Our original Buckhead store on East Paces Ferry was our first foray out of Little 5 Points, opening in 1990. We wondered if the ritzy, upper-scale and (in some cases) wealthy neighborhood would respond to us bringing the “ugly” comfort shoes and the hippy-punk staff to their neck of the woods. Leasing the ancient “High Fidelity SSS” standalone storefront, we resolved to be ourselves as boldly as possible, starting with our signature “checkerboard” parking lot and extending to the extensive faux-finished interior walls (hand painted by Abbadabba herself.) We probably could not have picked a worse time; Buckhead Village was on the ropes, vacancies were high; rough and tumble bars and clubs had scared off retail customers and many retail merchants. Coming from Little 5, of course, this didn’t bother us much at all.
Respond they did. Our new neighbors came in for their Birkenstock sandals, Dr. Martens boots, and NaNa shoes. From the Governor’s mansion to the West and from the Chastain-Wieuca to the North, the affluent and curious found comfort and fashion they had not seen before. Having been active in the Little 5 Points Business Association, we helped form the Buckhead Village Merchants Association, which in turn, helped build up the retail store presence in the Village. Over the next few years, Buckhead Village became healthy, strong, and… fully occupied.
Our little building was cramped from the outset, and as we grew, even more so. A temporary shed snuck behind the building helped a little. For a time, we even split the store in half, operating a “Birkenstock Specialty Store” in one half, and with the rest of our stuff crammed into the other. Our customers grew, our L5P store expanded into two floors, but we were stuck in Buckhead with a building that seemed to get smaller and smaller as our brands and stock grew larger and larger.
Fortuity struck in 2007, when our landlord of 17 years sold the building out from under us, for a planned blocks-wide super project (that has never materialized.) Forced to move, we lucked out and found our current location a couple of miles to the North, just off Wieuca road, and still in the heart of our customer’s neighborhoods.
Expanded nearly twice the size, our new Buckhead store was the first (and only) to utilize an outside designer. New Buckhead brought a unique look, but with the same feel of comfortable shoes, and knowledgeable salespeople.
Today our Buckhead store has grown to become our flagship store, outpacing even Little 5 Points for us. We have the room to show a huge selection of the best the market can offer. Our staff continues to be trained and retrained to help meet the diverse needs of the diverse customers who visit us there. And our customers keep coming for the latest Dansko, Naot, Mephisto, Olukai, Rainbow, Toms, Chaco… and dozens of other brands.