Thursday, October 9, 2008

Goodwill Thrift Store, Nice Store, Wrong Place


I can usually handle the influx of e-mail but today my inbox exploded with the topic of the Kroger Corporation thinking about leasing the old Harris Teeter grocery / Ace Home Place Hardware store at Jett Ferry Rd and Mount Vernon to Goodwill Industries for what I am guessing would be a large retail store.

My family has donated to Goodwill (locations) since I was a little boy and believe they do wonderful work but I like many members of the community envisioned a much different store to anchor that shopping mall. I would love to see a specialty food store there like Whole Foods or Trader Joes but with Kroger controlling the lease, they would never allow such a store to compete with the Kroger store across the street.

We all know that the building at that location was build to be a grocery store yet I believe that Kroger will refuse to put a competitor into the space so they are stuck without a viable solution other than something less than ideal for what the community envisions for the property.

Let's help Kroger out. Does anyone have a viable solution to the problem that would also benefit the community? If I remember correctly the property always stayed lit and open whenever the power grid went down all around them, therefore the store definitely has something going for it. Besides basic retail, I believe a quality bookstore would do well at the location or maybe the YMCA could see it as the perfect Dunwoody location? There has to be a better solution than the rumored fall back solution of a dollar store!

Ms. Tamika Grooms of Kroger Marketing said that she will be handling all calls and emails regarding the property. She will compile them and turn them over to the real estate managers who will pass them on to Mr. Bruce Lucia, President of the Atlanta Division of Kroger who will be making the final decision. Please email your concerns to: tamika.grooms@kroger.com

Tamika N. Grooms
Real Estate Department
2175 Parklake Drive
Atlanta , Georgia 30345
770-496-7431 (O)
770-496-7586 (F)
tamika.grooms@kroger.com

28 comments:

themommy said...

Really? Besides the mentioned specialty food stores, what does this community want there? A Saks Fifth Avenue, a Nordstroms, what?

It isn't that nice of a shopping center. It is kind of a dump. With the exception of the ladies' dress store and the framing store, it isn't particularly high end. In fact it never has been for the over 20 years I have been in Dunwoody. (keep in mind that there is a consignment store at the bottom)

In the last 12 hours I have heard from an equal number of Dunwoody residents who would like a Goodwill there. It would be so convenient to make donations there. As one friend said, though, she would be afraid to buy clothes there for fear they had been donated by a neighbor.

Right now, there is a whole bunch of empty retail space sprinkled about Dunwoody. Depending on who you believe, with the economy the way it it, you can expect more, not less. Very few businesses are expanding right now. (By the way, Trader Joe's has repeatedly said they won't put a store in Dunwoody, because it is is to close to its other locations.) In fact, some experts predict many retail businesses might not survive through the holidays!

Goodwill stores are always clean, well lit and well maintained. Frankly, you can't say the same for empty space.

Pattie Baker said...

Just a quick note for those of you who haven't visited the Atlantis Health Food Store that is in that shopping center. It is one of the best. The folks who work there are absolute experts as well as wonderfully nice and interesting people. Plus, the store has one of the largest selections of gluten-free products in all of Atlanta. It is a treasure.

I also hear great things about the new owner of that little salon. And, for the record, I have had nothing but good experiences at CVS.

Finally, this shopping center is walkable and bikable for me, and as such, is an incredibly important component in a sustainable lifestyle. I don't need over-packaged Trader Joe's there.

themommy said...

Pattie

What is more sustainable that using a thrift store to make purchases? In the AJC this weekend there was an article about a high end furniture consignment store where Laura Turner Sydell (Ted's daughter) shops, in part because it is economically responsible.

The health food store and salon are perfectly fine as is the CVS but the way people are reacting to the possible relocation of Goodwill indicates to me that they think much to highly of both the shopping center and perhaps themselves.

Just saying...

I am guessing that Goodwill won't be up for the fight and the building will sit empty for a long time. Remember there is no money being loaned for business expansion. I am guessing that Goodwill is self sustaining!

Ilovemykids said...

What's wrong with putting a Goodwill store in that location? I've been to the Goodwill store near Roswell. It's nice, clean and well taken care of. There are worst choices for a retail establishment than a well-know reputable charity organization - you know like say, adult bookstores

themommy said...

Whoops not economically responsible (though it is), environmentally responsible is what I meant to say.

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell said...

Is it at all possible that the property owner might have any property rights left, or have we all gone socialist? Seems like there is an owner and zoning and the owner should be able to do anything with the property consistent with the current zoning.

Ellen Fix said...

You go, Goodwill! There's a goodwill store on Peachtree Parkway at 141 that's packed with great bargains and I love the idea of one right here. Economically AND environmentally responsible choice.

Dunwoody, you need to get over yourself.

Rick said...

This issue is starting to take shape like the 'steam car wash' debate did a couple of years ago. Although not the nicest looking thing around the steam car wash at Mt Vernon & Cham Dun gets my business.

If Goodwill does open they could have a special section for kids' school clothes. All the Vanderlyn parents could donate/purchase the school uniforms there. Maybe a special rack for the 4th & 5th grade academy.

happy said...

I went to the Goodwill in Sandy Springs on Wednesday and I had to wait in line behind 4 other cars to donate. Then I went in and it was packed. I didn't get to look at everything I wanted because the store was so crowded. I think we need another Goodwill in the area and I would appreciate it being closer than Sandy Springs.

GMS said...

There is a Goodwill store in the Spalding Woods shopping center at Spalding and Holcomb Bridge about 3 miles from the proposed site. www.goodwill.org

Ilovemykids said...

I believe the Spalding Woods site is a donation center only - no store.

Ellen Fix said...

Yes, "ilovemykids", you're right. And the actual Goodwill store I mentioned before is at Spalding Drive at Peachtree Parkway, not 141 at Peachtree Parkway (these are the same road).

Heyward said...

With the economy going the way it is, we might all need a little Goodwill.

DunNorthResident said...

Lets not play coy here. I think the residents of Dunwoody do not want the clientele that a Goodwill location would attract. I think we ALL prefer they stay over in SS or up on 141 do do their thrift shopping. I already get annoyed with the mexicans driving around my neighborhood aimlessly looking for yard sales to stock their 2 bedroom apartment in Doraville with 7 couches and 12 beds.

Ilovemykids said...

Let's not let this get out of hand. Do you all remember the Mount Vernon car wash fiasco? It was a black eye toward the citizens of Dunwoody. We don't need that again. There are bigger and more important issues that face Dunwoody than a Goodwill store opening up in our city. Let's not give our opponents further ammunition.

DunwoodyParent said...

ilovemykids,

We have no outside opponents now that we are our own city. As Savage says, "Our enemy is within".

Jogger said...

And the enemy is bigots like dunnorthresident.

Bob Fiscella said...

The comments by dunnorthresident are unacceptable. That is not the Dunwoody I envision, nor a place where I want to live. If you want to see what a Goodwill store can and does look like - click on or paste the link: http://www.whatcombetterskills.org/Providers.htm

DunwoodyParent said...

lighten up, Bob. Don't throw a 'For Sale' sign up in your yard tonight because some Internet hack posts a comment that doesn't sit well with some people. If the troll continues to post inappropriately I'm sure John will bounce him.

DSM said...

Maybe "dunnorthresident" could build a wall around Dunwoody and demand to see everyone's W2s before entering. You could also check race as well...kill two birds with one stone. I think you would do a great job...let me be the first to nominate you as F├╝hrer of Dunwoody.

Charles said...

Maybe I'm just naturally curious, but one aspect of gaining cityhood that I love is the opportunity to gain knowledge about Dunwoody that has up to now, through no conscious malice, been buried in the files of DeKalb County. That knowledge includes the level and type of needs that exist.

Like all communities, no doubt there are those on fixed, limited or inconsistent incomes who are unable to make ends meet from time to time and need occasional help, for many reasons. It could be inaccurate to assume that all is well and I'm curious about why Goodwill might be attracted to a Dunwoody location, regardless of the exact spot. What do they know about our community that perhaps I don't?

One thing that usually holds true is that if we remain ignorant, whatever needs exist may continue to go under-addressed, and possibly grow, potentially resulting in the need for public investments.

Simply put, another viewpoint is that this is yet another golden opportunity for community dialogue and education that can only reap rewards in the long-run. I encourage the Council to go beyond the superficial question of whether there ought be a certain type of private retail outlet in a specific location, and engage the community in how we organize to help each other and sustain ourselves.

I sincerely appreciate the leaders who have provided us with a City and the leaders who continue to open our eyes to these issues.

Charlie Collins

themommy said...

John

Why do you think this is not a good idea? Or is it simply because some of your constituents don't want it? (Which is fine as well, you are an elected official.)

If Goodwill is the only viable tenant at this time -- and I am not saying that it is -- but play along for a moment, and it could be years before another tenant is found, do you prefer empty to Goodwill?

John Heneghan said...

Wow, as you can see by the number comments, this is an emotionally charged political football on several levels that most politicians wouldn’t dare discuss. I received a number of e-mails asking for my help to publicize the story and try to stop Kroger from leasing to Goodwill. Knowing from my e-mail that the residents (who probably live very close to the store) were against Goodwill, I decided to tell the story to ask the community to help Kroger find an alternative that may satisfy the immediate neighbors and therefore preserve their “Mayberry Fantasy”.

If Goodwill were planning to move into a Dunwoody location on Winters Chapel, Shallowford or into the Georgetown Shopping Center, do you think the reaction would have been the same? Perception of the community probably changes quickly depending on the location.
Kroger has the right to lease to Goodwill, the zoning law clearly allows it. The immediate neighbors have a right to voice their concerns and Kroger being a good neighbor wants to be receptive to the wishes of the community. I was just attempting to raise the issue to inform the community of the situation so that you and others could also participate in the process. Yes, mommy I agree with you that I would hate to see the location vacant for years and I look forward to seeing what the final outcome will be.

Ellen Fix said...

This Goodwill Store controversy reminds me of when the Wayfield Foods and Family Dollar opened on Winters Chapel, some years ago, down the road from my subdivision. A neighbor told me that this signaled the downfall of the neighborhood and he promptly sold his house and moved his family to East Cobb. Since that time, some lovely clusters and townhomes have been built up and down Winters Chapel and the area has not fallen to waste. Sure, the area has a ways to go, the center isn't aesthetic and the parking lot has remained neither an ecologically sensitive nor attractive use of land. But I'm glad these stores were not fought like, apparently, the Dunwoody Goodwill store is. We love the convenience and low prices of these stores and we appreciate the option of shopping there instead of Kroger and CVS -- despite the fact that we are (knock on wood) not in dire financial need. One might compare it to shopping at WalMart or Cosco. By the way: I highly recommend to everyone the produce department at Wayfield; the stuff is way fresher and way less expensive than Kroger! (Maybe that's why it's called "Wayfield".)

Kim Gokce said...

How about a Hobby Lobby? Surely children of native/immigrant, and well-off/not-so-well-off parents could use the distraction while their parents argue about who should live and shop in Dunwoody.

I'll take a Goodwill here in Brookhaven across from the MARTA Station. Kroger tried a high end antique mart but that didn't last a year. With their Cherokee Plaza location within one block, they won't lease to another grocer, of course.

Listen to us! Brookhaven and Dunwoody fighting over who gets the next Goodwill store. My! The times ... :)

Ilovemykids said...

Kim, I'm thinking that Hobby Lobby is not "upscale" enough for some. Besides there is a Michael's a few miles down the road. But, I'm sure that say, a Saks 5th Avenue outlet might be acceptable.

Ilovemykids said...

Well, it seems that Kroger folded to the loud-mouth Dunwoody faction and decided against leasing this store to Goodwill. How sad that our community continues its misguided and "un-Christian" effort to keep "undesirables" from the Dunwoody Community.

How sad, so very sad and shameful.

John Heneghan said...

Crier Article of 10/21/2008, Kroger pulls Goodwill store plan