Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wine and Beer in Buckhead? Totally!

Potomac, Maryland based Total Wine and More is one step closer to opening  at the intersection of Peachtree and Piedmont Roads, at Buckhead Square.

The beer & wine retailer has existing Atlanta area locations in Alpharetta, Dunwoody and Kennesaw.  Total's  Dunwoody and Alpharetta locations are both former CompUSA stores.

In Buckhead, Total would replace The Container Store, which relocated a few blocks away to the former Borders store at Buckhead Triangle.    (Atlanta based Selig Enterprises owns both centers)

Earlier, I had reported that Atlanta based Hooters was in talks to take over the former Container Store space, but I later learned those plans never got very far.  One source went as far as to tell me that Selig may have even spread rumors of Hooters interest purely to "piss off the city of Atlanta."  You see, given current permitting and zoning, Hooters would have been able to open in the space with relative ease, whereas the city was unwilling to budge on restrictions preventing stores like Total Wine from opening.

Recently NPU-B (Neighborhood Planning Unit-Buckhead) gave its preliminary support to amending the current restrictions.

The proposed exemption to the distance requirements between single family home neighborhoods and beer and wine retailers would apply only to shopping centers in excess of 75,000 square feet of retail space with frontage on Peachtree Road or Peachtree Street. Restrictions on liquor sales would not be changed.

Buckhead mainstay Pearson's Liquor and Fine Wines on Early Street near East Paces Ferry Road closed at the end of 2011.  More recently, the beer and wine portion of Savi Provisions opened at Tuxedo Festival, but its location is not the best, nor does it have the visibility and accessibility that Total Wine would have.

As an employee of a Buckhead area hotel, I frequently get requests from guests looking for a close place like Total Wine, and I think it would be a smart use of the space.

What do you think?  Should Total Wine be allowed to open in the heart of Buckhead?  Would the ready access to beer and wine in Buckhead be good or bad?  Weigh in...

18 comments:

Carl Black said...

I wonder why Pearson's closed? I'm not sure why this retail concept seems controversial. Perhaps it is just a bit outdated, as even Kroger now offers growlers, so folks aren't necessarily seeking yet another stop solely for beer and wine.

Anonymous said...

The owner of Pearson's retired.

Anonymous said...

Really, a liquor store at the prominent Piedmont/Peachtree intersection? What a joke. You'd really think Selig could do a bit better than this but I guess they're going for the quick buck.

Aren't there already a gazillion grocery stores in the area where you can buy wine and beer? Seriously, this is the least creative thing I've ever seen.

AJ said...

@ Anon @ 8:28AM - Least creative thing EVER? That's a bold statement. First, it's not a liquor store. It's a wine (& beer) store. There is a difference. I'm guessing you've never been in a Total Wine store? Employees are educated and want to help you find the wine you want. They are providing a service that many liquor stores just don't provide. I think it will be a great addition to that neighborhood - and provide a very different service than that of Kroger or a liquor store.

SB said...

Seems like some folks have not been to a Total Wine. They are an asset to every community they enter. We had one open in a plaza we own in Fort Lauderdale and it's been incredible. The clientele they bring in has boosted the center and caused other smaller complimentary shops to open like a specialty cheese store for example next door. It's been great.

Anonymous said...

The Total Wine in Kennesaw is located in a former Media Play store, not a CompUSA. The space on Barrett Parkway was subdivided into Total Wine and REI.

Anonymous said...

I really think they should have something much more visionary at that intersection of Peachtree/Piedmont. They should have something that screams 'Atlanta', not just another run-of-the-mill wine/liquor/beer store. You want people driving through to know they're in Atlanta or Buckhead, not just in any old suburb anywhere in the country. This is really disappointing.

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon,

You my good man have a great eye! I knew better and this was a careless mistake in my editing. The Alpharetta and Dunwoody locations were former CompUSA stores, not the Kennesaw store as you pointed out.

Thanks for reading the site and catching this!

Anonymous said...

I'm with JB. Seriously, y'all anons throwing shade need to sit down if you haven't been to a Total Wine. A grocery store, even Disco Kroger, has nothing compared to them. The one in Dunwoody is awesome, they had liquor until I think it was the Alpharetta one opened, and they used that space to add even more wine. But whatever you guys let me know if you can find a Cremant d'Alsace in your average grocery store's wine aisle and then also find an employee to tell you more about it.

SRK said...

Total Wine is to a liquor store is what REI is to a sporting good store (like Sports Authority)

Anonymous said...

What's the approx. square footage on this location? Smaller than the ex-CompUSA spots?

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon, RE: size,

As far as I know, the former Container Store is just shy of 23,000 square feet. From what I can find, most former CompUSA spaces were slightly larger, perhaps around 24,000 square feet or so.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

One other thing to consider is the terrible access in and out of this location. It's great if you are traveling north on Peachtree and are planning to continue traveling north on Peachtree when you are done. Otherwise if you are heading south or anywhere else for that matter, then forget it.

Eric Smith said...

I agree with the sentiments re: Total Wine & More being an asset to the area - their selection is awesome and frequent the Dunwoody location for large purchases. One interesting point is that Georgia's archaic laws only allow a chain to sell liquor at two locations. That is why they stopped selling liquor at the Dunwoody location when they opened up one in Alpharetta. They already were selling liquor at the Kennessaw location. Just curious if they will rob Peter to pay Paul and sell liquor in the Buckhead location (removing it presumably from Kennesaw).

Atlantan99 said...

@Eric and others,

I know! That law is beyond outdated. Only two shops in the state, makes no sense. Costco has the same issues henece their being no liquor at the bustling Brookhaven store.

Thanks for your readership and comments.

Anonymous said...

A few observations:

1. Love Selig's firm stand to do this deal with Total Wine and exploit the city's ridiculous initial denial of the deal. Prior to the Hooter's rumor, the space was marketed as a night club....just to piss off the city.

2. Total Wine is a win-win for the retailer and the Buckhead neighorhood.

3. Great reporting. This was a fun one to watch.

Anonymous said...

Total Wine is full of private label garbage that they romance to sell to unsuspecting consumers to turn a profit.

They begin in markets by advertising blowout prices to stomp out competition. Once their audience is captive, good brands disappear and their private label "brands" emerge with employees given quotas on those items.

It is a classic bait and switch model that seems good on the short term, but over the long term robs communities of true wine selection.

Their staff turnover tends to be very high.

Anonymous said...

The above poster is correct, they Total Wine will sell products at cost just to kill off competition. Then once the competition is settled, they will start to raise their prices. Their sales team is taught to sell private label wine. So you better not try walking out with just a bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay.