By Tara Gary, photos by Alex Maslarov
As if my job couldn’t get any better? I spend several hours a day visiting businesses and forming new relations with our neighbors and communities. I sit at Joe’s Pizza enjoying the house stromboli and local craft beer with my boss. Now he’s asked me to go shopping? The nerve of some people!
I know, I know, you haven’t even had your Thanksgiving meal yet and thinking about the idea of holiday shopping can be overwhelming and tedious. Well, I am about to make it very simple for you. I’ve compiled a gift guide of items from a variety of my favorite locally owned shops.
Once this time of year rolls around your inbox gets inundated with invitations to events you may or may not be looking forward to attending. When you receive an invitation to such a gathering, as per Southern protocol, although not everyone will agree, you should arrive with a hostess gift. The perfect store to find hostess gifts is Piper Lillies in Johns Creek. They have “a gift for everyone… for every occasion.” It’s even written on their business card. Piper Lillies is full of those whimsical gifts perfect for administrators, teachers, and anyone you may want to acknowledge during the holidays.
I found these super adorable jingle bell bottle openers. The tag reads “get your jingle on.” Attach one to the top of a gift bag with your beverage of choice and voilà, you’re finished! They are about the size of a tennis ball and come in gold, silver, or a multiple cluster. $11.99 each
If you need to bring an appetizer to a gathering, just pick up some of these San Saba River Pecan Co. Preserves. I chose the Cranberry Chili Pecan and the Jalapeno Peach & Pecan preserves, sweet with a kick. I bet these would be amazing served over various cheeses with crackers. $5.99 for the 5oz. jar
These linen hand towels are a tastefully festive gift for the person who has everything. There is a large selection of patterns and themes at the store. I love that the Hanukkah towels are in these beautiful earth tones that would match any décor. $13.99-$14.99 each.
The extremely helpful sales associates led me to this candle. One of the most popular items and now I know why. After removing the wrapping the aroma of the candle completely embraced my senses into the spirit of Christmas. They come in a variety of these celebratory wreaths that measure about 5” in diameter. The scent of this one is Siberian Fir and smells like a fresh cut Christmas tree. $13.99 each. Piper Lillies gift shoppe is located at 11705 Jones Bridge Road in Johns Creek, GA 30009. Phone 678-867-0033. Piper Lillies
Have you been to Steel & Cotton yet? It is one of my absolute favorite shops. They have so many unique items to salivate over. Yes I salivate as I wander through that shop dreaming of a home large enough to accommodate everything there that I would love to purchase. From gifts for the home to furniture and light fixtures, they carry a little bit of everything. If you like the industrial farmhouse look, you will definitely love this shop. Not only do they have gifts for the home but they carry a wide variety of gifts for babies, children and teens.
This is one of my favorite items on this list. This clever aluminum and brass pencil holder has a super retro appeal. It really has an authentic look and feel to it. Steel and Cotton carries this unique line of whimsical nostalgic objects. Microphone Aluminum Pencil Holder $65.00.
Need a gift for someone who’s constantly and fashionably on the run? This 30oz. copper water bottle is not only practical but it also makes a statement. One version comes with the word “LOVE” imprinted on it, $52.00, or you can choose the simpler and classic version with no imprint for $48.00.
Steel & Cotton carries a sweet assortment of baby and children’s gifts. How adorable is this outfit?! For a brief moment, it makes me want to have another child, or maybe I’ll just wait for a grandchild. Either way, “the snuggle is real!” This made of organic textiles duo is touchable soft and I love the tiny wooden buttons on the sleeves. Baby-friendly and earth-friendly, made by Oliver and Rain. $20 for the top and $22 for the star print pant.
These coconut exfoliating sugar cubes will be going home with me. If you know someone who enjoys a hot bath like I do, these are the perfect gift. Nothing is better than soaking the day away and adding this to your bath or shower will help nourish that dry skin we tend to get when the weather turns. $26 for a 16oz jar.
Speaking of nourishing your skin… I found these Sweeteepie Facial polishes (page 26) in Cucumber Fresh and Juicy Pomegranate varieties. They feel and smell amazing! What I really love about these products is that they are made in Roswell! The 4 oz. container is $13.50 and the 8oz. container is $27.
Want to give a gift that will coax a child to bathe? These creative Amaze Balls were created by two teenage girls and are handmade in the USA. Once these bath bombs dissolve in water they reveal a toy surprise suitable for any gender. Genius! Amaze Balls 16oz. container is $28.00
Steel & Cotton is located at 1116 Canton Street in Roswell, GA 30075. Phone 678-404-8989. Steel & Cotton
One of my interior decorator friends highly recommended me paying a visit to 13 Hub Lane. I am so glad I did. This store is a decorator’s dream! If you are design-challenged you can rely on any of the sales associates who are all design consultants. The store has a unique mix of home décor, furniture, gifts, jewelry, clothing, and even baby items.
I was immediately drawn to the contrasting stitch detail on a full grain leather Bed|Stu handbag. This bag is the perfect accessory to complete a casual yet sophisticated look. You just can’t go wrong with it. In Teak Driftwood Bone Glove (no I can’t take credit for the name of the color written on the tag) it will complement nearly every casual outfit and only get better with age. Bed|stu Barra Handbag $269.00
Business or casual, I have found the belt that will never go out of style. Handmade in the Netherlands from soft Italian leather, this 2” wide belt (page 29) is sure to please. The oval buckle adds a feminine touch. Amsterdam Heritage Double Side Wide Belt in Camel $95.00
I love a simple piece of jewelry that can be worn with my everyday casual outfits and I definitely found one. This handcrafted rigid silver bracelet is Boho chic for a woman who loves simplicity but stands out for having great taste. UNO de 50 Silver Bracelet $145.00
13 Hub Lane has four different locations. The only location in Georgia is in Roswell Marketplace 10800 Alpharetta Hwy. Suite 402 Roswell, GA 30075. Phone 770-802-5740. 13 Hub Lane
For the man in your life, I highly suggest stopping by Clothes Horse Men’s Apparel & Gifts which was voted The Best Men’s Clothing Store in North Atlanta 2017. Charleen, along with her husband John, have truly created an unparalleled men’s shop. Don’t be fooled by the size of this storefront. From the street it looks very small but once you enter you will discover that the store continues like a maze and eventually you may be able to take in all of the merchandise cleverly displayed on industrial hooks and furniture. The clothes are high quality, durable, yet super soft. They also have a great selection of men’s gifts ranging from watches, sunglasses, belts, and accessories to overnight and weekender bags. Did I mention that the shop smells great? It smells like what I imagine Ryan Reynolds would smell like.
Charleen helped me assemble a casual Fall/Winter ensemble. I was especially pleased with a plaid shirt that is made by Madison Creek Outfitters headquartered here in Georgia. A plaid Garnet & Pine button down screams to be worn by a masculine outdoor enthusiast or even the guy next door grabbing a beer and watching a game. Madison Creek Outfitters Button Down Shirt $99.50.
We paired the shirt with khakis of course, but not just any khakis, johnnie-O Khakis. These durable yet comfortable pants make you look like you went the extra mile to look good. johnnie-O pants $125.00. To top it all off, I couldn’t resist this Mountain Khakis plush button-down. I wanted to cuddle with it so I can only imagine wanting to melt into the man’s arms who’s wearing it. Mountain Khakis Button-Down $84.95.
To complete the look for the man who may be spending the weekend road- tripping we selected this canvas with leather trim bag. Made by United Blue, a company that removes one pound of trash from our oceans and waterways for every product sold, makes this bag even more appealing as if you needed another reason to love it. United Blue Weekender Bag $168.00. Clothes Horse is located at 28 Milton Avenue Alpharetta, GA 30009. Phone 770-905-6089. Clothes Horse Men’s Apparel & Gifts
Now that I’ve assembled the perfect men’s casual outfit I’ll share my favorite men’s boot source… Red Wing Shoes. Since 1905, Red Wing has been producing their high quality leather boots which were originally intended to meet the needs for those in specific occupations. Today the shoes and boots still meet the high standards of those made over 100 years ago, but the modern versions are really good looking boots. Part of the Heritage Collection, there is no doubt that they will last forever with a little TLC every now and then. The helpful sales associates at the Mansell location in Roswell will help you select the perfect style and fit and they will also be happy to help with preventative maintenance. Men’s Iron Ranger Boot $319.99. Woman’s Clara Boot $359.99. Red Wing Shoes is located at 875 Mansell Rd Ste B1, Roswell, Georgia 30076. Phone (770) 558-4400. Red Wing Shoes
If you are planning to find a gift for me personally, or the craft beer lover, look no further than Oak Street in Roswell. Tap & 6 could possibly be a second home for me. With 40 continuously rotating beers on tap and 200+ singles, ciders, and craft sodas to choose from you will definitely find something, if not everything, to like. Currently, my favorite Fall beer is #38, a chocolate pumpkin porter called Gourd Vibrations by Gate City. You can fill a 32oz growler for $12, or a 64oz. growler of Gourd Vibrations for $24. I asked Ethan, the General Manager, to assist me for a suggestion of available tastes in December. He suggested and I couldn’t agree more, Hardywood Park Craft Breweries Gingerbread Stout which is spot on for the perfect craft beer lover’s holiday gift. No explanation needed here. It tastes just like it sounds. Intriguing flavors of ginger, cinnamon, milk chocolate, vanilla, and a hint of honey leave your taste buds longing for more. So when you’re headed to that holiday party or to my front door, please remember the craft beer. 64oz Growler of Gourd Vibrations $24.00. Tap & Six at 23 Oak St, Roswell, GA 30075. Phone 678-878-3038. Tap & Six
With that beer, you’ll need something to munch on. If you have a grill lover, want to-be-chef, or an amateur cook on your list, stop by Mitch’s Meats & Fish to grab the perfect gift. Mitch has his own array of sauces, spices, and seasonings sure to make any meal a hit. One of the best things about this place is the personal attention Mitch pays to each of his customers. I learn something every time I visit Mitch and watch him carefully instruct each customer how best to season and cook the meat he has just hand selected and cut for them. Locally owned by Mitch Manoloff, this butcher shop is the place for fine quality—everything from prime steaks to the freshest fish from all over the world. I almost forgot…the soups. You must, must try his homemade soups! Chunky spoonfuls of tender meat drowning in the best soup I have ever had. He sells out daily so take my advice and be there early. Mitch’s Meats & Fish is located at 30 E. Crossville Rd, Ste 160, Roswell, GA 30075. Phone 678-878-2922. Hot Spicy Peanuts $7.99, Ketchup $7.99. Hot Sauce $5.99, Grilling Sauce $10.99. Mitch’s Meats & Fish
If you’re looking for rare or unique wine or beer, Pinkies Up is the place for you. Pinkies Up has 22 beers on draft. These are no ordinary beers. Every time I stop by the store they have something new on tap. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, they will do their best to find it for you. The owners, Melissa and Matthew have poured their hearts and soul into this local hangout/tasting room. I have yet to meet anyone more educated on rare wines than Melissa. Their tagline is “Simplifying Sophistication” and their goal is to make the process of purchasing beer and wine as simple and enjoyable as possible. On my last visit, Melissa introduced me to gifts from Babylonstoren’s winery in South Africa. Only 12 bottles of Sprankel Méthode Cap Classique 2012 were released to Georgia and guess where you can purchase them? The wine, made with 100% Chardonnay grapes, will maintain a refined finish and freshness for years to come. Pair this wine with the Babel cookbook which pays homage to Babylonstoren and the Babel restaurant. This is an absolutely beautiful cookbook for the wine enthusiast on your list. Babylonstoren Sprankel Method Cap Classique 2012, $65.00. Babel Cookbook $50.00, Babylonstoren Olive Oil 8oz. $12.99. Babylonstoren Honeybush or Rooibos Tea 4oz. $8.99. Pinkies Up is located at 30 East Crossville Rd, Suite 180 Roswell, GA 30075. Phone 770-676-7101. Pinkies Up
Do you have a furry, fluffy friend on your list? If so, JC Pet Shoppe, locally owned and operated by Carol Starke, is the shop that truly cares about the natural wellbeing of your cat or dog. Carol was quick to inform me of her emphasis of natural pure ingredients and remedies. She has a vast knowledge as well as a wide variety of gifts and items sure to please any four legged recipient. I found this great looking 6ft. durable nylon and leather leash made in the U.S.A. If you need an unusual gift for the dog lover pick up this crafty and industrial aluminum paw print leash holder. It’s useful and thoughtful. Let’s not forget our feline friends. What cat doesn’t like a furry mouse that imitates mouse noises when touched? I especially found this cat food bowl amusing with its three dimensional mice cleverly placed in and around the bowl. 6ft. Black Dog Leash $17.49, Dog Leash Hanger $13.99. Animated Mouse $7.99, Cat Food Bowl $8.99. JC Pet Shoppe is located at 9925 Haynes Bridge Road John Creek, GA 30022. Phone 770-664-5700. J. C. Pet Shoppe
If you have that certain someone that appreciates antiques and unique items that have lived a former life and can almost tell a story about themselves take some time and wander through the aisles of endless possibilities at Scott Antique Market. You can find everything from collectors’ items to useful things such as clothing and linens, often at prices lower in price and better in quality than new ones.
Scott Antique Markets are located at 3650 and 3850 (both North and South buildings) Jonesboro Road, Atlanta, GA 30354. Phone 740-569-2800. Scott Antique Market Aquamarine 45CT gemstone ring with diamonds, 1940s, $14,000. Boy Scout drums and patriotic children, approximately 1910s to 1930s. $100 each. Vintage 1960s International Harvester diecast tractor with rubber tires, $30-40.
To see the full gift guide with photos, view pages 26 to 30 of The Current Hub online, or pick up a copy at dozens of restaurants, shops, and pubs around town.
There are so many great local places to shop this holiday season. I couldn’t list all of them here, but we are working on a linked list at another page, to give you more ideas for shopping in town. Let me know if you have a favorite gift shop, and I’ll be sure to include it. Tara Gary.
Many thanks to all of the shop owners who loaned me these amazing items. I sincerely appreciate your trust and generosity. Ethan, I’m sorry I wrote my name in permanent ink on the growler so you’ll only see it again when I stop by to refill it.
With the exception of the Scott Antique photos, our Gift Guide was photographed by Alex Maslarov in his studio, Alex Pro Photo. The cover photo was shot on location at Steel & Cotton. All photos copyright Alex Maslarov. Email Alex.