Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kroger Calls it Quits in South Buckhead

Kroger will close their bi-level store at The Brookwood in south Buckhead July 8th. The store was originally scheduled to be a Harris Teeter, but when the grocer exited the Atlanta market, they left a number of stores undeveloped. Another store was set to open in Midtown Place across from the former City Hall East but was opened as a Whole Foods instead. The Brookwood location opened in 2003 and has never connected well with their higher end customer base. The store was 2 levels, but was still quite small, and may have suffered as a result. It's bi-level design was to mimic the bi-level Harris Teeter in Sage Hill (currently a Kroger) near Emory, a store that was constructed after the demolition of a Winn-Dixie.

One would think that the Fresh Market and Publix, both north on Peachtree would have allowed for the Kroger to satisfy the needs of nearby residents of south Buckhead and SCAD students, but alas that seems not to be the case. I recall there at one point being an entrance on Peachtree Street with a single register, making quick walk by trips a breeze but this entrance was closed years ago.

The center as a whole has gone through a number of changes and setbacks. Aside from Harris Teeter, locally owned Killer Creek Chop House signed to open in the center but never did. Instead, Wolfgang Puck Express and Chef Gary Mennie's Taurus opened in the development and have both since closed. Borders was a significant tenant for the center, but they too closed earlier this year. Luckily, Aveda will relocate their Aveda Institute training school from Piedmont Road to the former Borders later this summer, leaving the space vacant only briefly.

The Art Store closed years ago followed by Swoozie's last year and both storefronts have remained vacant. Wolfgang Puck Express closed in 2009 and was replaced with locally operated Baroni last year. Taurus closed at the end of 2008 and was replaced with Tuk Tuk Thai Fodo Loft in late 2009. Despite being owned and operated by Nan and Charlie Niyomkul of Nan Thai Fine Dining and Tamarind Seed, the restaurant has failed to meet expectations of nearby residents and if you ask me may be the next casualty at the center. Sage Clothing boutique did not renew their lease and closed this past February citing Borders closure as the contributing factor. Spa Sydell remains open as does Atlanta's only Viking cooking school & store, though I'm told Viking is performing far better than Sydell.

I don't live in south Buckhead, but am curious, what should open in the Kroger space. Should another grocer come to fill the void or something different altogether? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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19 comments:

Anonymous said...

AJC says they have a tentative agreement with Sam Flax to fill the space. http://www.ajc.com/business/kroger-to-close-brookwood-970929.html

Anonymous said...

That area is a nightmare for traffic. I wish Harris Teeter didn't leave. It is sad to see how Kroger bastardized their stores.

26th Street alum said...

What?! How in the world does a Kroger go out of business? How is that even possible?

I'd think they could stay afloat just on the thousands of people who live within a mile of the place.

I used to live on the dead end of 26th Street back when it was Yorke Downs and I would have LOVED to have a grocery store that close. But of course they didn't finish building it until I'd already moved up to Peachtree Hills and I could walk nine minutes to the Peachtree Battle Publix.

atlantaurbanist said...

This Kroger was always a pain to get to. Until last year, my family lived about a half mile south of here in a condo. We tried walking to this store several times but ended up finding it too unsafe.

Walking across the Peachtree Street entrance to the BuHi connector was dangerous, and walking around the store on the asphalt to get to the rear-facing entrance was pretty unpleasant.

Being right against the sidewalk, this whole shopping center tantalizes walkers like me into thinking it's pedestrian friendly, but I don't think that's the case for most nearby residents. Unless you live north of this development and on the east side of Peachtree, it's not a nice place to walk to. And car traffic can be so bad around here that it isn't nice to drive to either.

I wish Peachtree wasn't so wide and busy at this point because this shopping center could otherwise be pretty convenient for SCAD students who might want to have a nice walk here.

Anonymous said...

I think this store was operating (briefly) as a Harris Teeter as I'm almost sure I remember going to it.

As to the Sam Flax move; that seems as good a tenant as any as it should presumably well-serve the SCAD students. For them, it will be a short walk and a Peachtree Frogger game to get to.

Anonymous said...

Trader Joes!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Publix or Whole Foods. I live 100yds from the Kroger for 3 years and have been in there maybe 3 times. That store was nasty.

Anonymous said...

To me it's a chicken or egg thing. I used to live in an apartment within walking distance of the store, thinking I could actually walk there to do my shopping like a real urbanite. However, the produce & meat always seemed like the leftovers on the truck after they went to the real Krogers in town; they never looked good and could only last 2-3 days. Because of its size the selection was lacking when trying to fins your favorite X item. The bi-level thing didn't freak me out much because it seemed only pharmacy & cards were up there. So I gave up and had to drive to the Kroger in Ansley Park. It's bad to see the place go, but if the quality of food and selection was better, it might have succeeded. Anyways, that whole plaza is like that Japanese nuclear plant now.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with the comments above... I live near here and ,unfortunately, go out of my way tot he Fresh Market to shop just because that place was so miserable.
I would have loved to see another place such as a Trader Joes opening up in its place, but the Sam Flax there is a wonderful replacement and is also well-fitting for the neighborhood, espeically with SCAD so close by!

Anonymous said...

When I moved to the area in 2005, the first supermarket was that Kroger. Maybe it was me, but I always thought it looked rather dirty, unorganized and unfriendly. There also seemed to be just one cashier working the registers -- everything else was self-checkout.

The Krogers on Howell Mill and Piedmont (next to the Hampton Inn) are generally cleaner, friendlier and have a better selection.

There are numerous options in the Brookwood area for decent food shopping. You have Fresh Market, several Publix (Peachtree Battle, Atlantic Station, Plaza Midtown) and Whole Foods garnering for attention. In general, I find the staff at the three Publix far friendlier than the Brookwood Kroger.

Anonymous said...

The customer service here was next to none heinous. I would literally wait at the customer service desk (to buy lotto) sometimes up to 20 minutes. The other employees would just look at me and not offer to go find the person who was supposed to be there. I live in the condos behind this store, and would go there daily, and the service was horrid more than it wasn’t. Good riddance

Hilary said...

Since I live nearby, I'd love a Bakeshop or Trader Joe's. Remember Eatzi's? That might do well there - part mix of cafe + great prepared food to go.

Atlantan99 said...

@ Hilary,

You bet I remember Eatzi's! Miss them! We may soon get another Trader Joe's but I doubt it will be in or around Buckhead.

Anonymous said...

I sure miss Eatzi's....I heard the employees bled them dry...

Anonymous said...

That Kroger, as others have said, is terrible. The produce is awful, service is slow and rude, and you feel like you need a shower after shopping there. They could've cleaned it up like the Disco Kroger, but it's really just icky. Almost every time I've made the mistake of going in there, I've had to stand in a line halfway down an aisle because they only have one register open. Not surprised it's closing. I love the idea of Eatzi's or TJs.

Anonymous said...

I am no fan of this Kroger. That said, it suits me well since I work within walking distance. I can get my foodstuffs for lunch, snacks and dinner. It's very convenient working very close to a grocery store. So, I say let another grocery store move in!! Please! I'm sure other people in the are will say the same thing.

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Anon,

Sadly, as noted in an earlier comment and reported by the AJC, the space will be filled by Sam Flax and not a grocery store of any kind. Sam Flax will relocate their printing, stationary and furniture store from Northside Drive to this space in the coming months.

Atlantan99 said...

Hello Anon,

Sadly, as noted in an earlier comment and reported by the AJC, the space will be filled by Sam Flax and not a grocery store of any kind. Sam Flax will relocate their printing, stationary and furniture store from Northside Drive to this space in the coming months.

Anonymous said...

Another attractive Harris-Teeter turned into a eyesore of a dustbin by Kroger. It is perhaps their greatest skill. Wide aisles are not for customers, they are for bigger end-cap displays of Big K cola. It is beyond my comprehension why the 'organized naturally by earth tremors' look is as successful of a draw as it is for metro Krogers. But at least Buckhead said "keep your plastic Kroger Plus card off my Tiffany keychain".