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Heliotrope wants to fill your home with sun

Heliotrope's Tommy Barker

After 25 years as a buyer in the corporate world, Tommy Barker decided it was time to set up shop himself. In November 2006 he opened Heliotrope in downtown Decatur. He caters to a community that enjoys purchasing personal and home accessories designed with an out-of-the-box viewpoint.

The motto of his store is “good things for good people.” In 2010, Heliotrope was selected as Atlanta Magazine’s Best Gift Shop.

“The thing that ties our items together is thoughtful design,” says Barker, who is gay. “What I really like to do is find brand new designers with a different take on an item. I also like to support independent designers and local designers.”

One way Barker keeps up with what’s fresh and new is to read design blogs to find items he believes customers will want to give their homes an extra splash of individuality.

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Pets: Pamper your pets

Go ahead, spoil your pet — at least a little. Whether you consider your cat or dog a best friend or surrogate child, splurge on them with these products that can be both practical and pampering.

Shelby the Hemp MouseShelby the Hemp Mouse
$4.99 at Red Bandanna stores and online at

Your kitty may not understand the green-friendly qualities that make this cat toy so special, but you will. Shelby is made from hemp, filled with organic catnip, is completely biodegradable, and even has a face printed with food coloring, so you don’t have to worry if this cute little mouse gets devoured.

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Home & Real Estate: Fall is perfect time to spruce up home décor

With summer travel behind you and the holidays coming faster than you think, fall is the perfect time for simple touch ups to make your home even more inviting.
Improving your décor doesn’t have to be expensive. Check out these items to add style or whimsy to your home.

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Business Spotlight: Boy Next Door looks forward to 30 more years

Boy Next Door celebrates 30 years

For 30 years, locally owned and operated Boy Next Door has been making gay men look their best with stylish, name-brand jeans, slacks, shirts, underwear and bathing suits.

The business, opened in 1980 by John Sullivan, was part of the emerging gay market, says owner and manager David Boswell. Boswell took over the store in 1998.

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Writing with Intent

Hone your literary skills with the women of Charis Circle every other Monday

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Best of Atlanta: Retail

After two months of online balloting and more than 20,000 votes cast, we present the best of the best — our inaugural Best of Atlanta winners.

It all started back at the beginning of May, when we asked you, our readers, to nominate your favorites for dozens of awards in the categories of Community, People, Nightlife, Dining, Retail, Pet Services, Internet, and Outside Atlanta.

The top three finalists — or more, in the case of a tie — in each category made it through to the next round of voting. For the month of June, a multiple-choice ballot asked you to pick among the finalists for who really represents the finest in LGBT Georgia.

Thanks to everyone who voted, and congratulations to all of the worthy winners and runners up.

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Vote for the Best of Atlanta

Nominate your favorites in dozens of categories, from nightlife and dining to people and community organizations

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Business Listings

ACCOMMODATIONS The Georgian Terrace Address: 659 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 Phone: 404-897-1991 Web Address: ATTORNEY / LEGAL Kitchens New Cleghorn LLC, Attorn...