Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Bits & Bites

Farm Burger  plans to open alongside Your Pie at The George on Memorial Drive in Grant Park. This will mark Farm Burger's fourth location in Georgia and tenth overall. George Frangos, Farm Burger's founder and owner, tells me that the Grant Park restaurant will be about 1,800 square feet, similar in size to the company's Decatur outpost. Frangos anticipates that the new restaurant will open by the end of the year.  In addition to the Grant Park Farm Burger, Frangos expects to open two other locations this coming June/July in Birmingham and Memphis.  The Birmingham location will be on the city's southside in a redevelopment of the the old Waite's Building at the corner of 7th Avenue South and Richard Arrington Junior Boulevard.   In Memphis, Farm Burger will open at Crosstown Concourse, a Ponce City Market-like redevelopment of a former Sears property originally built in 1927.  The previously announced satellite Farm Burger location within Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is expected to open this summer with Frangos hinting at another Farm Burger location next year in the greater metro Atlanta area.  This past December, Georgia Oak Partners, LLC, made an undisclosed investment in Farm Burger to fuel the restaurant's continued growth.  Georgia Oak previously invested in Your Pie, but their franchised location in The George was reportedly coincidental and not planned or arranged in partnership with Farm Burger, a non- franchised model.      

Following extensive "remolding," the new Krystal on Cobb Parkway is slated to open today.  The new restaurant features an entirely new look, mid-century in design, with an expanded menu.  

Marcello's at Emory Point, which I reported in February was for sale, has not been sold, but has closed.  Sources indicate the restaurant was given "an out" by the center's landlord Cousins Properties, and quietly closed about a week ago.

Pinocchio's Incredible Italian has also closed.  The Italian restaurant, located in the same center as the upcoming Kaiser's Chophouse and Clay's Sports Cafe, opened last spring.  The center, at the corner of Hammond Drive and Roswell Road, is also already home to Jinya Ramen Bar, Cheeseburger Bobby's, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Sunflower Cafe and other tenants, so its closure should ease the center's parking issues, at least in the short run.  

Troubled electronics retailer hhgregg, which last month announced plans to close 88 stores, or 40% of its overall store count, is reportedly struggling to find a buyer for its remaining assets.  A mystery buyer who was lined up last month to buy the company subsequently backed out with the company now scrambling to secure another buyer.  If the company is unsuccessful in finding a buyer, it may be forced to liquidate, possible as soon as this Saturday, April 8th.  

LOFT Outlet, the outlet division of Ann Taylor LOFT, plans to open a new, approximately 6,100 square foot store in Sugarloaf Mills next month.  The store, located in "Neighborhood 2," is next to Neiman Marcus Last Call and replaces the Kenneth Cole outlet which previously closed. This marks LOFT Outlet's fifth location in Georgia following locations in North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawsonville, Calhoun Premium Outlets, The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta in Woodstock and Tanger Outlets in Locust Grove. LOFT Outlet at Sugarloaf Mills joins H&M, also in Neighborhood 2 near Neiman Marcus Last Call, which opened their new, approximately 20,000 square foot store this past February.  

Fleet Feet Sports has closed their Sandy Springs location on Johnson Ferry Road.  The store was located in "The Springs" shopping center, just off Roswell Road, and across from the new City Springs development.  The athletic footwear and apparel retailer continues to operate two other Atlanta area locations in Johns Creek and Lawrenceville.  

Earlier today, Panera Bread was purchased by JAB Holding Co. in a deal valued at $7.5 billion.   The German investment fund will pay $315 per share, a 20% premium over Panera's all-time high closing stock price on March 31st, the last before media reports of the possible acquisition. JAB has been on a carb & caffeine binge over the past few years.   Last year, JAB purchased Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. for $1.35 billion. In recent years, it has bought Caribou Coffee, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc., Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Intelligentsia Coffee.  Ahead of the Panera purchase, JAB was also reportedly in talks to acquire Dunkin' Donuts.  

Struggling footwear retailer Payless ShoeSource filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday with plans to close at least 400 stores.  The company operates 4,400 locations worldwide, with about 40 stores in the greater metro Atlanta area.  

Apple, a company known for making smart, calculated decisions, is making the questionable move of relocating their successful North Point Mall store to phase 2 of Avalon, also in Alpharetta.  The popular electronics retailer is seen a magnet to retail destinations, so they were surely given a lucrative lease, likely better than normal, as they were enticed from North Point, where mall owner GGP has a longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship with them.

Williams Sonoma, a former North Point Mall tenant, is also opening a new store in Avalon.  While there is no doubt that many of the restaurants as well as the movie theater at Avalon do well, retail is another story, according to well-placed industry sources.  Many retailers have reported less than stellar sales at the new mixed use lifestyle center with some, like Gap, reportedly seeing lower sales than experienced in North Point Mall.

Despite Avalon picking off retailers from North Point, the North Point Mall trade area has continued to thrive with a number of new openings both in the mall and in the centers surrounding it.

Tutti Spa & Nails plans to open soon in the former second floor location of Tommy Bahama at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead.  Tommy Bahama relocated last year to a first floor space, adjacent to Nordstrom.  

The Kroger store at Mountain View Village shopping center on 78 in Snellville is expected to close May 9th.  The approximately 59,000 square foot store opened in 1987 and has been renovated a number of times and also saw the addition of a Kroger Fuel Center years ago. Kroger says the decision was made to close the store due to "declining sales."  The next closest Kroger store is about six miles north on Scenic Highway near The Shoppes at Webb Gin.  

Bacchanalia and Star Provisions Market & CafĂ© make their Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard  debut today. The popular restaurants relocated from Westside Provisions where  "Little Star Provisions to Go" will continue to serve lunch and dinner options Monday through Saturday.  Owners Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison also operate W.H. Stiles Fish Camp in Ponce City Market and Floatway Cafe on Zonolite Road near Emory University.  Floataway, which opened in 1998, seems to be to be the odd man out and is currently on deal site Groupon, often an early indicator of a restaurant's demise (i.e. The Luninary).


Sadlebred said...

There are more LOFT Outlet locations including Woodstock and Calhoun.

vespajet said...

Actually, the nearest Kroger to the one that is closing is on GA-124 at Everson Road.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Apple is leaving North Point. It'll force them to finally renovate North Point and keep them on their toes.

Unknown said...

Look likes Avalon is starting to slow down and brust.....

Anonymous said...

I think Apple moving is a big loss to Northpoint. Sad to see it happen.

Stacy said...

Northpoint not only needs updating, but really needs more restaurants. The only sit down places are CPK and Cheesecake Factory, and neither are actually in the mall, just on the mall property. The area right by the mall in general could really use more mid-priced sit down places.

swishyhair said...

I've been hearing quite a bit about the Avalon's parking situation, which does sound like it is driving away customers. However, considering the decline North Point has experienced over the last five years, it's no surprise Apple is leaving for the sexier Avalon. They've been relocating many of their stores to newer developments over the last few years, and there's no doubt they got very favorable lease terms to relocate. I'm assuming that Lucky Brand and Pottery Barn are also relocating and not maintaining their North Point stores.

Avalon has/will have a few vacancies soon, with the disappearances of BCBGMaxAzria and Calypso St. Barth. The real test, and a very interesting one at that, will be seeing how they backfill that space.

Anonymous said...

the employees at the closing kroger are telling customers that things with the landlord aren't good, and their lease didn't renew as the landlord supposively sees something different.

Anonymous said...

That Kroger on US 78 is a dump and has been in a declining state for years. The area has changed dramatically plus there is a Walmart Neighborhood Market a few miles down the road that is much better to stop at on your way home from work. I wouldn't listen to anything those employees are telling customers unless they are telling the truth that the place is a trash heap and sales are bad.

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