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Magazine's HOME store kicks off retail renaissance at airport

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Since the 1800s, Georgians -- and Atlantans in particular -- have maintained a tradition of entertaining in the home. Long, winding driveways would lead guests to Greek-revival homes, where hosts would entertain the guests.

Atlanta Magazine's HOME has preserved many of those traditions in its pages, showing locals the right recipes and decor to keep a perfect Southern home.

On Tuesday, the magazine opened it's first store at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the first of 72 new stores the airport plans to open over the next year to help travelers take a piece of the South home with them.

"We're trying to create a sense of place at the airport," said Arnaldo Ruiz, general manager for commercial development at Hartsfield-Jackson. "We want customers, who go through the airport, to know that they are in Atlanta."

Ruiz said the Atlanta Magazine's HOME store will serve as the flagship store in the airport's "retail renaissance" campaign. By early next summer, the airport plans to open a total of 72 stores which highlight products and services unique to Atlanta and the South.

"This new concept is really promoting Atlanta and it's rich Georgia flavor," said Ruiz. "It's more than just a gift shop. It's selling something that is uniquely Georgian. We're hoping it will give us a shopping experience unique in the United States."

Several notable people gathered at the airport atrium on Tuesday to welcome the new store, including: Gena Knox, an Athens-based celebrity chef who, with her husband, started the Fire & Flavor Grilling Co.; and Sean McGinnis, publisher of Atlanta Magazine.

McGinnis said the Atlanta Magazine's HOME store is unique in that it "brings the pages of the magazine to life."

"It partners with a magazine like ours to bring the pages to life in a real retail environment," said McGinnis. "Many of the things we have shown in the magazine are on sale at the store. Lending our brand name to the store, which has been around for 48 years ... it really brings it down to a local level."

The store has a uniquely Southern flare, its storefront decorated with Paula Deen cookbooks, tin cookware, and Southern candies and desserts. Knox believes the store will do a lot to highlight the best of Georgia's cooks and craft makers.

"It really represents Atlanta well," said Knox. "We have a great food and entrepreneurial community in Georgia, and this brings those more to the forefront. It's a really homey environment, and I think it's going to do very well."