Amply stocked shelves make Gentry look like a gallery of exquisite design. Delicate stationery shares space with ornate photo frames, sumptuous jewelry boxes and floral-patterned tableware.
"[We're] constantly trying to find something that's a little bit different," owner Marilyn Kullman says. "We also want things to be fun."
Kullman and her husband have owned their family business since 1966, and they employ their daughter, Lisa Goff, and Marilyn's sister.
In addition to gift items, the store carries a full line of comfort footwear. Shoe brands including Birkenstock, Dansko and Merrell are in demand by local hairdressers, restaurant employees and medical professionals who spend a lot of time on their feet.
"There are lot of people who have been walking on heels that are this high," Kullman says, showing several inches in height with her hands, "and shoes that don't have a lot of support, and over the years their feet really begin to bother them."
This utilitarian sensibility carries over into the store's selection of luggage and bags, which includes the Baggallini collection, a line of compartmentalized bags originally designed by two flight attendants.
"They make bags that are travel-friendly, and then when people use them and like them they'll come back and buy ... tote bags and messenger bags and portfolios," Goff says. "They fall in love with the line."
Ultimately, however, the store prides itself on its treasury of gifts, which comes from markets as varied as New York and Atlanta. Goff says the team's collaborative buying process keeps the selection fresh. "We take four people to market who have different tastes, and we get a grand mix," she says.
- An abundant array of goods fills Gentry's shelves.