November 26, 2015
Holiday Shopping, The Buckhead Way
Atlanta Journal Constitution
What a wonderful place, this city of Atlanta, and what a wonderful time this season of holidays. As a former politician, I read it as a perfect paradigm, where there’s something for everyone.
Introducing Atlanta to visitors, we reasonably describe it as divided into three distinct districts: Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead. (We actually have two downtowns — the older central Five Points, and the other “five points” at Peachtree, Roswell and Paces Ferry roads in Buckhead — but that’s material for another day.)
A.J. Robinson’s (Central Atlanta Progress) Downtown, and Kevin Green’s (Midtown Alliance) Midtown, have a lock on professional sports and performing arts, respectively; our Buckhead Coalition outshines all comers on retailing.
Between now and the start of 2016, Downtown will present some 20 sports competitions, plus six concerts between the Georgia Dome and Philips Arena. Symphony Hall, Fox Theatre, Alliance Theatre and other Midtown venues will present more than 28 stage performances. Buckhead is where the reader will find more retail options than one can imagine.
Because of my position as founding president of the Buckhead Coalition, I will almost always be found wearing a buck’s head lapel pin, which at this time of the year draws comments like magnets from passersby thinking it heralds the season as one of Santa’s reindeer. I have a collection of a dozen, from gold to pewter to brass to plaster of Paris.
Ever since Ed Noble and his Oklahoma oil money persuaded Dick Rich to open — and later move — his department store from Downtown to Buckhead’s Lenox Square, retailing has forever changed in this city and much more of urban America. We now have around 1,500 retailers here, the undeniable shopping Mecca of the South.
In addition to Lenox and its sister-owned Phipps Plaza diagonally across the street, Buckhead brags about its newest “Shops, Buckhead/Atlanta” (nee Streets of Buckhead). These three anchors also feed patrons to smaller centers like Buckhead Crossing, Buckhead Station, Lenox Market Place and Lindbergh Plaza, each having over 200,000 square feet of floor space. And of course, a selection of independent “mom and pops” will win your heart in our West Village community.
Not so incidentally, total annual retail sales in Buckhead will reach $2.6 billion this year. Twenty percent of the sales are predicted to occur this holiday season, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Also meaningful to those of us who market Buckhead, we are pleased it has been calculated that 40 percent of the patronage comes from more than 100 miles away.
According to ICSC, 71 percent of Americans plan to shop over this weekend. Although I spread my own purchases and gift-giving throughout the year, I can say our retailers provide so much in the way of entertainment this time of the year, added to sales discounts, that you will definitely get more bang for the buck if you go with the flow and do your buying now.
My challenge is to nurture the quality of life of those who live, visit, work and play in Buckhead’s 28 square miles. We have 82,000 residents in 44 neighborhoods; our visitors will more than double this number. Everyone is welcome, and we want you safe and happy. Drive with extra caution for bicyclists and pedestrians, particularly at dark and when raining, and do not leave gift items or other merchandise visible inside your vehicle.
Like every big, bustling city, we will have a great deal of vehicular congestion during this season. So smile at those you encounter, remembering that such spirit can be contagious. Don’t let traffic cause you concern, and don’t become a crime statistic. Happy Holidays.
Link to full article here.