By Johnny Jackson
Bijan Farahdel said he decided to move his antiques business to the McDonough Square, in part, because of its historical ambiance.
"I love the Square," Farahdel said.
Farahdel said the McDonough Square continues to attract businesses like his, and that he opened Bijou Gifts and Antiques in March, in part, to keep commerce flowing on the downtown scene.
"I'm very optimistic," he said. "I know that things are picking up. I know people aren't buying furniture, but they are buying other, smaller things."
Farahdel's shop specializes in upscale antique home furniture and accessories as well as costume jewelry. He said the shop has increasingly garnered a niche, following the inaugural weeks of its operation.
"A lot of people come off the interstate for miles looking for antiques," said Linda Schenk, director of the Main Street McDonough Program. "I'm just really proud that Bijou chose the McDonough Square to open his business."
Bijou Gifts and Antiques is one of six new businesses to open in downtown McDonough since the first of the year, according to Schenk.
Schenk said many of the new business owners, like Farahdel, are attracted to the historic flavor of the McDonough Square.
"When people come to downtown, that's what they look for," Schenk said. "It's a beautiful square. I think it's the historic values that are here that attract most people."
"We've got just about anything downtown that anybody would want," she continued. "From boutiques to bakeries, and lots of good food."
Downtown patrons may now get a taste of French-inspired artwork at Farahdel's shop.
Heavy in themes of 19th-century France, the shop includes both authentic and reproduced furniture, lamps, and candelabras of the era.
"I love it," Farahdel said. "The pieces have been made very well. And I love the colors --the bronzes, the golds -- and the tapestries. These are pieces that people would normally buy in Buckhead."
Farahdel has been collecting antiques for much of his life. He said he still collects antiques from his native New York, where he lived for 25 years.
"The reason that people go for antiques is that they admire it, and it's an investment," said Farahdel.
He said operating Bijou Gifts and Antiques combines his love of antique collecting and his experience in the retail industry.
Farahdel recently moved to McDonough with his wife, Ingrid, of 23 years. For 12 years prior, they raised their three daughters in Cumming.
Farahdel said he has spent much of his time, lately, operating the store seven days a week. Times of operation are subject to change in the future, though, he added.
The shop is located at 19 Griffin Street, McDonough. Call (770) 347-7338.