Monday, October 7, 2019

[UPDATE] Smelly Situation at Sandy Plains Centre

An alleged "rodent infestation" has led to the temporary closure of an East Cobb restaurant less than three months after its debut.  Chicken Salad Chick, located in a 2,800 square foot space in Sandy Plains Centre, has been closed for more than three weeks for what it referred to as a "water pipe issue."   Their neighbors in the center, a franchise of Pet Supplies Plus, speculate that the restaurant's temporary closure is instead due to a reported "rodent infestation."

The Chicken Salad Chick restaurant in Sandy Plains Centre signed their lease at the center in 2018 and eventually opened June 25 of this year.  The restaurant was initially to be a franchise owned by local firm Origin Development Group but the entire franchise group was purchased by corporate last year. 

According to a Chicken Salad Chick representative, the Sandy Plains restaurant scored a 100% on their September 4  health inspection but closed as of September 21.  

Located at the corner of Sandy Plains and Shallowford Roads in East Cobb, Sandy Plains Centre was built in 1997 and was until late last year owned by Columbia, South Carolina-based Edens.  Sandy Plains was one of many Atlanta area centers in the Edens portfolio which still includes Toco Hills Promenade as well as Lenox Marketplace, Tuxedo Festival and Buckhead Market Place in Buckhead, among others. 

Edens sold Sandy Plains Centre to Chicago-based InvenTrust Properties Corp. for $44.2 million.  The announcement confirming the sale mentioned that the center underwent a $2.3 million renovation in 2015.

Chicken Salad Chick is located in a portion of a larger space that was subdivided to make room for the restaurant.  The most recent prior occupants of the larger space were seasonal Halloween shops, Tucci's, a local home furnishings store, and an Ace Hardware.

The fact that the prior occupants of the space were all retailers lends credence to the idea that the work necessary to convert the space to restaurant use disturbed the rats who may have already been in the vacant space.

The center's Kroger store, which shares a wall with Pet Supplies Plus, has reportedly not [yet] been affected by the issue or at least not in a way that is publicly visible. 

Mark and Shannon Martin, owners of the Marietta Pet Supplies Plus and seven other locations around metro Atlanta, took to Facebook last week to address the issues facing their store and the negative comments and attention they have been receiving on social media. 

"Good Afternoon loyal friends and customers of Pet Supplies Plus in Marietta. When Mark and I opened this store so many years ago we instantly fell in love with our Marietta neighbors. As passionate pet owners ourselves (we are owned by 9 dogs, 45 horses, 2 birds, 4 tortoises and numerous other animals too many to list) we did not accept this responsibility lightly. We chose Pet Supplies Plus Franchising in 2004 and have been committed to servicing our neighbors and their pets with the highest levels of cleanliness, customer service and love that we ourselves would want when shopping a retail outlet. We've never had an incident arise like the one we are facing now in our Marietta location. As many of you have noticed this location has been inundated with a rodent infestation the likes we've never seen before. As soon as we saw (and smelled) that something was amiss we immediately reached out to the management of the shopping center in which we pay exorbitantly to house our Marietta Pet Supplies Plus location. We were aware that this center had changed ownership and as bad luck would have it, no pest control contract had been instated here. That IS an uncommon procedure in a center this size with food service as tenancy. Let's just say we weren't taken very seriously about our concern. I will go a step further and quote management that "no infestation exists!" I'd like to share with you now the how and WHY of our predicament. We are saddened and appalled that this has happened to us here. Those of you that have been long time customers of our Marietta location should be able to see that this isn't "business as usual" for us. When construction began on an adjacent space last year the trouble began. We can only assume that disturbing a colony of rats in the adjacent space has created this now horrifying problem for us. We can assure you it is nothing we could have prevented and we have worked tirelessly to remedy. We are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel after spending thousands of dollars in pest remediation (at our cost) and disposal of interior fixtures and ceilings, but until the owners and management of this center acknowledge that there is indeed an issue in the center, we will be fighting an uphill battle. The restaurant next door has closed doors citing a water pipe issue, but I do not believe this to be the case. It is the rodent issue that will ultimately close theirs and many other businesses in this center if we do not get an acknowledgement from the management. We will not hide behind lies and speculation. You, our dear friends, deserve to know the truth. We know that Pet Supplies Plus is taking a beating on Social Media sites such as Yelp and Next Door. Although we are not at fault and COULD NOT have prevented this infestation, we will work tirelessly to remedy it until our Marietta location is again up to our standards. We want you to know that we truly appreciate all of our loyal neighbors that are standing by us during this terrible time. You are truly valued and loved and your faith in our abilities and character means so much to us. We look forward to overcoming this challenge and again servicing the neighbors and pets of Marietta. If we can answer any questions about what we are doing to fix these issues we welcome constructive conversation. Thank you, Mark and Shannon Martin, Pet Supplies Plus Marietta."


ToNeTo Atlanta reached out to the Martins for further comment and to get an update from them on the remediation process.  Despite what seemed like an open invitation to have questions answered, they did not return either of our phone messages to the store nor our Facebook message.  

ToNeTo Atlanta contacted Chicken Salad Chick and was supplied the following statement regarding the situation at Sandy Plains: 

We deeply appreciate our Sandy Plains community and apologize for the inconvenience of our temporary closure. Chicken Salad Chick is dedicated to providing our guests and team members with a clean, safe and joyful environment. As a precautionary measure, we will remain closed until the shopping center maintenance issue is remedied. We are grateful to serve our Sandy Plains guests at our nearby East Cobb, Roswell and Kennesaw locations.”

Property management also provided ToNeTo Atlanta with a statement regarding the steps they are taking to resolve the issue.    

"InvenTrust Properties considers the appearance, comfort and cleanliness of our centers one of our primary areas of focus. As soon as we were made aware of a situation that involved two tenants at the center, we took immediate steps to remediate the problem and work cooperatively with the tenants involved, and we will continue to do so."

A follow-up to our question regarding the current status of the remediation yielded an additional response from InvenTrust:

"The situation has been improving since our involvement, and remediation continues. It is up to the tenants to determine their opening dates, we have not been given any specific dates as of today."

Are you a current or former Pet Supplies Plus shopper?  What do you think is the cause of the alleged "infestation"?  Do you think enough is being done by all parties involved to remedy the situation?

Please share your thoughts below. 

8 comments:

Alex said...

Find a Trap-and-Release organization and have them release a group of feral cats behind that strip mall. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

They need to replace both stores with a store that sells sheet metal so they can starve the rats away, right now there is enough pet food and chicken salad there to feed an army, with 10 flavors to choose from!

Anonymous said...

I'll bet those rodents have been thriving on pet food for quite a while. It's gonna take concerted effort from all the tenants to cure that problem.

Unknown said...

That’s NOT a good idea. A feral colony has its “home” where the colony is. If they are released somewhere new, chances are they’ll leave to try to return to their original home. Eating rats from an infestation is not a healthy diet for a cat. They can get all sorts of diseases from the rodents.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same place that used to house a pet shop right next to Kroger where they sold dogs and animals and stuff? That one was a hell hole of filth throughout the store I wonder if this is the same location they took over after the other went out of business.

Anonymous said...

Yes same petstore.

Anonymous said...

I was in that Pet Supplies Plus about a month ago, and it smelled like death. Some sort of swampy rotten meat odor. No idea what it was, but I haven't been back.

Anonymous said...

Two Things:

1. There used to be a Chinese restaurant on the other side of the complex (where the Pilates studio is, maybe?) and the girls who work in Bob Steele Salon next door told me that there were a lot of rats behind the scenes during that time, so they were thrilled when the restaurant opened a standalone location nearby.

2. The massive construction site just across Sandy Plains resulted in acres of newly cleared wooded areas, so perhaps that displaced some rodents who used to make their homes in that area.

What about the other restaurants on that side of the shopping center? Aren't they experiencing problems? There are at least five other food service spots on the same side of the complex....

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