The retail environment in downtown Savannah's historic district has blossomed in the past few years with great new shops offering everything from clothing, cosmetics and coffee to furniture, fishing gear, olive oil and more. Most of the great long-established stores – Levy Jewelers, Globe Shoe Company, J. Parker Ltd., E. Shaver, Bookseller and others – are still here but have been joined by some excellent specialty stores. More are opening on a regular basis. Here are five of the best.
You know a store is cool when the owner is bold enough to create a stand-up sign stating that it is "The COOLEST Store in Savannah. PERIOD." Now, whether that's meant in terms of summer air conditioning or stylishness depends just how audacious the owner is. Will the sign still be up this winter? In any case, there's no doubt this Broughton Street shop is stuffed with striking, high-quality contemporary furniture, home décor and accessories. Swing beds; tables made from airplane doors; chic chairs and stools; stylish sofas and sectionals; benches and ottomans; art deco chandeliers; nautical rope mirrors and more.
24e Design Co.; 24 E. Broughton Street; Savannah, Ga.; 912-233-2274; 24estyle.com/
Mosy on down Drayton Street toward the river from Broughton and into a stately columned building at York Street. Inside is a shop that offers everything you'd need for a good outdoor outing, particularly one that might include fly fishing or sport shooting. You might find Georgia Mae, the owner's Golden Retriever laying just outside the door in her bed or maybe in one of the two easy chairs toward the front of store. Inside are brands like Orvis, Patagonia and Simms. Much of the fishing gear is in a room-sized vault in the rear of this historic building, which was for many years the Ameris Bank.
Rivers & Glen Trading Co.; 24 Drayton Street, Savannah, Ga.; 912-349-2352; www.riversandglen.com
The first time I encountered work that came out of Liquid Sands Glass Gallery was at Cup to Cup coffee shop in Savannah, a nice little downtown coffee and pastry spot, which has several blown-glass pendant lights that were custom made for them by an outfit represented in the Liquid Sands Glass Gallery. Liquid Sands curates a collection of glasswork and jewelry made by over 40 American artists and craftspeople including gallery owner Kym Miller, whose mosaics are on display there. The shop sells only American- made glass lighting, sculpture, wall art, vases, paperweights and other artistic visions rendered in (mostly) glass.
Liquid Sands Glass Gallery; 5 W. York Street; Savannah, Ga.; 912-232-3600; www.liquidsandsglassgallery.com/
I think of Mamie Ruth's as a kind of nouveau hippie chic clothier. I scored big points recently when I bought a certain fine lady a funky maxi dress there. All Mamie Ruth's garments are high quality and handmade in Savannah with eco-conscious design and production. The shop has women's clothing, bags and accessories. Owner Emily Bargeron named the line Mamie Ruth after her grandmother. M. Liz is Mary Liz Craft, who creates the shop's naturalistic jewelry.
Mamie Ruth; 107 W. Liberty Street; Savannah Ga.; 912-495-5291; www.mamieruth-mliz.com/
The Paris Market and Brocante is a decidedly cool boutique offering hand-picked goods from all over the world including home décor items, bath and beauty products, lighting, accessories and jewelry, candles and a smattering of furniture and books. The multi-story shop has a rustic-elegant vibe, a friendly staff and a little coffee and pastry operation tucked away over to the side. Oh, brocante means "flea market." Don't feel bad. I had to look it up.
The Paris Market and Brocante; 36 W. Broughton Street; Savannah, Ga.; 912-232-1500; theparismarket.com/