Friday, February 7, 2020

[EXCLUSIVE] Goodwill Opening Third Sandy Springs Store, Shami Kitchen Returning

Goodwill of North Georgia has secured space for what will be its third thrift store in Sandy Springs.  The new store, slated to occupy about 30,000 square feet at Northridge shopping center, opens in place of about two thirds of the former Kroger store, according to permits filed with the City of Sandy Springs.  Kroger closed its Northridge store in late 2017 after about 35 years in operation.  Goodwill is currently hiring for their new store and should be open by spring, according to job postings and a source familiar with the company's plans. 
The new  store joins existing Sandy Springs area locations on Roswell and Abernathy Roads and on Perimeter Center West next to REI.  The Roswell and Abernathy store occupies a one time Staples while the Perimeter Center West store is a former Circuit City.  The new Northridge store is about four miles from the Roswell and Abernathy store and about five miles from the Perimeter Center West store.  

Keith Parker became CEO and President of MARTA in 2012 and is credited with turning around the mass transit agency that ahead of his arrival, was reportedly on the brink of insolvency. 

Parker stepped down from MARTA in late 2017 to become CEO and President of Goodwill Industries of North Georgia. 

In recent months, Parker has also instituted several new policies and procedures at Goodwill likely intended to increase profitability at the stores, but which have ultimately taken away from the "treasure hunt" experience the stores previously provided.  Among the changes, most visible at the new Buford store, are things like dollar store-esque merchandise seemingly purchased specifically for sale in the "thrift" store, and also the selling of snacks, food and drinks.  Additionally, basically all donated jewelry, handbags or other designer goods worth anything, never make it to the sales floor, as they are instead sold through other channels where the store is able to get [it hopes] more money per piece.  Most, if not all, jewelry available in store is again merchandise specifically purchased by the company for sale in the store and is all the same maker: Taramanda.  

It is this "watering down" of the merchandise mix that has ultimately allowed for the company to both open new stores and [likely] increase revenue.  In 2019, Goodwill of North Georgia opened four new stores: Atlanta, Decatur, Buford and Duluth.  The Decatur store, located in a former Publix, is just over four miles from the existing store on Flat Shoals Parkway.  The Buford store, officially referred to as the Mall of Georgia store, occupies much of a former Toys R Us,  and is less than three miles from the Buford store on Buford Highway.  

On its website, Goodwill of North Georgia indicates that it operates 64 stores and 54 attended donation centers.  

Shami Kitchen, which opened when the Kroger was still operating in the Northridge center and closed about a year after the Kroger left, is reopening.  The restaurant will celebrate a "grand opening" on Saturday February 8, according to posts on Facebook and Instagram.   The fast casual Mediterranean eatery originally opened July 2017  but "closed for good" November 2018.   

The eatery occupied a 3,150 square foot space and was opened by Abe Molla of Westside Market.  Hassan Kanaan, who according to his Facebook, previously owned "Lebanese Bistro" in Edinburg, Texas, is the new owner of Shami Kitchen.   The word “Shami” translates to “native of Damascus” - true of both Molla and Kanaan. 

The new Shami Kitchen will reportedly be very similar to the prior iteration, with the exception of a few new menu items.  

Norcross-based real estate firm Safeway Group, Inc. purchased the Northridge shopping center in February 2019 for $8.3 million, according to Fulton County property records.  Northridge was last sold in 2007 for $11.6 million, property records say.  According to the Safeway website, the firm specializes in centers with 30-50% vacancy rates and currently owns about 30 centers, about 20 of which are in Georgia. 

With luck, the reopening of Shami Kitchen and opening of Goodwill are only the start of good things to come for the center.  

Are you pleased to see Goodwill open a new store in the former Kroger space?  Have you noticed the "new Goodwill" in recent visits to local stores?  Are you looking forward to the reopening of Shami Kitchen?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

Well I know I'll be donating to thrifts from now on. ��

Anonymous said...

I know it is becoming more business-like, and I know that they really do offer lots of job training and support, but is Goodwill of N. Georgia a non-profit organization any more? Everyone writes off the donations ....

greenie said...

Is Goodwill still a nonprofit organization?

Patrick said...

Well, it's better than getting a Family Dollar in that space. But just barely. Would have been better to see an aggressive grocery like Food Depot come in, or even Lidl.

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