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|Heliotrope wants to fill your home with sun|
|Written by Dyana Bagby|
|Friday, 06 January 2012 00:00|
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.
This year will be big for kitchen and houseware items as well as tech gadgets — with many options available at the store and on its website.
“There are so many great new housewares and kitchen accessories that are really unique, designers that offer a modern take on traditional housewares that we are excited to be offering,” he says.
“More people are cooking at home, entertaining at home. So there is a new resurgence in well-designed kitchen items,” Barker notes.
And with the iPhone, iPad, iPod and hundreds of other computer and smartphone items on the market comes the need, to, well, accessorize these new fun gadgets.
“There are some very clever tech gadget items for the iPad, the iPhone. That’s another area where we are expanding — cool, techy gadgets,” Barker says.
Among Barker’s personal favorites are iPhone and iPad covers designed by Jonathan Adler. Barker is also a huge fan of Joseph Joseph kitchenware, also sold in Heliotrope.
So, what’s with the name, “Heliotrope”?
“Well, do you want to know the real story or the story I tell everyone?”
Obviously, we want to know both.
It just so happens Barker is a gardener and each spring plants heliotropes. After a night of sitting around with friends drinking a few bottles of wine, Barker said, “Let’s call it Heliotrope.” After all, it’s a pretty flower and one he loves to plant, he explains.
After researching the word more, Barker discovered it means, in essence, “to turn toward the sun.”
“And I like that — I thought it had a nice chi to it,” he says.
Top photo: Tommy Barker (via Facebook)
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