One of the coolest shopping spots in Atlanta – and one of my favorites – is Little Five Points. Located about 4 miles from the center of Atlanta, it’s easy to reach by MARTA bus, and is about a 10-minute drive from downtown. Street parking is available, and there are a few parking lots open to customers of the businesses they serve, but definitely wear your walking shoes.
Little Five is one of Atlanta’s most bohemian district, and there’s much to do: browse record stores and thrift shops, relax with a beer, or watch live music. A hub of alternative culture, the neighborhood’s quirky stores and laid-back atmosphere offers some spectacular people-watching, too! Here are some of the shopping treasures you’ll find in this eccentric neighborhood (credit to littlefivepoints.net for the listings and information!)
The Clothing Warehouse
With a dream of working in fashion, Jim Buckley, an Ohio farm boy, made the move south where he and a friend started a vintage exporting warehouse. As their inventory expanded, Buckley turned the front of the warehouse into a small retail outlet. The Clothing Warehouse opened its doors in 1992 and he started sharing some of his original and unusual finds with the citizens of Atlanta.
The atmosphere of The Clothing Warehouse is half the fun of shopping there. Styled mannequins randomly stand around the store while aged art decorates concrete walls. Sitting in the middle of the store is a glass island full of bangles, necklaces, sunglasses, and any other accessory you can imagine. Moving around is easy with its openness, organization, and thoughtful merchandising, making choosing the right piece a breeze. Buckley uses and innovative approach in creative display of his product. Unlike most vintage store’s, everything is well organized, with orderly racks of clothing organized by style and color block. Even special attention is paid to clothing protection with plastic shoulder coverings; another sign of their attention to every detail.
The Clothing Warehouse employees are knowledgeable of the inventory and know how to sell it. They are upbeat and friendly, always willing to help you choose the right item.
With the popularity of The Clothing Warehouse, the perception of what vintage clothing stores should be is now redefined.
A clothing and accessories thrift store, Rag-O-Rama is located in Little Five Points and is an icon of the community. Insights Magazine’s 2013 Best of Atlanta for Best Vintage Clothing Store and Best Consignment Store, the always busy and popular shop carries a large selection of both men’s and women’s fashions, in fun and funky styles. Their selection changes daily from the constant influx of new clothes coming in. If you’re looking for retro, alternative, or stylishly edgy fashion, this is the place to go.
Like all thrift stores, some days are a successful hunt for amazing pieces while other days are not so great. But on any day you’ll find a mish-mash of items: name brand and designer, mid level brands like Gap, vintage items and new items. The selections are varied and you’ll find some hidden gems. The men’s selection is expansive with stylish denim, lightweight jackets, tees, buttoned down shirts, shoes and accessories.
If planning to sell your items, they pay on-the-spot with cash, check, or store credit for good condition items. They buy based on style, condition, season, color, size, label, and rack levels. However, be aware that they are selective in what they buy and only buy about 10% of the items brought in.
Charis Books and More, has been a central fixture in Little Five Points since November 1974 and is one of the oldest independent feminist bookstores in the country. The store’s rich history is interwoven with its customers, staff, partners and supporters, as was well as the feminist and lesbian feminist movements.
The first ten years of Charis’s history shows how people and politics affect and is affected by one another. Members of a lesbian-feminist community, located in Little Five Points and Chandler Park, patronized Charis in the 1970s. These women identified with the neighborhood, women owned store and recognized how important their written texts were to the lesbian-feminist movement. Atlanta’s lesbian feminists started shopping at Charis and talking to the owners. This led to many of the lesbian feminists becoming volunteers.
Eventually, Charis developed into a feminist bookstore, run by lesbians and featuring lesbian-feminist books. Today they specialize in diverse and unique children’s books, feminist and cultural studies books, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer fiction and non-fiction books.
The interests and needs of Little Five Points residents shopping at Charis changed the store’s focus and the books they carry. This is a store where people talk about books and ideas; a place where people are treated with respect no matter their background: progressive or radical, anti-war, anti-hate, and anything in between.
Not your ordinary bike shop, Outback Bikes is modest, friendly, and probably has the least high-pressure sales staff you will find anywhere. While most bike salespeople try to convince you a $5,000 mountain bike is your best choice, Outback Bikes recommends the best bike for the customer’s needs.
As you walk into the comfortable store atmosphere, you’re greeted with rows of shiny, colorful bikes, stretching from the front of the store to the back, stacked from the floor to practically ceiling. There are Road Bikes, Mountain Bikes, Fixies, Commuters, BMX, Cruisers, and Hybrids all awaiting your inspection. You will find bikes suited for everyone’s needs from the recreational cyclist to a seasoned athlete, or someone just curious about Atlanta’s cycling trends.
These bikes are not what you find in the low price discount stores. Expect to pay anywhere from $250 to several $1,000 for quality bikes built to last.
Don’t let the quirky name fool you, Abbadabba’s is Atlanta’s premier source in innovative comfort footwear. Found at the intersection of Moreland, Euclid, and McLendon Avenues, in the Point Center building, Abbadabba’s offers unique, funky, eco and vegan friendly shoes.
Abbadabba’s, owned and managed by Janice Abernathy and her husband Bill Carmichael, opened in 1981 in Atlanta’s alternative neighborhood, Little 5 Points. In the beginning, the store was like a flea market, selling toys, cards, gifts, and jewelry and to the back, a small selection of funky looking shoes. However, those funny looking shoes caught on, and in 1986, Bill left a career with Georgia-Pacific to join Janice full-time. Making footwear their main focus, a year later shoes were their top seller, accounting for most of their sales.
Junkman’s Daughter is difficult not to notice when you drive or pass by Moreland Avenue in Atlanta GA. You have definitely seen the establishment at one point or another — huge, multi-colored store with shimmering and sparkling mannequin displays. The exterior and even the name “Junkman’s Daughter” might just raise more questions than it answers — “what in the world is in there?”
Junkman’s Daughter is a testament to the diversity that Little 5 Points represent, and the interesting part is, this shop is one of the oldest in the community, and yet it is not an antique or vintage shop – well, not entirely at least, it has everything for every generation. It has anything and everything that you may or may not need but you may find it interesting because it simply is or maybe because it is one those things that you encounter very rarely and it would be a treasure to simply have it.
So instead of simply laying out for you what or what not to expect, how about do not expect anything and simply be open to anything that you will find in it.
In this digital age where music can be easily streamed and downloaded for cheap yearly or monthly subscriptions or even for free to say the least, you’d think that CDs and vinyl records are dead. But fact of the matter is, it really is a dwindling industry but there are still very few stores that keep that particular industry alive, one of which is Criminal Records.
Don’t let the shop name fool you. This is not a branch of the feds or something like that. Criminal Records is a music and comic book shop situated in Atlanta’s most artistically eclectic neighborhood, Little Five Points. They sell a wide range of physical music formats from CDs, vinyl records (all types – LPs, 7”s, 10”s and 12”s), DVDs, multiple disc sets, box sets and even turntables and accessories perfect for passionate music collectors. They also have an extensive graphic novel collection, posters, magazines and other stuff that are both new and used and even a cozy spot to hold short live performances, but Criminal Records is more known in L5P as one of the very few remaining physical record shops in Georgia and the only one in Atlanta.
Still in the hippy and funky Little Five Points lane known as Moreland Avenue, there is a clothing boutique that sits comfortably along this area and is simply more than a consignment shop for staple brands like Levi’s, Banana Republic, Gap or Betsey Johnson.
Psycho Sisters is just as eclectic as the neighborhood where it is located. Aside from used and new staple wardrobe, it also sells vintage and funky clothing accessories, the type when you wear all those stuff together, you’ll look like a close friend or relative of Austin Powers. But these stuff – the vintage and funky wardrobe and accessories – when worn separately or mixed and matched with more modern clothing like a boot cut jean, a sexy tank top and some nice sandals, can give your look a whole new meaning. And if you dig that kind of thing, then you should definitely drop by Psycho Sisters.
Wax N Facts
Moreland Avenue houses the most eclectic and sometimes, the oldest stores in the funky and hippy district of Little Five Points, case in point – the 34-year old physical record store Wax N Facts.
Wax N Facts has been in the business of trading and selling old and new records – vinyl, compact discs, and even cassette tapes – since 1976. Despite the takeover of digital music as the staple audio format since the advent of file sharing and streaming, stores such as this never lost its appeal, well not totally yet. If no major improvements are done with the way they conduct their business, they might just be eaten alive by mp3s and mp4s and worse, by other physical record stores who learned to keep up with the times despite having vintage stuff as its prime commodity.
Of all the physical record formats that have come out, the vinyl have never lost its appeal. As such, Wax N Facts has invested in this particular interest for the wooden disc and began buying and selling both new and used stuff from and for avid and passionate audiophiles. Their stacks are neatly organized as each record is arranged in alphabetical manner according to genre. The new arrivals or newly released albums – whether by an indie or mainstream artist – are placed near the cash register near the store front. But just like other vintage and obscure record stores, the new releases by mainstream artists have already been picked through and most often, the stocks left are very few. But patrons do not come here for those, they come here for the hard to find records – mainstream oldies or vintage, or indie – and most of the time, they come here for the vinyl copies.
Stefan’s Vintage Clothing
Not everyone can rock vintage outfits. But everyone can still try to look for something vintage that with the right size and perhaps the right cut and color, can make them appear classically fashionable. And if you’re looking for a new vintage dress for a formal party or simply for those casual boring days, then come to Stefan’s Vintage Clothing along Euclid Avenue.
They’ve got a wide selection of vintage and classic outfits for every age, every gender and every occasion. For the males, they’ve got some nicely tailored suits, tuxedos and dress shirts and pants that are either influenced by the mid-century fashion sense or are simply authentic and were truly tailored during those times. For the more complicated and sophisticated female fashion, they’ve got dresses, gowns, and the staples like pants, blouses and tops springing from the turn of the century until the 1970s. They also have costumes, accessories like the colorful bags from the retro era, and everything classic, retro and vintage that is not one bit tacky or cheap looking.