The Gift of Athens
By Hailea Boykin
Photos by Kathryn Ann Waller
Longtime readers of our magazine know that the Classic City is about community, art, education and, of course, UGA football. All of these things create a welcoming and well-rounded atmosphere that you’re not likely to experience elsewhere — not to mention shopping local is a self-indulgent treat.
There is a certain Athens charm that is difficult to pinpoint at first visit, but as soon as you leave, you miss it. Why not just take that feeling home with you?
Jennifer Murray has created a special business in the comfort of her own home, though it started as a simple act of appreciation and kindness. “Our babysitter who we’d had for many years graduated from UGA and was moving. I wanted to get her a fun, special gift but everything was closed because of Covid,” said Murray. “We couldn’t go shopping so I drove around and did pick-ups from all these different Athens shops like Natty Michelle, Condor Chocolates and Jittery Joe’s.” She knew the gift would be special, but she didn’t expect to stumble on the idea of a fruitful small business at the same time.
Only Georgia started with Athens as their first city gift box. “We got on board with all the different vendors and it was perfect timing because everyone was trying to support small businesses,” said Murray. “It just blew up and we didn’t expect that.” From treats and snacks, to coffee, drink coozies, soaps, candles and art prints, everything comes from local shops and creators, assuring you’ll receive part of that familiar Athens vibe wherever you are or wherever life takes you.
Their most recent box addition is customized for Lake Oconee. “We added this box because we moved to Athens from Lake Oconee,” mentioned Murray. “We have so many friends with small businesses there.”
They plan to keep the boxes exclusive to Georgia with the eventual goal to expand. “Our goal was to expand to other cities, but I’m still busy with Athens right now,” she recounts, recognizing that with the overwhelming amount of support from the community Only Georgia has quickly blossomed into a family affair. “It took off,” Murray said with a laugh.
While there are pre-made boxes available on the website, Murray has custom selections available for customers who are already familiar with local Athens favorites. In time for the holidays there are local goods like hot cocoa mix, ornaments, pine scented candles and more, all fitting perfectly in a holiday gift box for family or friends.
You can view Murray’s selection of gift boxes at www.onlyga.com.