In the early 1970s, a large brown brick home in Brookhaven with Palladian windows, columns and wrought iron detail was home to a retail center called Up Your Image. I first heard about the unusual group of retail shops from Albert Martin. Martin is the great-, great-grandson of Harris Goodwin, the pioneer who first came to Cross Keys and built the Goodwin Home.
Up Your Image was located in the former home of Atlanta Mayor Walter Sims, who served from 1923 until 1927 and settled in the home at 3920 Peachtree Road in Brookhaven later in life.
A September 1, 1973, Atlanta Constitution article, “Bead Stringing Her Career,” tells how Glenn Evans came to start Up Your Image. Evans studied accounting at Georgia State University after serving in the Navy. Then he was an accountant for General Motors. After two years, Evans decided a career in bookkeeping with GM was not his bag. It seemed his coworkers had worked there a long time without much progress. “It took that cat 20 years to get where he was. I had two years in and decided I just didn’t want to get there.”
Working with the Office of Economic Opportunity he was able to lease the home along with six acres for $400 per month. For a while, he had another partner but bought him out “with a corduroy coat and an air conditioner.”
In 1973, the home held nine individual shops. Agneta Roark’s bead store, The Bead Closet, was on the second floor in a space the size of a closet. In addition to The Bead Closet, stores included Glenn Evans’ import shop, leathercraft shop, Native American jewelry shop, plant store, furniture store and Albert Martin’s bookstore.
Evans worked as property manager, carpenter, electrician, yardman and bookkeeper of Up Your Image. In other words, he took care of everything. He loved his new work and described the benefit to customers, “People here don’t mind standing around rapping with customers. They get a little bit more than a piece of merchandise here.”
In a 2016 interview, Albert Martin shared that in the 1970s his bookstore moved from an old building behind the commercial district of Brookhaven to Up Your Image. The commercial area was bulldozed in 1972 to remove the hazardous curve of Peachtree Road, and the building that held his bookstore was demolished to make way for homes.
Albert Martin remembers that Up Your Image and all the shops’ merchandise, including his bookstore, burned to the ground. The address that was once home to the Sims home and Up Your Image was later the location of Hastings in Brookhaven.