Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bits & Bites

Spa Sydell at Brookwood Place 
Spa Sydell has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy....again.  The company previously filed for bankruptcy in 2009, exiting in 2012.  The original company was founded in 1982 with one location in Buckhead under the name of Sydell – Skin Care Salon.  Since 1982, the company grew to include many spas.   In metro Atlanta, locations include Alpharetta, Peachtree Parkway, Brookwood Place, Park Place, Cumming and Kennesaw. (Locations in Buckhead on West Paces Ferry Road, Roswell Corners  and in Cumberland Mall, among others, previously closed.) Today, Spa Sydell is owned by Reina Bermudez, who became Chief Executive Officer in 2011 after directing the company’s financial affairs for several years. A seventh location is being built out at The Shops at Merchants Walk in Huntsville.  I visited the Huntsville center this past weekend and saw what appeared to be a space  under construction.  It was the weekend, so it seemed as though the new location is still on track.  In the bankruptcy filing, Bermudez blamed the company's financial troubles on both a $250,000 loss the company sustained following the Valentine's Day weekend snow storm in 2014, as well as cost overruns from their Kennesaw location that opened last year.  Not mentioned in the filing was the fact that the metro Atlanta market has changed a lot since since Sydell's launch over three decades ago.  In addition to competition from luxury hotel spas, franchise spas like Massage Envy, Massage Heights and Elements Massage all have many Atlanta area locations, as does local upstart Natural Body Spa.  
A new Speedway is coming to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Norcross.  The new convenience store and 20-pump gas station will be built near the corner of Reps Miller Road and P.I.B., near an existing RaceTrac.   Enon, Ohio-based Speedway is an operator of convenience stores and gas stations with nearly 2,800 locations in 22 states.  Speedway, a wholly owned subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corporation, previously had many locations in metro Atlanta, but they all closed or were converted many years ago.  Two local Speedway locations I recall were in Sagamore Hills and Tucker.  In Sagamore Hills, Speedway operated at the corner of Briarcliff and Clairmont Roads where today, the station still operates, but under the Chevron brand.  In Tucker, Speedway operated at the corner of Lawrenceville Highway and Northlake Parkway where a new RaceTrac opened a few years ago.  Speedway re-entered the metro Atlanta market earlier this spring with a location in Alpharetta on McFarland Parkway, across the street from a new-ish RaceTrac.  With QuikTrip and RaceTrac leaders in the metro Atlanta market, it will be interesting to see how Speedway fares and in what cities / neighborhoods they are able to secure sites.

The new AC Hotel Atlanta Buckhead at Phipps Plaza officially opened this past Monday.  The hotel is located on mall property, at the corner of Peachtree and Wieuca Roads, just outside of Nordstrom. 

Local nail salon Posh Nails, currently located on Pharr Road, will soon relocate to a new space nearby.  The salon's current home, within the dated center in the 300 block of Pharr Road between Fulton and Grandview, is surely being targeted for redevelopment.  Posh's new digs will be in a 1,500 square foot space within Buckhead Exchange on Peachtree Road where Kale Me Crazy has already opened and YEAH! Burger is under construction.     

I-CE-NY, a Thai ice cream shop, is now open on Buford Highway in Doraville.  Similar to nearby ice cream shop and Instagram hotspot 8 Fahrenheit, I-CE-NY offers guests rolled ice cream, a Thai specialty.  I-CE-NY is located in Pinetree Plaza, between BoBo Garden and Subway.  

Korean fried chicken eatery Bonchon opened yesterday at Fayette Pavillion in Fayetteville.  A local reader indicated that the restaurant was not busy on its first day but that the "menu looks awesome" and that the "chicken is really fu**ing delicious."   

Scottsdale, Arizona-based Grabbagreen, a quick serve healthy fast food + juice restaurant, is coming to Atlanta.  Grabbagreen was founded in 2013 and began franchising last year.  The company announced yesterday that they have signed a three unit franchise agreement with Atlantan Lauren Ramsey of Going for Green, Inc. Ramsey plans to open the three restaurants over the next two years with the first location planned for the first quarter of 2017.  "As an endurance athlete in Atlanta, I have learned a lot about food choices throughout the years and how they impact my performance," states Ramsey. "Food  is medicine and I believe that healthy food choices for kids and adults are the key to physical and mental health." Although no lease has been signed for the first location, I'd bet markets such as Buckhead, Midtown, Dunwoody and Decatur will be targeted for development.   

The BeltLine Design Review Committee gave a negative recommendation to the proposal to replace the historic Henri Jova-designed Trust Company bank building with a self-storage facility.   The DRC's  recommendation to the Neighborhood Planning Unit and the City Planning office is only that: a recommendation. Things could change, but this is definitely a step in the right direction, for those like me who hope to see the building saved.  The property owner can appeal if not happy with the decision.


Ham said...

I suspect there’s more to it, but I’d hate to run a business that can be put into bankruptcy by one snow day.

Also, very good news about the bank building on Monroe drive I hope the city has the vision to save this facility and work with the owners to find a solution that works for everyone. Maybe the city could buy the property as historic preservation and lease it to a private business.

Anonymous said...

Wonder what this means for the Spa Sydell supposed to open at the Sandy Sprongs Gateway? It doesn't look like there's a spot for it, just curious if it's still planned

Anonymous said...

A Valentine Day snowstorm? Didn't know Spa Sydell was in the restaurant and hotel business gosh that must have really damaged their business and 2015 was such a horrible year as well?

Anonymous said...

Spa sydell attempts to occupy a weird space where it tries to come off as a high end exclusive spa while at the same time relying on a high volume of customers. Th few times I've gone, I've found it to be overcrowded with very little privacy and generally noisy outside the treatment rooms. I think a large part of its business is based on gift certificates that never actually get used, I know I have 2 stuffed in my desk right now.

vespajet said...

Speedway's previous stint in the market was after they acquired the Stravin' Marvin chain of C-stores back in the late 1980s. There are still some former outlets in existence that have long shifted over to independent operators. I've been in the Speedway on McFarland and it's a lot like the Racetrac across the street, and I was not very impressed. The place was busy because they were selling gas for under $2 a gallon when they opened. Of course the Racetrac is a previous generation design and the newer stores are much better. I would not be surprised if Racetrac eventually shutters that location for an overhaul, similar to what they did at the location on Mansell Road (QT is in the process of building one down the street from it.), especially since QT is planning a store on McFarland as well. I honestly expect Racetrac and QT to make sure that Speedway's entry into the market is a brief one.

Anonymous said...

What in the world is Bonchon doing at the Fayette Pavillion in Fayetteville? That's set to fail. Move to Cobb parkway near me please!

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone that would like to see the Sun Trust bank building saved. However, the building has struggled to keep tenants for any long period of time and I would imagine it is due to the parking and isolated location. It will continue to struggle to keep any sustainable business that needs foot traffic and i don't know if having a revolving door of tenants is a great thing for that property. I doubt that changes and it makes sense for a business like a storage facility (as tacky as they are) to look at that parcel.