The Whitaker Group is expanding the footprint of its luxury banner, A Ma Maniére, in an area of Atlanta replete with respected Black-owned businesses.
Yesterday, James Whitner and The Whitaker Group team walked through the newly-erected building that will soon become the home of the next A Ma Maniére door, located at 479 Edgewood Ave. SE. A short walk from its entrance are several prominent businesses owned by Black men and women, including The Swag Shop barber shop owned by rap star Killer Mike and restauranteur Aisha Cole’s newest Slutty Vegan location, among others.
“It’s a true Black enclave. The idea that you can have Black entrepreneurship anchor an area is incredible,” Whitner told FN following the site visit.
What’s more, the building is located one block away from the home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a short walk from The King Center. The importance of this location struck Whitner while he was visiting the area four years ago.
“We were partying a block over at 2 a.m. when I realized, ‘We need to do something much bigger here. This is where culture lives, culture actually happened here — civil rights, segregation, Jim Crow, Martin Luther King and Ebenezer Baptist Church as the moment of triumph or uprising.'” Whitner said. “I was in awe in the moment like, ‘We can leave from the club and walk to Martin Luther King’s house.’ You know how crazy that sounds? The symbolism [is meaningful]: ‘We’re able to do this [new store] because of that [moment in history].”
The new door is a five-story building — which is also the first standalone A Ma Maniére location — that spans 23,000 square feet of real estate. It includes two floors for retail, another two for residential suites under its Living boutique hotel and lifestyle experience, and a top floor for its Eats dining experience that features a full-service kitchen for a restaurant and a rooftop lounge.
The space will also serve as a home for the retailer’s community hub, Hand Wash Cold, which will host events and activations to serve both the neighborhood and city.
“For us, hopefully this gives the people who are originally from the community a sense of pride, something they can participate in meaningfully. It’s definitely more than a shopping experience,” Whitner said. “It’s about everything the space offers and all the good work that we can do.”
He continued, “We are in the heart of Black folks here, so the goal is to be able to uplift us — the students [at nearby Georgia State University], the people who are doing community activism work — just by being in the middle of all of it.”
The new A Ma Maniére door is slated to open in late 2022.