid-century modern pieces like retro ashtrays and deco artwork, as well as other kitschy vintage pieces. The small, curated storefront gives way to a giant Basement Market with bric-a-brac from moremore...
Highland Row Antiques isn't your mildewed neighborhood yard sale. The Poncey-Highland shop specializes in mid-century modern pieces like retro ashtrays and deco artwork, as well as other kitschy vintage pieces. The small, curated storefront gives way to a giant Basement Market with bric-a-brac from more than 20 dealers, ranging from $5 Americana saltshakers to a $500 Danish couch. 628 N. Highland Ave. 404-815-8830. highlandrowantiques.com. less...

Best luxury mani-pedi BOA Award Winner

Best selection of handmade jewelry BOA Award Winner

The term crafts, as in arts and crafts, used to evoke images of macaroni necklaces and little cabins constructed of crudely glued together popsicle sticks. Atlanta's craft scene is a hell of a lot more sophisticated than that. The Beehive Co-Op sells clothes, bags, and beauty products by some of themore...
The term crafts, as in arts and crafts, used to evoke images of macaroni necklaces and little cabins constructed of crudely glued together popsicle sticks. Atlanta's craft scene is a hell of a lot more sophisticated than that. The Beehive Co-Op sells clothes, bags, and beauty products by some of the area's best indie crafters, and its selection of jewelry is especially impressive. Established in 2004, Beehive owners Malene Davis and Preeti Ayyangar secured a sunny and spacious retail location in the Edgewood Shopping District in early 2010. About half of the space is dedicated to handmade baubles like A Bardis' colorful drop earrings, delicate fortune cookie necklaces by Christina Kober Designs, and Madeline Burdine's whimsical, nature-inspired metalwork necklaces, earrings and cuffs. 1250 Caroline St., Suite C120. 404-350-3898. thebeehiveatl.com. less...

Best way to skip a trip to the farmers market BOA Award Winner

We all feel good about ourselves when we shop at the farmers market, don't we? Look at us strutting around with our reusable tote bags, mentally applauding ourselves for waking up early on a weekend in order to consume with conscience. If the scene's too much for you, or if you just like sleeping in,more...
We all feel good about ourselves when we shop at the farmers market, don't we? Look at us strutting around with our reusable tote bags, mentally applauding ourselves for waking up early on a weekend in order to consume with conscience. If the scene's too much for you, or if you just like sleeping in, Vegetable Husband delivers fresh, local produce to its subscribers' doors once a week. Proprietor Margie Thorpe does the dirty work for her clients. She picks up a variety of fresh fruits and veggies from area farms, divvies them out in adorably folksy baskets and arranges for home delivery by friendly volunteers. A basket from Vegetable Husband is something to behold, especially in the summer when it overflows with a bounty of organic edibles such as peppers, okra, green beans, the best tomatoes you'll ever taste, melons and blueberries. 404-617-9302. vegetablehusband.com. less...

Best alternative alternative exercise BOA Award Winner

Sometimes you want to be coddled, crouching in the fetal position, while wind chimes gently wipe your stress away. But what you want isn't always what you need. You need to relax. You need to stop whining. You need Tough Love Yoga. Run by the highly accomplished yoginis Neda Draupadi Honarvar and Durgayamore...
Sometimes you want to be coddled, crouching in the fetal position, while wind chimes gently wipe your stress away. But what you want isn't always what you need. You need to relax. You need to stop whining. You need Tough Love Yoga. Run by the highly accomplished yoginis Neda Draupadi Honarvar and Durgaya Palmieri, both certified in Classical Hatha Yoga, TLY de-stresses you better than spinning endlessly on the elliptical (like you're doing now). Difficulty ranges from beginner's yoga to bikini bootcamp. Its popular Metal Yoga class at Young Blood Gallery is not easy, but newbies can go at their own speed. The class takes place in the exhibition room, so yogis are surrounded by hanging art and tattooed hipsters. Metal Yoga focuses on maintaining poses and improving flexibility unlike others around town that fixate on aerobic activity. Body-mind wellness doesn't always come cheap, but there's a $10 suggested donation for dropping in a class and a 10-class pass is $90. Tough love never felt so good. 636 North Highland Ave. 404-919-1008. toughloveyoga.com. less...

Best boutique nursery BOA Award Winner

The Westside neighborhood is stark and industrial, full of repurposed commercial buildings and brand-new, mostly empty condominiums. The lush Garden is a shock to the Westside's senses, a beautiful display of sophisticated greenery, pricey plant displays and European potpourri and incenses with a modernmore...
The Westside neighborhood is stark and industrial, full of repurposed commercial buildings and brand-new, mostly empty condominiums. The lush Garden is a shock to the Westside's senses, a beautiful display of sophisticated greenery, pricey plant displays and European potpourri and incenses with a modern edge. The shop even provides design consultations and installation for those big projects in your little urban oasis. 1168 Howell Mill Road., Studio A. 404-941-9154. gardenatl.com. less...

Best budget bridal BOA Award Winner

Best pawn shop BOA Award Winner

Unlike what you see on reality TV, most pawn shops are unsexy, low-rent places selling used lawnmowers, roofing tools and stolen car stereos. Jason's Pawn Shop, on the other hand, usually has an interesting array of guy stuff, from turntables to antique cameras and old radios to vintage guitars. It'smore...
Unlike what you see on reality TV, most pawn shops are unsexy, low-rent places selling used lawnmowers, roofing tools and stolen car stereos. Jason's Pawn Shop, on the other hand, usually has an interesting array of guy stuff, from turntables to antique cameras and old radios to vintage guitars. It's a small store, so it makes the shelf space count by only displaying cool shit like high-end mountain bikes and reel-to-reel players. Look elsewhere for that second-hand microwave. 2104 N. Decatur Road, Decatur. 404-636-1731. less...

Best spa deal BOA Award Winner

Best designer kitsch BOA Award Winner

Best farmers market BOA Award Winner

Best local boutique BOA Award Winner

Best shoes you can't afford BOA Award Winner

Cher Horowitz famously quipped in Clueless, "You see how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet." We couldn't agree more. Shoes make or break every outfit. Roll out of bed in sweatpants, put on a hot pair of kicks and you'll look like a million bucks. Epitome, the new shoe boutique inmore...
Cher Horowitz famously quipped in Clueless, "You see how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet." We couldn't agree more. Shoes make or break every outfit. Roll out of bed in sweatpants, put on a hot pair of kicks and you'll look like a million bucks. Epitome, the new shoe boutique in Buckhead, puts luxury on its toes with its carefully curated selection of sneakers, heels and accessories. The store, which opened in July, is a culture clash of hip-hop high-tops, preppy boat shoes, indie gladiator sandals and party-girl pumps. Out-there selections like American flag platforms next to biker-chick heels may seem at odds, but somehow the mashup makes sense at Epitome. The lighted Plexiglas walkway gives the store a space-age vibe while sunglasses rest on pads of Astroturf. The future's so bright, we got to wear sneakers. 252 Pharr Road. 404-869-8700. epitomeatl.com. less...

Best way to home hunt BOA Award Winner

Best way to wear your art on your sleeve BOA Award Winner

Street art: populist art form, nuisance to society or super cool fashion? Does art have to exist inside a gallery or museum to be legit? The artists collective Streetela has answered the latter question with a decisive "Hell no" by slapping drawings and paintings by local artists on T-shirts and sellingmore...
Street art: populist art form, nuisance to society or super cool fashion? Does art have to exist inside a gallery or museum to be legit? The artists collective Streetela has answered the latter question with a decisive "Hell no" by slapping drawings and paintings by local artists on T-shirts and selling them online. Some of the designs are twee, like a Wayne's World-inspired shirt and tote by Paper Twins, and others are edgy, like an Ola Bad design that looks like a wheat paste project on your chest. Right now, Streetela is only featuring artists who are participating in the Living Walls Conference, but come November, it'll be selling shirts by street artists from around the country. streetela.com. less...

Best kids' consignment BOA Award Winner

It's amazing we even bother buying clothes for kids. They grow so fast it's like they're tiny adults with glandular problems. Instead of constantly buying new duds for your miniature Incredible Hulk, you can save money by buying high-quality used clothes at Baby Love. Open in Grant Park since early 2011,more...
It's amazing we even bother buying clothes for kids. They grow so fast it's like they're tiny adults with glandular problems. Instead of constantly buying new duds for your miniature Incredible Hulk, you can save money by buying high-quality used clothes at Baby Love. Open in Grant Park since early 2011, Baby Love sells clothes and shoes for babies and kids of all ages, not to mention maternity wear, toys, books and even furniture. The shop's picky (in a good way) about what it accepts, and refuses to sell anything that's stained, has holes or even clothes that have gotten pilly. Of course, the best part of consignment is that you can make money, too. 465 Boulevard, Suite 101. 404-590-1380. babyloveatlanta.com. less...

Best thrift district BOA Award Winner

Roswell's Alpharetta Highway is like the Rodeo Drive of stores that deal in other people's discarded belongings. No, no, that's a good thing! Lined up one after another are Value Village, Park Avenue Thrift, Just Stuff Thrift Store, Bargain City Thrift, Atlanta Union Mission Thrift and Goodwill. Thismore...
Roswell's Alpharetta Highway is like the Rodeo Drive of stores that deal in other people's discarded belongings. No, no, that's a good thing! Lined up one after another are Value Village, Park Avenue Thrift, Just Stuff Thrift Store, Bargain City Thrift, Atlanta Union Mission Thrift and Goodwill. This Value Village is by far the best, especially for its selection of outerwear and housewares. Atlanta Union Mission blares contemporary Christian music, but you still might find an old 69 Boyz CD in the dollar bin. Park Avenue Thrift, 1207 Alpharetta St., Suite A, Roswell; Value Village, 1023 Alpharetta St., Roswell, 770-840-7283. valuevillageatlanta.com; Just Stuff Thrift Store, 1113 Alpharetta St., Roswell. 678-281-0696; Bargain City Thrift, 1207-B Alpharetta St., Roswell. 770-993-0251. bargaincitythrift.com; Goodwill, 10885 Alpharetta Highway, Roswell. 770-649-1994. ging.org; Atlanta Union Mission Thrift, 10800 Alpharetta Highway, Roswell. 404-367-3940. atlantaunionmission.org. less...

Best antique store BOA Award Winner

Kudzu Antique Market

Best asian food market BOA Award Winner

Super H-Mart

Best cooking classes BOA Award Winner

The Cook's Warehouse

Best place for fashion bargains BOA Award Winner

Nordstrom Rack

Best taxi cab service BOA Award Winner

Checker Cab

Best adult toy store BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations

Best art supplies BOA Award Winner

Best bootcamp BOA Award Winner

Operation Boot Camp

Best gym BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations

Best hotel BOA Award Winner

W Hotel
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best pet store BOA Award Winner

Park Pet Supply

Best sneaker store BOA Award Winner

Abbadabba's
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best vintage clothing BOA Award Winner

Stefan's

Best CDs BOA Award Winner

Best lingerie BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations

Best liquor store BOA Award Winner

Green's Beverages

Best thrift store BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations

Best toy store BOA Award Winner

Richard's Variety Store

Best bikini wax BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations

Best kids' clothing BOA Award Winner

Target
And other Metro Atlanta locations
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Best antique store BOA Award Winner

Kudzu Antique Market

Best asian food market BOA Award Winner

Super H-Mart

Best cooking classes BOA Award Winner

The Cook's Warehouse

Best place for fashion bargains BOA Award Winner

Nordstrom Rack

Best taxi cab service BOA Award Winner

Checker Cab

Best doggy day care BOA Award Winner

Best gym deal BOA Award Winner

There are some people in this world (lots of them, actually) who really like to exercise. The rest of us need incentive to get our fat asses off the couch beyond the possibility that we'll no longer have such fat asses. Retro Fitness, a chain that's heavily represented in the Northeast, but only hasmore...
There are some people in this world (lots of them, actually) who really like to exercise. The rest of us need incentive to get our fat asses off the couch beyond the possibility that we'll no longer have such fat asses. Retro Fitness, a chain that's heavily represented in the Northeast, but only has a few locations in the South, opened its 15,000-square-foot Buckhead location less than a year ago, and it's awesome. All of the equipment is brand-spankin' new, there's a cardio room/theater where you can watch a movie on the big screen while you sweat, and the rest of the cardio equipment has individual TVs to take your mind off the agony. Probably the best thing about Retro Fitness: It's cheap. There's no sign-up fee, monthly membership dues are only $19.99, and for $5 extra you can either get unlimited tanning or massages in its nifty, computerized massage bed. 3050 Peachtree Road. 404-549-7126. buckheadga.retrofitness.net. less...

Best hot tchotchkes BOA Award Winner

Highland Row Antiques isn't your mildewed neighborhood yard sale. The Poncey-Highland shop specializes in mid-century modern pieces like retro ashtrays and deco artwork, as well as other kitschy vintage pieces. The small, curated storefront gives way to a giant Basement Market with bric-a-brac from moremore...
Highland Row Antiques isn't your mildewed neighborhood yard sale. The Poncey-Highland shop specializes in mid-century modern pieces like retro ashtrays and deco artwork, as well as other kitschy vintage pieces. The small, curated storefront gives way to a giant Basement Market with bric-a-brac from more than 20 dealers, ranging from $5 Americana saltshakers to a $500 Danish couch. 628 N. Highland Ave. 404-815-8830. highlandrowantiques.com. less...

Best luxury mani-pedi BOA Award Winner

Best selection of handmade jewelry BOA Award Winner

The term crafts, as in arts and crafts, used to evoke images of macaroni necklaces and little cabins constructed of crudely glued together popsicle sticks. Atlanta's craft scene is a hell of a lot more sophisticated than that. The Beehive Co-Op sells clothes, bags, and beauty products by some of themore...
The term crafts, as in arts and crafts, used to evoke images of macaroni necklaces and little cabins constructed of crudely glued together popsicle sticks. Atlanta's craft scene is a hell of a lot more sophisticated than that. The Beehive Co-Op sells clothes, bags, and beauty products by some of the area's best indie crafters, and its selection of jewelry is especially impressive. Established in 2004, Beehive owners Malene Davis and Preeti Ayyangar secured a sunny and spacious retail location in the Edgewood Shopping District in early 2010. About half of the space is dedicated to handmade baubles like A Bardis' colorful drop earrings, delicate fortune cookie necklaces by Christina Kober Designs, and Madeline Burdine's whimsical, nature-inspired metalwork necklaces, earrings and cuffs. 1250 Caroline St., Suite C120. 404-350-3898. thebeehiveatl.com. less...

Best way to skip a trip to the farmers market BOA Award Winner

We all feel good about ourselves when we shop at the farmers market, don't we? Look at us strutting around with our reusable tote bags, mentally applauding ourselves for waking up early on a weekend in order to consume with conscience. If the scene's too much for you, or if you just like sleeping in,more...
We all feel good about ourselves when we shop at the farmers market, don't we? Look at us strutting around with our reusable tote bags, mentally applauding ourselves for waking up early on a weekend in order to consume with conscience. If the scene's too much for you, or if you just like sleeping in, Vegetable Husband delivers fresh, local produce to its subscribers' doors once a week. Proprietor Margie Thorpe does the dirty work for her clients. She picks up a variety of fresh fruits and veggies from area farms, divvies them out in adorably folksy baskets and arranges for home delivery by friendly volunteers. A basket from Vegetable Husband is something to behold, especially in the summer when it overflows with a bounty of organic edibles such as peppers, okra, green beans, the best tomatoes you'll ever taste, melons and blueberries. 404-617-9302. vegetablehusband.com. less...

Best adult toy store BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations

Best art supplies BOA Award Winner

Best bootcamp BOA Award Winner

Operation Boot Camp

Best gym BOA Award Winner

And other metro Atlanta locations

Best hotel BOA Award Winner

W Hotel
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best pet store BOA Award Winner

Park Pet Supply

Best sneaker store BOA Award Winner

Abbadabba's
And other metro Atlanta locations

Best vintage clothing BOA Award Winner

Stefan's

Best alternative alternative exercise BOA Award Winner

Sometimes you want to be coddled, crouching in the fetal position, while wind chimes gently wipe your stress away. But what you want isn't always what you need. You need to relax. You need to stop whining. You need Tough Love Yoga. Run by the highly accomplished yoginis Neda Draupadi Honarvar and Durgayamore...
Sometimes you want to be coddled, crouching in the fetal position, while wind chimes gently wipe your stress away. But what you want isn't always what you need. You need to relax. You need to stop whining. You need Tough Love Yoga. Run by the highly accomplished yoginis Neda Draupadi Honarvar and Durgaya Palmieri, both certified in Classical Hatha Yoga, TLY de-stresses you better than spinning endlessly on the elliptical (like you're doing now). Difficulty ranges from beginner's yoga to bikini bootcamp. Its popular Metal Yoga class at Young Blood Gallery is not easy, but newbies can go at their own speed. The class takes place in the exhibition room, so yogis are surrounded by hanging art and tattooed hipsters. Metal Yoga focuses on maintaining poses and improving flexibility unlike others around town that fixate on aerobic activity. Body-mind wellness doesn't always come cheap, but there's a $10 suggested donation for dropping in a class and a 10-class pass is $90. Tough love never felt so good. 636 North Highland Ave. 404-919-1008. toughloveyoga.com. less...

Best boutique nursery BOA Award Winner

The Westside neighborhood is stark and industrial, full of repurposed commercial buildings and brand-new, mostly empty condominiums. The lush Garden is a shock to the Westside's senses, a beautiful display of sophisticated greenery, pricey plant displays and European potpourri and incenses with a modernmore...
The Westside neighborhood is stark and industrial, full of repurposed commercial buildings and brand-new, mostly empty condominiums. The lush Garden is a shock to the Westside's senses, a beautiful display of sophisticated greenery, pricey plant displays and European potpourri and incenses with a modern edge. The shop even provides design consultations and installation for those big projects in your little urban oasis. 1168 Howell Mill Road., Studio A. 404-941-9154. gardenatl.com. less...

Best budget bridal BOA Award Winner

Best pawn shop BOA Award Winner

Unlike what you see on reality TV, most pawn shops are unsexy, low-rent places selling used lawnmowers, roofing tools and stolen car stereos. Jason's Pawn Shop, on the other hand, usually has an interesting array of guy stuff, from turntables to antique cameras and old radios to vintage guitars. It'smore...
Unlike what you see on reality TV, most pawn shops are unsexy, low-rent places selling used lawnmowers, roofing tools and stolen car stereos. Jason's Pawn Shop, on the other hand, usually has an interesting array of guy stuff, from turntables to antique cameras and old radios to vintage guitars. It's a small store, so it makes the shelf space count by only displaying cool shit like high-end mountain bikes and reel-to-reel players. Look elsewhere for that second-hand microwave. 2104 N. Decatur Road, Decatur. 404-636-1731. less...

Best spa deal BOA Award Winner

Best CDs BOA Award Winner

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