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Four set up shop at Avenue
Giggles Shop 1 es
Mary Beth Galunke stocks shelves Tuesday afternoon at Giggles for Kids at The Avenue Forsyth. - photo by Emily Saunders
In the past four months, The Avenue Forsyth has added diamonds, pictures, sandwiches and giggles to its growing retail repertoire.

Beginning with Omega Diamond Jewelers in November, a new store has joined the lineup each month at the outdoor mall off Peachtree Parkway.

Picture People opened in December and Which Wich in January, with Giggles for Kids debuting this month.

Omega Diamond Jewelers

Melissa Weaver, owner of Omega Diamond Jewelers, decided to give Forsyth County a shot after several years in the Woodstock/Roswell area.

“We really liked the Avenue shopping center and so we thought we would give it a try,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of faith in it up there. It’s a really neat and creative place.”

The Avenue Forsyth location of Omega is the second, though possibly not the last, of the family-run stores, Weaver said.

Her mother, who has been in business for 35 years, runs a store in Henry County. There could be a third location in Cumming in the future, she said.

“I’m a third-generation jeweler,” she said. “It’s in my blood. I grew up with it.

“Our business is doing really well. We had a really good Christmas and we’re just excited to be here.”

Giggles for Kids

Julie and Robert Frost are happy to be bring their business closer to home.

Their original Giggles for Kids location in Johns Creek is just a few miles from the family’s residence in Forsyth County. The new location is even closer.

But this store, Julie Frost said, could be even better for her family business, which sells specialty toys.

“I just couldn’t find any toys when my kids were younger,” she said. “We would joke that we were just going to have to open our own store.

“This is not a franchise, so I can do what I want. If people want certain things, we will look for it.”

Frost said she remembers when she first opened her business in Johns Creek there wasn’t much retail in Forsyth County.

Things have changed, she said.

“There was nothing in the area like that,” she said. “It’s just a great environment with the movie theater and there are so many families here.

“I am grateful to have a common ground where you can shop and not have to ... leave the area.”

Which Wich

The movie theater at The Avenue Forsyth was a huge draw for Gary Birnberg, owner of Which Wich sandwich shop.

“It definitely generates high traffic,” he said. “We’re really trying to get the kids in and the kids bring their families and parents in ... that’s driven a lot by the movies as well because that brings that younger age bracket in.

“We’ve seen a good turnout so far in the few weeks we’ve been open and every weekend gets better and better.”

There are more than 100 Which Wich locations nationwide, but just four in Georgia. Birnberg and wife Melynda also own a Which Wich in Norcross.

Birnberg said he was interested in the franchise because it’s unlike other typical sandwich shops.

In addition to traditional sandwich toppers like lettuce, onions and tomatoes, Which Wich offers others like coleslaw, pineapple, olive salad and a hot pepper mix.

Specialty sandwiches include the Montecristco and Elvis Wich with peanut butter, honey and banana.

“It sort of takes the sandwich concept and spins it on its head and says how can we do it better,” he said. “Every sandwich is $5.25 ... no matter how many things you put on it.”

Picture People

The family-friendly Avenue was the ideal place for the Picture People’s newest location, said spokeswoman Marcie Parker.

“It’s a lifestyle center and it’s a very nice community,” Parker said. “There are lots of great, trendy businesses within The Avenue that customers want to visit and it’s a good reason to be a part of it.”

The Picture People take portraits of families, babies, pets and youth sports. Parker said there is no cost for a photo session and images are printed on site, so customers “can take them home with them that day.”

“We provide a great service at a great price,” she said. “We also involve ourselves with all of the community events and it’s really nice to be in an area like the Avenue because they do the same thing.”

There are about 175 Picture People studios in the country, including eight in Georgia.