Monday, March 22, 2010

Goldberg's Opening In Former Toco Hills Movie Theatre

The current exterior
Goldberg's Bagel Company & Deli is planning to open their sixth location, in Toco Hills shopping center. I'm told Goldberg's will open inside of two months, but judging from the progress thus far, I doubt that it will open on schedule. The actual space Goldberg's has selected was a mystery to me initially, but I have now confirmed that the former movie theater will house Goldberg's. After opening in 1964, the movie theater changed hands a few times, at one time it was owned by George Lefont, of Lefont Theaters. The theater closed in 2000. It's great to see something finally happening to the space though a part of me hoped that the theater would be purchased by some entrepreneur and re-open as a neighborhood theater. Opening on the Publix Supermarket "wing," Goldberg's will join Bagel Palace and Einstein's Bagels in the immediate area offering similar fare. The most direct competition is clearly Bagel Palace, as they cater to the heavily Jewish (& Emory) clientele and offer essentially the same menu as Goldberg's. Having been employed by Kroger in Toco Hill in my first job, I learned the intricacies of this strange shopping center. To the left of Famous Pub, the pavement changes and there is a small alley dividing the center: Toco Hill anchored by Kroger and Toco Hills anchored by Publix. Separate owners and management companies operate each side. I can't imagine Bagel Palace and Deli is too happy about its new neighbor, but there is really nothing to be done given the fact that their properties are managed by separate entities. ToNeTo Atlanta

The current interior

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Jim B. Morris said...

Thanks for this news.

Meantime, maybe you (or one of your readers) can clarify two things for me...

1) Is it Toco Hill (singular) or Toco Hills (plural)?

2) Is it true that Toco stands for TOp of the COunty or is there another explanation for that word?

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Jim,

A lifelong resident of the area, here's what I've been told over the years...and something I just found.

Toco Hill is the shopping center that includes the Kroger and Toco Hills is anchored by the Publix. The two are commonly called Toco Hills but apparently officially, and legal are known as Hill and Hills respectively. Clyde Shepherd developed the Kroger side initially and I found the following to explain the name...

"According to Clyde Shepherd, the man who came up with the name in the mid-1950s, Toco comes from a Brazilian Indian word meaning very good luck. He built the area's first strip mall on North Druid Hills Road, featuring what was then a giant A&P supermarket of 10,000 square feet. The development, located where the Office Depot is now, got the name Toco Hill. It was a hill in those days, said Mr. Shepherd. The name gradually changed to Toco Hills."

Hope this helps but perhaps another reader will have more info...

Thanks for the comments and reading the blog!

John P said...

Publix has blocked a LOT of businesses and enterprises from filling in that former movie theatre location because they didn't want any interference with the parking for Publix shoppers. At one time DeKalb PD was supposed to take the space over but that deal fell through too. It'll be interesting to see someone take the place over. Can't imagine a deli being big enough for that space, but I'm sure they have their plans set.

Jim B. Morris said...

I drove past the empty movie theatre space on Monday, March 29, after shopping at Publix.

I saw NO sign of Goldberg Deli activity and no "coming soon" sign. Just FYI.

P.S. Sadly, there is lots of empty space in that part of the mall. I noticed that Foot Solutions is gone. I shopped there a few years ago. I think it's a local company. Did they lose their lease or go out of business, perhaps?

Atlantan99 said...

Hey Jim,

As with much of the info I share on this blog, the Goldberg's news came from an industry source. As such, it was not yet common knowledge and is still in the prelim stages. From what I've been told this week, Wayne Saxe, President of Goldberg's Bagels still intends on opening, just not at the previously announced time.

As for Foot Solutions, they are a locally based franchise operation. I think the store at Toco simply did not meet sales expectations and the rent was too high to remain in business under the circumstances.

Thanks as always for your comments!


Doug said...

What is the story on that wooded lot facing Lavista in front of Kroger? I remember there was a pretty old farm house there until about 10 yrs ago, now its just a fenced in wooded lot on the edge of a parking lot.

How did it avoid development since Toco Hill shopping center was built in the early 60s?

I checked it out on historic and you can see the house was the only building in a area of pastures back in 1955.

I enjoyed your theater history comments. I remember going to see "Planet of the Apes" at the Toco Theater when I was a kid.



Atlantan99 said...

Hey Doug,

Sorry about the delayed response.

I live not far from Toco Hills and recall the house you mentioned. At one point it was to be made a part of the center and turned into a Kroger Fuel station, something happened with the county and it never happened. Not sure why it remains untouched, only guess is that her family is holding out for the "perfect offer".

Never made it to the theater, wish it was still there though :( No progress on Goldbergs, hopefully something good to report soon.

Thanks for the comment and reading the blog

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the area and remember working at the Toco Hill Theatre. Mr Sheppard was part of the Sheppard Constuction family that owns the land near Sheppard Road and Briarcliff, where Channel 46 used ot be. Back in the 1950's, he built the first part of Toco Hills, right off LaVista, the first 2-story section. The main tenant was the "Pot-Of-Gold" market, which was a predecessor to 7/11. On the side of the building he had fastened a "fasces", which he got while stationed in Italy during the American occupation following WW2. When I was in Atlanta in April 2010, I noticed that the fasces was no longer on the building.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Kroger section of Toco "Hill" came later - perhaps the mid-late 70s? I remember when the house at the front of the lot on LaVista (and Outback, Brusters, Chilis, etc) were all still woods - late 60s/early 70s
I remember Benjamin Franklin 5 and dime where the mattress store is now. Loved that place! And I remember when Publix was a small local farmer's market - and that whole section of the center flooded up into the parking lot during a particularly furious afternoon storm (spring 78, I think)
lots of memories of Toco Hills -
And I'm really NOT happy that Goldberg's chose to locate here. There are many other places they could have gone w/out stepping on the toes of the one good independent bagel shop that's been part of the n'hood for decades.
Does Goldberg's really need to do that? Please!

Anonymous said...

I'm a nearly 40 year resident of the area. The house was torn down around 2k2 or so. After driving by a few times, I had to stop by and explore around that time (after the family had moved out).

The family that owned it was named the Arnolds I believe. There was one shed that had newspapers in it stacked 5 feet high. Another shed had some drawers of random nuts, bolts, etc.

There was a wooden garage with a loft. I went up in the loft and took a bunch of ancient cancelled checks, just for history's sake.

One shows downtown Rich's department store, and was used solely for Rich's. It's from 1923. I also found some bizarre protocols of zionish type book. In short, I think the family living there was entirely eccentric. I've looked on some property records and seen their name, thus I think that they had money--but lived like trailer trash.

Due to the variety of garbage, there were lots of rats around. I ran into another guy collecting rocks to use in his garden. I didn't break into the house, but I doubt there was much of value inside.

It does seem to be a mystery as to why the land has sat empty for nearly 10 years.

millie said...

I just had to respond to anonymous. First, the Arnall family couldn't have been any better people and very respected in the neighborhood. The son, Harry,(he served ub World War ll with my brothers) and the daughter, Louise, lived to be very old as did the Mother. I knew them for many, many years since I lived across North Druid Hills from them. It was a very nice two story home when built and the son was the last to live in it. Naturally, there might be rats after he moved out but, that definitely was not the way they lived. Then, the property Kroger etc. in on is owned by the sstate of the Arnalls. It is my understanding that they aren't interested in selling. Shepherd has always just leased that property. After Harry was too sick to live there and had to go to assisted living, the house stood there for years without anyone there. I just had to clear up some of this because I visited them many times and my entire family knew them and appreciated them.