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Irwin Street Market showcases local food vendors

Irwin Street Market used to be home to an old air conditioning and repair facility, but in 2006 Jake Rothschild had the idea of turning the space into an incubator for local food vendors as he was expanding his business, Jake’s Ice Cream.

Rothschild, who is gay, said his initial idea was to offer a space for local food vendors to showcase their wares.

Six years later, some 14 food merchants call Irwin Street Market home – including a coffeehouse, a bakery, several restaurants and a cooking school, which was voted one of the top three cooking schools in Atlanta in a recent Yelp survey.

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Rafshoon pledges bright future for Outwrite

Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse owner Phillip Rafshoon

The shelves at Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse are starting to look a little bare as the iconic bookstore sells down its inventory as it celebrates its 18th anniversary in the face of a prospective move.

On the corner of Piedmont Street and 10th Avenue, Outwrite has become the unofficial center of gay Atlanta. It started its life as a vacant nightclub and turned into one of Atlanta’s few remaining independent booksellers. In November, store owner Philip Rafshoon announced that Outwrite can no longer afford its lease and is looking to move.

“It’s kind of a bittersweet milestone tonight because we’ve got to kinda find a new home, but 18 years tonight, well sorta tonight, we had our opening party,” Rafshoon told the crowd on Saturday.

“What I said that night is that there will be a time that we won’t need a gay and lesbian bookstore. When people can come to their parents, where they won’t be persecuted in churches, schools, there won’t be any issues in their families. Right now there are a lot of people who think that we are at that point. In fact, we had some good friends who ran a book store and they said mission accomplished… our mission is not accomplished in any shape way or form. There is still a lot of work to be done.”

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Outwrite Bookstore plans move from landmark location

Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse

A sluggish economy, a rapidly changing book industry and high rent in the heart of Midtown are key factors forcing Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse to move from its home at the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue.

When the move will take place is not yet known, said owner Philip Rafshoon. The store’s lease expires in a couple of months, he said, and a “For Lease” sign now hangs from the side of the store’s exterior along 10th Street.

But Rafshoon believes there is still a need for LGBT bookstores in Atlanta — although his store also sells many mainstream books as well as novelty gifts, food and coffee.

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Opposites attract for Jordan Gray Interiors

Jordan Interior Designs

Antoinette Jordan and Mark Snipes make a dynamic duo as business partners and interior designers for Jordan Gray Interiors. While Jordan is a heterosexual female and Snipes is an out and proud gay man, the two complement each other in many ways, they say.

“It’s great working together. We have a lot in common,” Snipes says. And, yes, that includes men, he laughs.

Jordan, who began the company on her own five years ago, befriended Snipes at Joseph A. Bank, where they both currently work. The two have been in business together six months and they hope to eventually make their jobs with Jordan Gray Interiors full-time.

“We met and became friends and I found out he used to have an interior design business in Charlotte, N.C.,” Jordan says.

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Upcoming LGBT events

Tuesday, November 15 The Atlanta Lesbian & Gay Chamber of Commerce and Atlanta Executive Network host a Business Builder Lunch. 11:55 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Hudson Grille, Brookhaven Station, 4046 Peachtree Road,...
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‘Moral objection policy’ cited by printer for not doing business with Atlanta gay-owned company

A local company is refusing to print materials for Atlanta's gay-owned Carma Productions citing its "Moral Objection Policy" that includes a rule to reject "homosexual materials."

Thomas Ryan, CFO and publisher of Carma Productions, which produces among other items the Gay Community Yellow Pages, sent an email to Fatina Malik of Media Graphix based in Norcross on Oct. 31 expressing his "shock" that the company declined to estimate a cost for printing between 2,500-5,000 copies of a media kit for the Gay Community Yellow Pages. According to Ryan, Media Graphix printed a similar project for Carma Productions in 2010.

Malik stated in an Oct. 31 email to Heidi Reis, executive vice president of Carma Productions, that  Media Graphix would have to decline estimating the cost of printing the media kit for the GCYP in response to a request sent by Reis on Oct. 28. The request from Reis asked for a price of the job and asked for it to be finished by Nov. 2.

"Thank you for your interest in Media Graphix. We will have to decline quoting this job because it conflicts with our Moral Objection Policy. Please see the attached. I'm sorry for any inconvenience. Thanks!" Malik responded Oct. 31 in an email to Reis.

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Mary Moore leads The Cook’s Warehouse to delicious success

There are five things everyone needs in their kitchen, says Mary Moore, founder and CEO of The Cook’s Warehouse: a good knife, the right cutting board to maintain that knife, a saute pan, tongs and a whisk.

“You can do a lot with those,” she says.

Of course, you can do a lot more with the thousands of gourmet items sold at The Cook’s Warehouse. In addition to locations in Ansley Mall, Decatur and Brookhaven, the newest store opened a few weeks ago in East Cobb in the Merchant’s Walk Shopping Center.

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GA Spotlight: Celebrating 25 years, HLM Financial Group offers ‘one stop’ approach

HLM Financial Services

Described as a “one stop” shop for accounting, taxes, mortgages and other financial needs, HLM Financial Group is also a “family” business — in every sense of the word. The lesbian-owned company celebrates its 25th anniversary this month.

Lynn Pasqualetti, president and managing partner, founded HLM in 1986 after leaving her job at a CPA firm, inspired by a speaker at a tax seminar who encouraged attendees to embrace niche markets.

“All sorts of buzzers were going off in my head as I was thinking about the LGBT community and how my services would really allow same-sex couples and individuals an opportunity to be themselves in the already stressful environment of finances and tax related issues,” Pasqualetti says, noting that “while our client base is more diverse today, our client mix  is still made up of a majority of LGBT clients.”