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CoolShoes - Abbadabba's

Atlanta’s Premier Source for Innovative Comfort Footwear

  • Kennesaw - Our Experiment That Failed Successfully

    In 2003, we evaluated an opportunity to open an Abbadabba’s in the “far away suburb” of Kennesaw. We felt the area would respond well to our vision for comfort, healthy footwear. But we were not at all sure the level of business would be there to justify a “full blown Abbadabba’s.”  So, we undertook an experiment: to create a small Abbadabba’s, showing a subset of our products, and see what kind of response we would get.

    Why Kennesaw? This is a very interesting area… associated with urban Atlanta to the far South, but not a suburb in a classical sense. We knew we had a solid base of customers from the area driving all the way to our Buckhead and Roswell stores to get their Abbadabba’s on.  We knew we had a lot of customers from the variety of people involved with KSU. And we knew that Atlanta seemed to be steadfast in marching North with its suburban sprawl. So, we undertook our experiment with a small, 2100 square foot operation directly in the shadow of the area’s major mall.

    Well, our experiment failed. We quickly discovered that the Kennesaw area responded well to our presence, but they wanted all of what they had come to expect from an Abbadabba’s. We promptly began expanding and by 2011 we were up to a “full size” store for our customers, at 3700 square feet.

    the general 800wDuring our years here, we’ve found a lot that makes Kennesaw an interesting, fun place to live and work. The area was known for railroad history long before the city itself was founded in 1887. The Great Locomotive Chase of April 12, 1862, was staged right here - the only one of its kind during the Civil War. The event has been romanticized in the movies twice. Buster Keaton’s “The General” in 1926 is now considered one of the greatest movies ever made.  Disney’s version in 1956 starred Fess Parker (aka Davy Crockett) and the real General locomotive, which is still on display at The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History here in Kennesaw.

    The beautiful Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park has many hiking trails and park amenities. Their brochure presents the role of Kennesaw in the 1964 Atlanta campaign and a detailed history of Cobb county.

    250px-KennesawCityHallModern day Kennesaw has earned national accolades, including Family Circle’s “10 best towns for families (2007) and Newsmax’ “Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns” (2009 - we were number 25.) The city also gained national publicity in 1982 when an ordinance passed requiring every head of household in the city limits to maintain a firearm and ammunition, with some exceptions.

    We have found our customers in Kennesaw to be fans of Birkenstock and Chaco, similar to our other stores. Toms are also very popular. Ladies in Kennesaw have been very receptive to our Vionic shoes as well.

  • Why We're a SNOB for East Cobb

    In March of 2012, we closed our Northside store located about three miles east of Roswell, and opened a new store about three miles west of Roswell in a section of metro Atlanta that was new to us. Although still close to Roswell, our new location carried a Marietta address. But it didn’t seem like Marietta at all.

    Abbadabba's Atlanta East Cobb Store

    In fact, we were in the heart of a very unique part of metropolitan Atlanta that calls itself East Cobb: a large swath of unincorporated residential and business communities reaching from Roswell towards the east, Marietta towards the west, Kennesaw towards the far northwest, and Atlanta, near Vinings, towards the south.

    East Cobb is upscale and yet laid back. It boasts metro Atlanta’s best in terms of schools, parks, churches, local sports and residential development. From the Chattahoochee River Parks and Country Clubs that border us to the south, to the vast stretches of northern suburban neighborhoods between I-75 and GA 400, we discovered our new neighbors came with a distinct reputation and a trademarked nickname: East Cobb Snobs. While outsiders may view that name in a condescending way, we were welcomed into a vibrant community with open arms, by people who were friendly and interested in our healthful approach to footwear.

    Entry Sign 5350 ed 600wWe resonated with the shoppers and got great support from the Little Black Dress folks. We produced a “Fit & Fabulous” evening event with a running group that drew a great crowd. The “official” East Cobb Snobs celebrated our arrival and were very supportive, helping to get the word out quickly that we had arrived. We discovered that the snob name was an acronym: Social Network of Business Services, formed by local businesses owned by residents and serving residents of this delightful community. It was through extensive word-of-mouth that our business grew rapidly. Many of our customers already knew about us through our other locations and were delighted with our arrival.

    ECB Parade Team 500x375Becoming part of the East Cobb community has been fun. We have especially enjoyed the East Cobber parade and festival and consuming the yummy faire of Taste of East Cobb. We keep in touch with things through the local Facebook group, Twitter feed, the East Cobb Patch, and the East Cobber magazine.

    naot by displays JADE mariam ls2 131830 ed 800wOur East Cobb customers like their comfort mixed with fashion. Some of the most popular brands are Vionic, Naot, and OTBT. Styles like Vionic Willow and Larrun incorporate arch support and balancing features. Within Naot, mens Chief and womens Arataki represent the marriage of comfort and style that can be worn all day. The OTBT Bushnell is the epitome of fashion with a comfort footbed.

  • Buckhead Blog - 2016

    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. abbadabbas-buckhead-atlanta-checkerboardLeasing 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. abbadabbas-buckhead-atlanta-insideOur 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.

  • Soho of the South. Atlanta’s Village. SoPo. Little 5.

    SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAOver the years, Little 5 Points has earned a variety of nicknames for the wide array of quirky businesses and vibrant personalities that have entrenched the Little 5 Points business district as a very special part of Atlanta’s modern soul.

    In the early 1900’s, Atlanta’s first suburbanites in ritzy Inman Park and Candler Park were connected to downtown Atlanta with a trolley service, linking their Five Points with our Little 5 Points. This haven half-way to Decatur spawned a business district that grew between the two Parks and flourished with them for decades. But like our neighbors, we decayed in the 40’s and 50’s as countless other, newer neighborhoods circled Atlanta in every direction.

    The urban pioneers of the 60’s found and fixed dilapidated homes and businesses as intown living was ‘rediscovered.’ Occupancy picked up from mostly vacant to waiting lists. And the new, exciting character of Little 5 Points evolved from those ashes as the place where everybody was welcome, and diversity and creativity were celebrated.

    SAM_0428 edWhat does that look like? Arts, music, theater, bars, restaurants, boutiques, of course. An abandoned school turned into a Community Center with its own own indie radio station and avant garde theater company. Independent record stores (WaxnFacts, Criminal), independent bookstores (Charis, A Capella), pre-Starbucks coffee shops, a regional performance venue, the South’s vanguard co-op food store, and countless business experiments took hold here, with the common denominator being locally conceived, owned, and operated. So much creativity in one place naturally spilled out into the street, in the form of outdoor music and art festivals, and our now renown Halloween parade.

    One of the many businesses that sank its roots in Little 5 was our own little experiment named for its owner: Abbadabba’s. Starting with toys, cards, gifts, jewelry, and ‘some shoes in the back,’ Abbadabba moved from her weekend launching pad at the fabled Atlanta Flea Market into her first real retail store, a sliver next to the Sevanada Co-op, part of a building that became a National Treasure. We still looked and felt like a mini flea market, but the shoes in the back quickly became our calling. Basing on Birkenstock, and Shakti, we started on the mission to bring Innovative Comfort Footwear to Atlanta, before the concept of “comfort footwear” had even been born. That focus on shoes exploded our business, and in just a few years, we became known for our cool shoes, and have been ever since.

    We have won our share of awards, of course. But the win we are most proud of is with each customer who discovers how healthful, hip footwear can transform how they look and feel. We solved problems, created opportunities, and spread the word about comfort footwear that we literally helped create.

    l5p inter JADE 3 122711 ed 800wIt’s not just what’s on our shelves that’s positioned us as Atlanta’s premier source for cool shoes. We are deeply committed to providing a truly pleasant shopping experience, as we introduce each customer to comfortable footwear that promotes a healthy life. We have a great story to tell, finding the shoes your feet want and need. And we also make it fun to discover that perfect fit and function. We enjoy spending time with you in our store, and appreciate you choosing to spend your shopping time with us.

    Our amazing customers have propelled us to expand in Atlanta to four stores, each catering to the needs of their own rich community. Each store has its own personality, people, and products. But Abbadabba’s was born and raised in Little 5, and that commitment to creativity and individuality still pervades our business soul. We are Atlanta’s Premier Source for Innovative, Comfort footwear, and it all started right here in L5P.

  • Get Ready 4 Spring: A Healthy Pedicure

    Finally! Sandal season is upon us! Spring is the time when our toes get to come out from hiding from our UGG boots, rain boots, knee-socks and snuggly slippers. Are your toes ready to see the light of day?  If they’re anything like ours, then….probably not. Am I right?

    Kristen-Beach-PediSo, first order of business is a pedicure. But we’re not talking any old strip-mall nail shop pedicure...we’re talking about a healthy pedicure. Getting a pedicure is a time-honored way for women - and men! - to pamper one’s self and relax. But did you know that they are also good for your feet?  There are numerous health benefits associated with pedicures.  You just have to make sure you’re getting them done the right way. Otherwise, they may have the opposite effect.

    First we’ll look at the benefits of getting a pedicure. Of course there are the obvious benefits of relaxation, and perhaps more importantly...not having your feet resemble Bilbo Baggins and his Hobbit feet.  But the benefits don’t stop there. The foot massage that accompanies most pedicures can help stimulate circulation in your feet and lower legs. The increased blood flow helps prevent clotting, and is good for the overall health of your feet. Removing calluses and excess dead skin can help prevent the formation of painful pressure points on your feet, caused by uneven weight distribution. Regular pedicures can also help prevent ingrown toenails, blisters, and blackened toenails (especially common among runners).

    Next, we want to stress that pedicures are not solely (pun not Babe-Ruth-Pediintended) for the ladies.  Many guys are getting in on the action. It’s not just for vanity reasons, either. (Although avoiding “Hobbit Feet” is as good a reason as any.) Many spas are now offering “Sports Manicures” for athletes who are notoriously hard on their feet. Athletes know how important foot health is to their overall well-being and performance, and pedicures can help. Hey dude, if Babe Ruth, Tim Tebow and David Beckham can do it, so can you!

    So now that you the health benefits of a pedicures, here’s a little primer of the do’s (COOL) and dont’s (NOT COOL) of getting a healthy pedicure:

    #Kristen-Birkenstock-Pedi1 ON THE NOT-COOL LIST: Never, ever, ever stick your feet in a jacuzzi tub. Do NOT be charmed by the allure of that bubbling cauldron of fungus and bacteria. I know it may feel good in the moment, but it certainly won’t a week later when you are fighting a fungal or bacterial infection on your feet.

    COOL: Your pedicurist uses a freshly cleaned and sterilized bowl or bath in which to soak your feet.

    NOT-COOL: You do not see a sterilizer for the pedicurist’s tools.

    COOL: Your pedicurist is using stainless steel tools that are sterilized before and after every use and client.

    NOT-COOL: Shaving your legs before a pedicure. Shaving leaves tiny cracks and micro-tears in your skin, in which bacteria can enter. That goes for you, too, guys. That is SO not cool.

    COOL: Pedicurists who cut or file toenails straight across in order to prevent ingrown toenail.

    NOT-COOL: Cutting cuticles. DO NOT CUT CUTICLES. STOP IT. JUST NO. Cuticles are there to protect your nails from microbes.  They are part of our body’s many natural defense mechanisms. It is perfectly fine for the pedicurist to apply natural oils to your cuticles and to push them down gently, but do not let them cut.  Your cuticles and the skin around your nails should never look red after a pedicure.

    And finally...COOL...a pedicurist who is more concerned by your foot health and comfort than how many feet come in and out of his/her door or what color polish you choose.

    Some Atlanta nail salons, we endorse and love:

    Wax-ATL/Buff Nail Care (Inman Park/O4W)

    10Ten Nail Bar (various locations)

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