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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Local gift chain Swoozie's reopens two Atlanta stores, plans for more growth

By Arielle Kass

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

For two months, there was no such thing as Swoozie's, the Atlanta-based paper and gift retailer. For several months prior to that -- when a liquidation sale that began in March emptied the stores of all merchandise and fixtures -- the company might as well as have ceased to exist.
President Kelly Plank-Dworkin, who always prided Swoozie's on building relationships with customers who walked in the door, said the liquidation was "devastating." Long-time customers coming in for housewarming gifts or wedding invitations didn't get the service they were used to.

"I couldn't even shop in the shopping center. It was very painful," she said. "Every day, I had to wake up and put one foot in front of the next, decide what to do."

What Plank-Dworkin did was work hard to save the store, which she described as her life. She separated the intellectual property -- Swoozie's name and concept -- from a bankruptcy filing. Just after the liquidation ended, it was sold at auction to the Colorado private equity firm Gart Capital.

Today, two Swoozie's stores have reopened in Atlanta along with five others across the South.
AJC Story

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