Atlanta is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s hometown. It is often called “the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement.”
To honor Atlanta’s deep and lasting contributions to Civil Rights during Black History Month, Miller Zell associates went on a retail tour to highlight the city’s Black-owned retailers that uplift the community we share.
As Diversity, Equity & Inclusion are part of Miller Zell’s core values, we understand that a retail tour is not only about celebrating Black-owned businesses but learning from them and supporting them.
Here are some highlights.
A place to browse, hang out and shop while providing tangible support.
The Village Retail
“Support is a verb.” That’s the slogan of The Village at Ponce City Market, which supports Black entrepreneurs, showcasing 80-100 Black-owned businesses that specialize in apparel/merchandise, all-natural products and food.
Through community-driven, targeted programming and market events, The Village connects Black-owned businesses to shoppers, resources and even investors. Before the pandemic, The Village Market hosted events where minority-owned businesses could sell their goods to consumers face-to-face at their quarterly marketplaces.
Miller Zell believes in creating optimized customer experiences, and The Village Retail cultivates an experience that truly “intersects cause, culture, retail & community.”
It’s a great place to browse, hang out and shop, and doing so means you’re providing tangible support as a verb, not just an idea.
A space that is run, owned and operated completely by the Makers contained within.
The beehive, a community retail gathering of local artisans, notes on its webpage, “We’re still Atlanta’s only space that is run, owned, and operated completely by the Makers contained within.”
The diverse displays were unified by materials and common “about the artist” burnt wood placards, giving the space a cohesive look and feel. Product selection included apparel, housewares, accessories, baby goods, food and jewelry. Besides retail, classes are offered in sewing, jewelry making and soap & candle making.
The retail space is warm and inviting. The usage of woods and common materials enhance the relatable nature of the space.
The localization really impressed one Miller Zell associate who mentioned, “It was like going to an arts festival in a boutique store, where you could support the artists and buy something that was unique and not factory made.”
A boutique designed to represent and inspire a fashion-forward clientele.
A Ma Manière
Inspired by Parisian culture and fashion, A Ma Manière (My Way in French), is a boutique designed to represent and inspire a fashion-forward clientele deeply rooted within their community with offerings in luxury street and footwear.
A Ma Manière, which also has locations in Washington D.C. and Houston, is based on a “Living Room” theme. It nurtures an intimate, authentic, rustic luxury vibe with curated content and an engaging staff.
The display systems and visual merchandising highlight a variety of products in a spare, modern way. The second level creates a “top shelf” feel with strategic accents of LED and backlighting.
A Ma Manière also recently opened a five-story flagship store on 479 Edgewood Ave. SE, which is near several prominent Black-owned businesses, including The Swag Shop barber shop owned by rap star Killer Mike and restauranteur Aisha Cole’s newest Slutty Vegan location, among others.
The location also is one block away from the home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a short walk from The King Center.
The shop notes it “is a modern mix of retail and relax.”
Just Add Honey Tea Company
“Just add honey tea company” was “created by tea lovers… [who] decided we would MAKE what we wanted. Combining flavors from around the world that are pleasing to the palate while still keeping it light and interesting.”
The shop notes it “is a modern mix of retail and relax.” The delightful space is off Atlanta’s Beltline, the center of the city’s thread of art, culture and exploration, and invites patrons to learn the intricacies of tea making and create a blend for their unique needs. Personalization is even taken one step further with a blog for tea enthusiasts.
A large menu board greets customers with warm colors and a clear listing of offerings. The design is clean – so many teas, need more time! – and there is also coffee, branded apparel and a wide range of quirky and useful gifts, including plenty of tempting honeys and sweets. The lighting and ceiling fixtures are warm and modern, featuring wood and green plants.
This is an inviting place to visit with friends and maybe pass a few free minutes. Or hours?
A culturally diverse mix of businesses gives The Beacon authenticity within the surrounding Grant Park neighborhood.
The Beacon Atlanta
The Beacon is a mixed-use development with 110,000 square feet of restaurants & bars, a coffee shop, a bakery, a gourmet market, retail shopping, daycare and medical and wellness centers. The development hosts a culturally diverse mix of businesses, which give it authenticity within the surrounding Grant Park neighborhood.
The Beacon provides an ideal location for family fun, date nights or just a unique place to run errands. It creates a layered neighborhood experience that satisfies patrons’ daytime and evening needs and entertainment. Local artists were brought in to add murals and artwork, and this provides a colorful contrast to the industrial building shapes.
The development is walkable and is easy to navigate, even while offering some unexpected moments as you explore the divided building spaces. It has a special energy provided by the eclectic mix of restaurants and vendors.
We explored a few of these businesses, including:
Cool stores and tasty food create great customer experiences.
Curation and optimized layout were important to maximize these mostly smaller spaces, particularly with some pandemic protocols still in place.
Overall, the collection of culturally diverse businesses felt very natural and authentic, each providing a unique service or meal offering that worked well within the holistic concept. This is a welcomed addition to the area.
A team of Miller Zell creative professionals conducted our Black History Month Retail Tour. We offer a special thank you to Reggie Barton, Karen Bianchine, Corwin Carter, Cherry DelRosario, Ashley Dreher, Bill Gantner, Matt Hardiman, Loren Palmer, Jessy Hugus, Dean Mallory, Allen Plaugh, Paulino Sanchez, Adriana Sandoval, Vincent Shields, Quentin Spencer, Edna Strawser and David Woehst for visiting these outstanding retailers and providing their insights. We also want to thank the restaurants and retailers who shared time with them. It was a great experience!
As February comes to a close, Miller Zell also would encourage readers to visit and frequent these Black-owned businesses or others in their communities in honor of Black History Month and throughout the year.