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Publix on Memorial Drive in Stone Mountain To Close Jan. 9

A spokeswoman told Patch the store in the Memorial Bend shopping center has been under-performing for years.

Updated 1/9/12: The Publix store is closing at 7 p.m., Jan. 9, not 10 p.m. as was originally stated by Publix.

After 17 years in business, the Publix supermarket in the Memorial Bend shopping center on Memorial Drive is closing.

"We have made plans to close the Memorial Drive store on January 9 at 10 p.m., at the end of business that day, because the store has been for quite some time under-performing," said Brenda Reid, media and community relations manager for Publix.

"Our management team has been notified and all interested parties who would like to continue working with Publix will be given the opportunity to transfer to another store," Reid said.

Updated 12/4: Brenda Reid, media and community relations manager for Publix, told Patch this week that the company's decision was not because of the new Walmart. "This [under-performing] has been going on for several years," she said.

The store, which opened in 1995, has 85 associates, she said.

"It's a tragedy that we're losing a good, quality grocery store, said Vernell Kimbrough, a resident of nearby Hearthstone and president of the Hearthstone Community Club."Hopefully there will be another anchor that recognizes the potential in this neighborhood."

"It's like they're leaving without warning," he said.

After getting confirmation about the closing, Kimbrough alerted residents via e-mail on Friday.

In an e-mail to several DeKalb County commissioners and CEO Burrell Ellis, resident Jan Dunaway, board member of the grassroots community group Pride Rings in Stone Mountain, expressed concern about how the , may have impacted Publix's decision:

This loss will leave Memorial Drive with NO grocery stores from Columbia Drive to North Hairston which will have a great impact for those without transportation.  Memorial Drive will also have another large empty store which is just what we need.  I do not consider the opening of one store economic development if it forces the closure of others.  What are the County and our elected officials doing to prevent other businesses from leaving? Is the County having regular conversation with Kroger or Office Depot to determine their long term plans and asking what can be done to maintain our existing businesses?

If the community cannot support a Publix, will the community be able to support a Walmart?  It appears that Walmart puts more than just Mom and Pop stores at risk so we need to be proactive in preventing the demise of other stores along our continuing to decline corridor.

For updates to this story, check back with Patch, "like" us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

What do you think about the Memorial Drive Publix closing? Tell us in the comments section below.

Tammy December 04, 2012 at 03:29 PM
I remember back in the 1980's that shopping center had a huge fire in a shuttered grocery store. I also remember going to the Lionel Playworld in that center as well as the Oz Records and a Chuck E Cheese Pizza Place. I'm sure they'll find a new tenant.
Pablo G December 04, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Mr. Bedrin is after the almighty dollar. He supports the community when it makes him money and fights it if they threaten his profits.
Peach December 04, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Well said, April.
Alex December 05, 2012 at 12:56 PM
I am enraged. I remember that Publix being built. It was the first "nice" store down the street from my mother's house. There is a Walmart less than 10 minutes away. The Publix is always kept clean, they have respected us and anytime my mother has had a problem with something being out of stock, which has been few and far between, that product has never been out of stock again. I do not shop at Wal-Mart. Their values are selling plastic trash, from the food to cutlery and clothing, and I cannot believe the people of Stone Mountain are putting up with this. Is this new news or have I missed on months of protest? What can be done? It is shameful, in Stone Mountain we have no Whole Foods, Starbucks or Trader Joe's, no Caribou Coffee, hardly a boutique or specialty shop as there are in northern suburbs, and I am sick of having to spend my money on employees and business that do not contribute to our community. This Wal-Mart must be boycotted! Publix should not be shut down, it can be renovated. Stone Mountain already looks like a lost town compared to other suburbs, Publix shone in my eyes, it was the only place I go to that is larger-scale, because that's really all we have that's nice, and I'm proud of that. If anyone has information on how to at least try to stop this or find more information please post.
Judith December 05, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I don't understand...the landlord of the Publix mentioned in this article is the owner of a lot in my town, Hawthorne NJ where he's fighting TO OPEN a Walmart Marketplace!!!
Judith December 05, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Very true Pablo...he's fighting with the residents of my town, Hawthorne NJ to open a Walmart Marketplace! We're fighting it with everything we have!
James D. Kimberlin December 05, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Jerry your use of the word "I" clearly shows you know very little of Grass Roots support, so here is a Primer. Grass Roots do not use "I", they use the word "WE". examples being, "We the People of these United States...", "We oppose Walmart because...", "We want a better place for our kids!", 'We support our local businesses". It's not hard Jerry, well not for most of us anyway, it's as simple as thinking of others, sharing your time and doing whats best for a community. It is not about chasing the "Almighty Dollar" and/or forcing an unwanted business upon a community. It IS about what is BEST for a community, not what is best for you. For the sake of the community and the 100 odd employees and only for their sake, I hope a new supermarket does move in. Losing ANY local business to a Walmart is a horrible thing.
Cb December 06, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Has this turned into the Hawthorne NJ Patch?
Leslie Johnson December 06, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Hi Cb, it's still Stone Mountain-Lithonia Patch! We've still got a good discussion here about the Publix on Memorial Drive closing. Stay tuned for a follow-up.
Leslie Johnson December 06, 2012 at 05:52 AM
Folks in Hawthorne: You may contact Zak Koeske, editor of Fair Lawn-Saddle Brook Patch, about the Walmart Neighborhood Market plans in your town: zak.koeske@patch.com
Tomathy December 06, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Publix is a business. If a store is underperforming, it has a right to close. You will have to find another place to shop.
bren davis December 06, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Give me breath! You all are actually haggling about Public closing(?)... as if there are no other options! Kroger is a very good option! Prices that really save you money... FRESH , 'quality meats' and produce! As for Food Depo... Just research and consider where you find this chain of markets. I won't shop there. Has anyone out there heard of, or shopped at WHOLE FOOD MARKETS ?! These stores would truly change the landscape of our neighborhoods and express the quality that we DESERVE and expect! As for shoplifters .. Upgrade your security and seriously prosicute.
Marguerite Girard December 07, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Here's what the majority of these comments is overlooking: 1. Publix is the ONLY DECENT grocery store within 5-10 miles of the Memorial corridor. The Kroger at N. Hairston is a breeding ground for criminals. I speak from experience. 2. We are in GEORGIA not NEW JERSEY!!!!!! 3. There are some other stores, Sav-A-Lot (no thanks) and Save-Rite (I call it "the crap store"), otherwise, we have to drive to Decatur or Lavista for decent shopping. We must STOP expecting others to fix our problems, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and GET CRACKING making an impact ANYWHERE we can be heard! And yes, Publix is a for-profit company, but still, if more folks shopped there, their revenue would show it. I get the business decision, but why can't we band together and CHANGE THAT???????????? Let's be heard!
Bonnie December 07, 2012 at 01:49 AM
The Wal Mart in Avondales Estates is a tremendous improvement over the old Avondale Mall. I am looking forward to seeing the Walmart @ Memorial & Hairston replace the abandoned auto dealership. I do wonder, however, whether we can support a Wal Mart. We couldn't seem to support the Big Lots across the street!
J. Robinson December 09, 2012 at 04:09 AM
I think Publix should give us [the Memorial Bend consumers] some time, at least a few months, to work on improving the store's business. I stop in there 2-3 times a week and the store is always full, so I can't fathom that the store is "under performing"... but I don't keep the books. Clearly, there are a lot of people disappointed that the store is closing so I think now that people are aware of the impact this will have on our community, if given the chance, people will shop there and save the store. Okay, Walmart is coming, but Publix is our community store and I think due to its location and accessibility, many people will still shop there vs. Walmart. Publix, please consider giving our community a few months to rally together and if you do not see the change, THEN do what you have to do, but it's not fair that we only had a months notice of this and no chance to fight for our store.
Truthful December 16, 2012 at 10:23 PM
I'm a Former business owner in Memorial Bend, Mr. Bedrin is a good & thoughtful landlord , he tries his best to run a good center Problems - homeless ( many drug addicts) hang out in center parking lot, shoplifting is unbelievable in this center, Dekalb police are terrible , it's location is its worst problem
Joe Kenfal December 21, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Such a tragedy to lose this quality business on Memorial Drive. With two Walmart Stores, why not change the name to Walmart Drive. Moved to Dekalb about eight years ago. Loved my house and community; hate Memorial Drive! Shabby, unsightly businesses, imposing-massive jail complex (on what could be prime commercial, residential real estate). Quick suggestions... ("pipe dreaming"): 1. Move the jail 2. Buy out all the businesses that block the college along Memorial Drive. Show the school! Many people don't know it's there. 3. Bulldoze large tracts of car dealerships, check cashing/lottery/cheap hotels/motels, thrift stores....etc. Encourage eateries (a step above that Applebies) to the area. It's a shame that such a busy corridor can't be financially successful. Gotta go...on may way to Perimeter ...to shop!
Peach January 09, 2013 at 07:53 PM
So today's the day. The end of an era, at least at Memorial Bend. Sad. Thanks for the update, Leslie.
Sue January 09, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Very sad to see Publix go. I don't really like Kroger on Hairston, and I don't find Walmart all that exciting either. I don't know what should go in place of Publix. I'd hate to see anymore auto parts stores, chicken wing restaurants, Dollar Stores etc. The area just keeps getting shabbier over the years. I'd love to see some coffee shops, decent clothing and shoe stores, I would also like to see the Stone Mountain/Clarkston area promote its diverse ethnic culture. Get all the "foodies" in Atlanta to come out here and spend money. I've had Nepalese, Bosnian, Eritrean food here, and it's fantastic! I go to a local bakery for tandoori nan bread, eat momos at Kathmandu Grill, all reasonably priced, and very filling. Maybe a Farmer's Market would be the way to go here. Lots of variety, good fresh produce, and a place for local merchants to sell their "specialties" like baked goods.
Leslie Johnson January 09, 2013 at 11:28 PM
You're welcome, Peach!
Leslie Johnson January 09, 2013 at 11:36 PM
How I'd love to see something akin to Your DeKalb Farmer's Market in the space. But YDFM is less than 4 miles away.
Yvette January 10, 2013 at 05:56 PM
While I hate to see Publix leave this location, I do understand that as a business it needs to make a profit. About five years ago I complained to a store manager that no one was asking to take my cart to my vehicle. She told me that they did not have the sales to warrant having more people on staff. Needless to say this surprised me as it seemed the store was always full. She explained to me that it is full a lot times but unfortunately people are only spending $30/40, not doing large shopping carts like the Publix in Tucker where people are spending $200/300 a cart. She said lots of people come in for a bag of sugar, a sandwich from the deli, etc. but not real shopping. This made me think. Sometimes we think the grass is greener on the other side, my husband is a good example. He feels that without a doubt the Publix in Tucker is better while I feel they are about the same so why not support your own neighborhood?
Ricco January 10, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Im not suprised, this is nothing new, I grew up in the area in the 90s and since then, probably before, it continues to decline, I remeber a number of top brand business throughout stone mountain and South Dekalb, Remeber the Target off Covington Hwy?? Avondale mall?? heck alot of Memorial Drive?! ya know the Atrium and Tupac Center was Movie theatres? and car dealers? the Old kroger(by rays/Hambrick roads) and Kmart? well i could go on but this is nothing new and probably dude to the decline of the community that lives in sadly.
Ricco January 10, 2013 at 08:38 PM
I agree with some of the comments, Businesses will go where the Money is, so the Publix closing should tell alot of folks that the area is not money worthy. I wonder if Ingles is still open(the one off hairston/rockbridge)
Ricco January 10, 2013 at 08:43 PM
@ deonte i wish this site had a Like button or a star or 1+ your post deserves it. Im not mad at walmart but Im concerned that walmart is popping up like crazy in the last 5 yrs.. i remeber when the Avondale mall and the Howell mill Walmart, and gresham roads Built only months to a year apart of each other. before you would think Walmart would be for the rural communities.
Joe Bentley January 13, 2013 at 02:01 AM
Laura, you are absolutely right! I've heard too many local folks, who live along the Memorial Drive Corridor, say that they shop near their places of work or as Mr. Kenfal above said, at The Perimeter - and then complain that the businesses on Memorial Drive are leaving. WE need to shop in OUR community. I buy everything I need as locally as possible, and our neighborhood (Dunaire) has organized a monthly "Dunaire Dines Out" event to support local restaurants. If you aren't supporting your community businesses, you have no right to complain when your community businesses abandon you.
JJ January 14, 2013 at 04:50 PM
I think Aldi would be a good fit.....
Peach January 14, 2013 at 07:35 PM
I agree. Aldi's fits the neighborhood, prices are low, and they carry a lot of everything. Their prices continue to beat all the others, including walmart. One problem is that their stores are pretty small and would not fit the space left by Publix.
Leslie Johnson January 14, 2013 at 09:08 PM
That's what I was thinking, Peach -- they'd have to make that space way smaller for Aldi's.
Helena clemons January 15, 2013 at 01:35 AM
I recommend an Aldi store, I think a lot of people loved shopping at sav a lot. Aldi is jus a higher end version. They have great products, a clean store and great prices. Which will be good for this demographic. I ran to sav a lot all the time and I always do my big shopping at Aldi

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