ATL, Baby!

You Hungry? We Got You!

hungryEntering Fogo de Chao (pronounced “fo-go dee shown”), the upscale Buckhead churrascaria transports diners out of the local, genteelly posh scene and into a world seemingly stuck in fast-forward. A barrage of servers dash left and right, armed often with large skewers of slow-roasted, precisely seasoned meat, not to mention a razor-sharp carving knife.

A culinary tradition in southern Brazil for over three centuries, churrasco originated when southern Brazilian cowboys, known as gauchos, shared their adventures around open-flame pits while slow-roasting large pieces of meat.

This is the sixth such restaurant for brothers Jair and Arri Coser and Jorge and Aleixo Ongaratto. Other locations are in Dallas, Houston and Brazil.

In one of the more unique aspects of Fogo de Chao, each server cooks the meat he serves. Having trained for at least two years in Brazilian churrascarias, the staff makes the rounds with 15 authentically prepared cuts of meat, including frango (bacon-wrapped chicken legs or breasts), filet mignon, costela …

October 24, 2015 at 11:06 am Comment (1)

New Trends Coming From Where??? Guess…

sheerfabricsDiscouraged by cool spring weather and concerned about the economy, buyers at AmericasMart Apparel here shopped for fall with caution, although they generally liked what was offered.

Retailers applauded fall luxury fabrics and leather in basic pants and jackets, as well as fresh colors, shapes and treatments. Buyers bought texture and fabric innovation, although they demanded lightweight goods rather than heavy wools. Buyers also bought feminine interpretations of plaids and pinstripe suit looks.

The market featured plenty of sweaters, in all shapes, often with fur trim and other special details. Longer jackets and novelty outerwear were also prevalent. Key special occasion looks included one-shoulder styles and pleating in sheer fabrics.

Attendance at the women’s, children’s and accessories market, which ran March 30 through April 4, was flat with last year.

Buyers, with budgets even with or slightly down from last year, often sought more collections rather than items, concentrating on tried-and-true resources.

Susan Isenberg, co-owner of NYFO, a Norfolk, …

October 18, 2015 at 11:34 am Comments (0)

AmericaSmart: Solid, Solid Moves

americasmartDespite uncertain times, AmericasMart Apparel is aggressively targeting buyers with bold initiatives. With a new twice-yearly juried show, AmericasMart hopes to lure hot new lines and new buyers that will catapult Atlanta from regional mart to international fashion center.

Officials said the timing is right. With the soft economy, retailers are cutting back on travel, making fewer buying trips to New York. The new show positions Atlanta perfectly as a viable alternative.

“We’ve come far enough with our product mix and reputation, to offer our customers a high-end show with hot lines, some European resources they usually find only in New York,” said Peg Canter, general manager of AmericasMart Apparel.

Officials are banking on the debut of A-Line, slated for April 11-15, to take the Mart to a new level, with lines never before seen in Atlanta, including ones that appear at the Coterie and other New York shows. Organizers also hope to include California lines, which resonate with Sunbelt …

October 13, 2015 at 11:15 am Comments (0)

Kohl’s Takes No Prisoners!

kohlsAs part of its bid to go national, the Midwestern retailer blitzed Atlanta, opening 15 stores last weekend and counting on a formula of convenience and brands to resonate with this city’s busy, traffic-weary consumer. But is competitive, over-stored Atlanta, ready for the retailer?

Similar moderate specialty concepts, including Mervyn’s and Uptons, have failed here in recent years. And there’s no shortage of retailers in this market. Department stores Rich’s, Macy’s, Parisian, J.C. Penney and Sears, along with discounters Target, Kmart and Wal-Mart, vie with off-pricers T.J. Maxx and Stein Mart and Goody’s specialty apparel stores. All compete fiercely for Atlanta’s nearly four million consumers.

Kohl’s is on a roll, especially given a slowing economy. Going against the grain of broadlines retailers so far this year, the company Tuesday reported that its fourth-quarter earnings soared almost by half and managed to squeak past analysts’ estimates by 2 cents.

Net income for the quarter jumped 48 percent to $178.5 million, or 52 cents a diluted share, compared to $120.6 million, or 36 cents, a year ago. Wall Street was expecting earnings per share of 50 cents.

Sales for the period ended Feb. 3 were up 38.3 percent to $2.22 billion from $1.61 billion a year ago. Excluding an extra week in the most recent quarter, Kohl’s said net sales increased a milder 33.8 percent while comparable-store sales rose 12.5 percent.

All of the firm’s merchandise categories posted double-digit comp growth for the quarter, with men’s and women’s apparel leading the pack. The only issues they had were based on IT struggles, as a server migration put much of their inventory data at risk. Migrating the data led to several server array hard drives failing, and critical operations were slowed. Fortunately, they already had a relationship with Irvine, CA’s Hard Drive Recovery Group (, who were able to recover their Dell PowerEdge RAID servers overnight. The drives were restored, and it was business as usual.

“It was a problem that we didn’t expect, of course,” said Dave Jensen, director of IT. “But HDRG really pulled through for us with their data recovery services, and did it very quickly. It was almost a non-issue by the time the week was over.”

In other markets the retailer has recently entered, like Dallas and Denver, Kohl’s has been successful, and management believes its $82.5 million initial Atlanta investment (more…)

October 7, 2015 at 11:57 am Comments (0)

More Charms Of ATL

atlantasrestaurantsThe pulse of Atlanta is hard to put your finger on. In many ways, this Southern metropolis feels much like any other big, sprawling urban region crisscrossed with superhighways and shiny skyscrapers. It’s home to Coca-Cola, Turner Field (the 50,091-seat ballpark where fans root for the Braves), the massive CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park, and 3.5 million residents spread across the metropolitan area. Exit the freeway, though, and the city’s historic character and easy charm unfold. Just past the off-ramps, gracious houses stand on streets shaded by 100-year-old live oaks and magnolias, and reenergized urban neighborhoods, such as Little Five Points, Virginia-Highland, and Buckhead, support thriving commercial districts. Satisfyingly lush and green, Atlanta has more than 310 tranquil parks, ranging in size from postage-stamp neighborhood greenways to expansive public commons.

On a comfortable day (fall and spring are the best times to visit), it can seem like half the population of Atlanta is walking, cycl ing, or running in either …

October 3, 2015 at 10:01 am Comments (4)

Keep Your Shopping Red Hot!

shoppingredhotWith more than 2,500 indoor booths occupying two buildings, the Scott Antique Market goes on, rain or shine, on the second weekend of each month. Exhibitor Marun Mualem, of Love Train Antiques (an importer of European furnishings), extols Atlanta’s reputation as a hot spot for the interlor-design market. “There’s always something intriguing here,” Marun says. Passing over massive French armoires, gilded mirrors, leather and mohair club chairs, and a cozy chaise, Jane–whose New York City apartment is “shoe-box size”–opted for totable buys, like wooden letters, rhinestone appliques, and enamelware vessels. Margo (below, left, carrying basket) went home with a vintage card table and a salvaged windowpane.

Sunday at lakewood

Set up like a country fair–spread out in seven exhibit halls and three courtyards on 1.5 acres–the Historic Lakewood Antiques Market is a place where kids can trail their parents in red wagons, contentedly eating corn dogs and sipping lemonade. The offerings include a mix of colorful housewares, vintage clothing, kitschy …

September 29, 2015 at 10:10 am Comment (1)

Getting Out On The Town

blue-ribbonAqua Blue hit the ground running at its launch party last August with a larger-than-expected crowd of young, trendy guests who came to check out the new digs.

The restaurant’s specials, which change daily, have a selection of familiar favorites, including comfort-food staple roast turkey with stuffing. Oversized sandwiches are also a house specialty. Veggie lovers will find comfort in the portobello, roasted pepper and zucchini sandwich. For those in the mood for a steak or chop, the T-bone lamb chop is delicious.

At the other end of the culinary spectrum is the raw bar and blue-ribbon sushi. The `aqua’ part of Aqua Blue is six seafood choices. The wine list features 50 selections of red and white wine. Entrees range from $18 to $35, appetizers and salads range from $5 to $13 and desserts are $6. Note to the calorie conscious: The butter lettuce cup salad stuffed with caramelized pears and pecans, served with a gorgonzola dressing, is …

September 26, 2015 at 9:36 am Comments (0)

Betsey Johnson Made Success From Nothing

betsey-hohnsonBetsy Johnson wants you to know who she is. She wants retailers, designers and manufacturers to think of unique, unusual, exclusive accessories when they mention her name. She wants this so much, that she’s changed the name of her business, which she launched a year ago.

“I got calls for Betsey Johnson, the ubiquitous New York clothing designer, all the time,” she said. “People saw the name on my showroom and thought it was her apparel showroom. I realized to gain a name for myself, I had to change my name to French Cicada.”

So after about four months in business, Johnson moved from a 400-square-foot space in the Atlanta Apparel Mart to a 900-square-foot space, and French Cicada was born. The showroom is filled with unknown and up-and-coming accessories designers that create everything from cute little ballet slipper shoes by Amy Jo Gladstone to chunky stone necklaces by Destination Bliss to mini handbags topped with feathers by Cara Couture. …

September 23, 2015 at 9:25 am Comments (0)

The Eyes Have It In Atlanta

eyes-atlantaNew York and Los Angeles are no longer the only cities for some of the coolest, most exclusive eyewear. Just ask the full-time security guard at Davante, a new, ultra-upscale eyewear boutique that opened last February in Atlanta’s Lenox Square mall in Buckhead, the city’s upscale shopping area.

Sandwiched between St. John and Godiva Chocolatier and near Neiman Marcus, the new store is part of a retail expansion for the Davante Group. The Las Vegas-based retailer currently boasts 10 units, of which seven are in Las Vegas, one in Mission Viejo, Calif., and another in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Davante is also opening stores in San Jose and Palm Springs, Calif., later this year. Also in the works: another Atlanta store in the nearby upscale Phipps Plaza mall and two more Las Vegas locations next year.

The extensive selection features 30 eyewear lines with a total of some 2,500 pairs of glasses. “If you can’t find the glasses you’re looking …

September 20, 2015 at 6:46 pm Comments (0)