Gift shop changes name but not ‘quirky’ merchandise

When Sq/Ft opened on downtown Decatur Square the name seemed perfect, commented current owner Sierra Wallis. “We were a shoe store, so I thought the name was great. Honestly, we did have a branding problem—not everybody got it. We pronounced it square foot, but I think the abbreviations threw some people,” she said.

The shop’s other problem was that shoes weren’t selling well. “We were doing much better with other items such as jewelry, socks, and toys so we decided to follow that thread. By 2018, we were pretty much done as a shoe store. I have the time frame fixed in my memory because it was around when my first child was born. I remember thinking, ‘Darn, I won’t be able to buy him any shoes here.’”

Wallis, who came to the store as an employee, bought the business in 2022. “By then it was clear the name had fallen out of relevance. We started talking about a better name when an employee suggested Odd Bird. It seemed to fit our quirky selection of merchandise,” she said, noting that the new name became official May 7. Odd Bird, she said “best describes the shop’s playfully fun and irreverent merchandise for all ages, as well as its inclusively interactive atmosphere.”

“Rebranding as Odd Bird really captures the entertaining and funky shopping experience you’ll have the moment you walk through the door,” Wallis said. “Foods that come out with new packaging, often say ‘great new packaging; same great taste.’ We say, ‘great new name, same poor taste.’”

Customers with a passion for pop culture and cheeky gifts can peruse a colorfully whimsical inventory of greeting cards, T-shirts, books, housewares, puzzles, jewelry, socks, and other items, Wallis said, adding that there’s a section dedicated to kid-friendly finds such as onesies, books, and toys. “Odd Bird’s often humorous displays showcase everything from quirky holiday-themed items such as Christmas tree ornaments to merchandise referencing cultural phenoms like Barbie and Taylor Swift to apparel celebrating Decatur and Atlanta’s entertainment landmarks,” according to the owner.

Wallis said the gift shop stocks an eclectic collection of merchandise for all ages and tastes. Those in the market for a lava lamp, an eraser designed to look like a toilet, or a pair of raisin bran themed socks can find them at Odd Bird. “Beyond the usual gift giving occasions such as birthdays and winter holidays, we have gifts suitable for retirement, bar mitzvahs—whatever comes up. We like to think we offer different gift idea collections for that weird aunt,” she said, adding that Odd Bird also has something for the crochety neighbor, the hard-working dog walker, or the in-the-closet sibling.

Jigsaw puzzles, Wallis said, have long been a big seller. “They really became popular during the pandemic; we even delivered. People were stuck at home, and this gave them something to do. Our puzzles, of course, aren’t your usual nature scenes. There are classic album covers, iconic artwork, and other interesting images. Even after the pandemic ended, the puzzles have remained popular. We’ve gone with that, offering puzzle subscription and periodic in-store puzzle competitions, which typically sell out,” she continued.

Other special events include Thirsty Thursdays, held the first Thursday of each month when shoppers can sip complimentary libations while listening to a dance music soundtrack, Willis said, adding that additional events are being planned to celebrate the new Odd Bird brand.

“We want to make sure that despite the new name, customers can still expect the same amusing, trademark products and distinctive employee personalities and interaction,” Wallis said. “But we’ll be leaning into the Odd Bird name by turning the fun all the way up to 11 in new and exciting ways.”

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