Just in time for the holiday season, here’s your guide to South End’s top shopping districts.
Whether you’re looking for an outfit and accessories for the weekend, the perfect gift, home decor, beauty supplies or a special treat for your pup, South End’s top retail destinations always deliver. Discover the unique history and diverse offerings of some of the neighborhood’s most exciting retail rows.
For more than 100 years, Atherton has been an important part of South End’s evolution. Constructed in 1892, Atherton Cotton Mills set the stage for establishing Charlotte as a textile hub. The factory produced yarn goods for more than 40 years before it was taken over by J. Schoenith Company, a manufacturer of candy, baked goods and peanut products, until the early 1960s. It spurred development of other factories all around it, including the 1919 construction of the Parks-Cramer Company, maker of humidifying and air-conditioning equipment for the cotton-textile industry. In 1993, the Parks-Cramer building (the northern building in the current Atherton complex) was renovated to bring retail to South End. Nearly 40 years later and after a second major redevelopment project in 2019, the district is home to more than a dozen retail shops, eateries, and more.
Since 2015, small business owner and Charlotte area native Ashley Bookout has been selling fresh-cut flowers and custom flower designs to the Charlotte market. She’s created flowers for hundreds of weddings and special events and also offers floral classes and flower deliveries. Exceptional Terrariums also operates out of the space, featuring hand-built terrariums, succulents and bromeliads.
Founded by Tamu Curtis, this locally owned shop specializes in cocktail supplies, barware and beverage lifestyle accessories. The Cocktailery also offers in-person and virtual cocktail classes and team-building experiences.
Originally opened in 2015 in Hoboken, New Jersey, The Golden Carrot started its second life in Charlotte in November 2019, when owner Nicole Corriher, her husband and two kids moved to Charlotte. Corriher is a curator of fine jewelry with a delicate and unique aesthetic, all handmade by independent designers.
This popular American retailer started as an online store selling prescription glasses. Warby Parker now has over 150 retail stores in the U.S. that offer high-quality prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses and contacts at an affordable price. The store also offers eye exams and accepts vision insurance from most major providers.
West Elm is a national furniture chain offering the most stylish, modern furniture, home decor accessories and kitchen items.
Bonus: Discover local farmers, artisans and vendors at the South End Farmers Market at Atherton every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Rail Trail.
From factories to art galleries, Camden Road has been home to key businesses that have helped transform South End into what it is today. Running parallel to the Rail Trail and the LYNX Blue Line light rail, Camden Road is one South End’s main streets and serves as a connector between various dining, retail and entertainment destinations in the neighborhood.
This Charlotte-based lifestyle and apparel brand was created by three former UNC Charlotte college roommates Scott Wooten, Jerry Shephard and Christopher Moxley, all of which were born and raised in the Charlotte area. The products celebrate Charlotte and pride in the 704 area code. 704 Shop is the only retailer licensed to sell products featuring the official Charlotte crown.
Founded by entrepreneurs Carrie Barker and Sarah Baucom, Girl Tribe is a curated women’s clothing store specializing in feminine graphic tees, tanks and accessories created by female business owners. Girl Tribe is all about empowered women empowering other women.
Entrepreneur Tiffany Parrish founded Selenite after discovering the amount of toxins in the environment and in products many use on a daily basis. At Selenite Beauty, all cosmetic, skincare and wellness products go through an extensive approval process to ensure they’re clean and effective, helping customers discover the most beautiful and confident version of themselves. The shop also has an in-house spa.
Bonus: For 10 years, Shop Small Saturdays have showcased South End’s small businesses and local area vendors with a series of pop-up street markets and specials at local shops. This year’s events return Nov. 26, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10. Shop local this holiday season. Big things happen when you shop small!
Design Center of the Carolinas
The Design Center of the Carolinas is a 4.5-acre retail and dining destination located in the buildings that were once occupied by the Nebel Knitting Mill, a high-quality, luxury hosiery factory. The former industrial mill was constructed in 1927, expanded in 1929 and restored between 2016-2018. Easily accessible from the LYNX Blue Line light rail, look for the iconic Design Center water tower to start your shopping adventure.
Amazing coffee, exceptional customer service and advocacy for people with special needs is served up at Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, a local coffee shop that provides employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In addition to coffee, the shop carries apparel, drinkware, accessories, gifts, products for kids and pets, and more.
Founded by sisters Brit Turner and Melanie Morton, Fit Atelier is a high-end fitness retail shop meets fitness studio, featuring modern, stylish activewear and a unique lineup of innovative group fitness classes.
Founded by Davidson College grad Lily Sandford, nicknamed Lilbelle by her mom, LilBelle is a women’s boutique showcasing the latest fashion trends. The vibrant and fun boutique is a dream come to life for Lily, who grew up watching her mom operate a boutique.
Design your own candle at a DIY Custom Candle Pouring class at Paddywax Candle Shop. The shop also offers at-home kits, candle subscriptions, virtual classes and custom small batches of candles for special occasions.
Owned by local husband-wife duo Mark Meissner and Casey Hickey, Petit Philippe is a wine shop and tasting room featuring a curated selection of Western Europe and West Coast wines by the bottle or the case.
The sister store of the popular women’s retailer Altar'd State, Vow’d is a wedding dress boutique offering designer wedding dresses at affordable prices.
Bonus: Named to honor the former site of the Nebel Knitting Mill, Nebel’s Alley Night Market features local vendors, entertainment and tastings in an open-air market under the lights and the Design Center water tower the third Thursday of the month from April to November.
Shops at The Winnifred
In 2020, construction of the Centro RailYard apartment complex was completed, featuring 91 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments as well as more than 12,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. In 2021, the development was acquired by real estate investment company Collett Capital and rebranded as The Winnifred, and the micro retail spaces were renamed the Shops at The Winnifred, serving as small business incubators.
Owner/operator Frankie White didn’t originally plan to open a bakery, but after his 8-year-old son passed away from cancer in 2011, he started baking as a therapeutic hobby that led to the launch of BW Sweets Bakery, named in honor of his son Bradley White. Featured on Food Network, the bakery features a daily dessert bar with grab-and-go sweets, as well as prepared and made-to-order cakes.
Bonus: Shop from local vendors, enjoy music and grab a bite to eat at Bop Around the Block, a neighborhood block party hosted by The Brown Sugar Collab and Five13 Studio across from the Shops at The Winnifred on the first Saturday of the month.
Where’s your favorite spot to shop in South End? Share your favorite finds with us on social media by tagging @SouthEndCLT and using the hashtag #SouthEndCLT. And don't forget to check the South End Calendar for a full list of neighborhood happenings.