Friday, September 14, 2018

Bonus Bits & Bites

FOCUS Brands Thursday closed on its $200 million purchase of Frisco,Texas-based Jamba Juice.  The juice and smoothie chain was started in 1990 and today operates over 800 locations nationwide with a handful in Georgia including those in Decatur, Buckhead, Sandy Springs and East Cobb, as well as licensed locations in Turner Food Market at Turner Broadcasting in Midtown and at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  The company previously operated locations in Alpharetta as well as on the campus of Spelman College and within the Whole Foods Market in Sandy Springs.  Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands, owned by Atlanta based Roark Capital Group, already encompasses a number of franchise concepts including Moe's Southwest Grill, McAlister's Deli, Auntie Anne's, Schlotzsky's, Cinnabon and Carvel.  

The Original Hot Dog Factory recently paid to install a series of billboards in Buckhead and Sandy Springs  (and perhaps elsewhere around metro Atlanta) promoting both their catering options as well as their expansion into franchising.  The local company has just two locations thus far, the original on Spring Road in Smyrna which opened in 2010, and the newest, on Piedmont Avenue near Georgia State University, which opened earlier this year in the former Slice pizza space.  Business partners Felicia Atkinson and Denis McKinley purchased the business in 2016 and are responsible for the brand's current theme and tweaked menu.

Casi Cielo opened last week at Modera Sandy Springs on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs.  The new “chef driven Oaxacan” Mexican restaurant was created by the owners of popular Mexican restaurant La Parrilla. 

Quick-serve Thai franchise Thai Express will no longer be opening new restaurants in West Midtown Center or Peachtree Corners Town Center, and their current Atlanta outpost at Decatur Crossing may not be long for this world. The Decatur location, which opened this past March, has a newly improved overall rating of two and a half stars on, with multiple reviewers citing strange smells, bad tasting food and poor service.   

Amoco has returned to metro Atlanta with a location in the West End.  The new Amoco replaced a former Shell station on Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard and Langhorn Street.  BP merged with Amoco in late 1998 and by mid-2000, the company began to rebrand all stations as "BP Connect."  Last fall BP revealed plans to reintroduce the Amoco branding to "select U.S. markets."  A release by the company then said of the decision, "BP consumer research found that the Amoco brand still resonates with many American consumers, and that both it and the BP brand appeal to similar audiences."  

Curry Up Now has signed on to open at North Decatur Square on North Decatur Road near Decatur and with its addition, the new Whole Foods Market 365 anchored center is now 100 percent leased.  Curry Up Now will occupy a 2,200 square foot space along Church Street that was previously leased to Takorea. (ToNeTo Atlanta reported in May that Takorea cancelled their plans for the new restaurant.)   Sources say this will be the first Curry Up Now to open in metro Atlanta, but that franchisee Hemant Suri has plans for more in the coming months/years.  Suri sold Midtown Tavern earlier this year, after which ToNeTo Atlanta reported that he was bringing the Indian franchise to metro Atlanta. 

Yeah! Burger is officially not opening at Buckhead Exchange on Peachtree in Buckhead, and its 3,150 square foot space is currently being finished out to make it more appealing to would be tenants.  ToNeTo Atlanta first reported on the planned Buckhead Yeah! Burger in 2015.  Yeah Burger previously vacated a lease it had in the new Peachtree Station development in Chamblee.  Breakfast and lunch eatery First Watch has since opened in the space earmarked for Yeah! Burger in Chamblee. 

Parent company L Brands announced Thursday it's closing the Henri Bendel website and all of its 23 stores, including the brand's iconic Fifth Avenue location in New York, in January 2019 because of sluggish sales.  In metro Atlanta, Henri Bendel operates just one location, at Lenox Square, which opened in late 2011.  Henri Bendel is one of the oldest retailers having been founded by Henri Bendel in 1895.  L Brands, owner of such mall mainstays as Victorica's Secret, Pink and Bath & Body Works, purchased Henri Bendel in 1985 and later exanded it to eleven states but also eliminated apparel and focused on private label merchandise.  

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