Dollar General Coming to Oakhurst?

The rumor that Dollar General is moving into the old NAVO/Big H space in Oakhurst has been floating around for a while, but the reliable WriterChad seems to have a pretty good source that the chatter is indeed true.

From a Free-For-All Friday comment

Pretty wife was power-walking with a galfriend and a Dollar General corporate dude stopped and asked for directions. The address he was looking for was the Big H.

512 thoughts on “Dollar General Coming to Oakhurst?”

  1. Great. ‘Cause what I need at my house is more cheap crap… I was really hoping for some type of neighborhood food market.

  2. Yuck! I would rather the building stay vacant. I have personally never shopped at one, and I doubt I will start now. It will increase neighborhood traffic and become a new type of eyesore. And I doubt the clientele it attracts will be inclined to shop or dine at any of our other local establishments. It’s definitely not the kind of business that the neighborhood wanted to anchor our little downtown. Although I’m sure some thrifty neighbors will welcome it, I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority of Oakhurst residents will not consider this a step in the right direction or an asset to the neighborhood. I wonder if there is anything that can be done to stop it?

    For some reason it reminds me of the guy in Dunwoody who couldn’t get a variance to sub-divide his lot and so painted his house obnoxious Florida Gator colors and started raising farm animals on it.

    1. I’m with you. I’d rather the building stay vacant. Maybe we should stage a sit-in for a Trader Joe’s… 😛

        1. Ha ha! My favorite quote from that article:
          “A Trader Joe’s brings with it good jobs, and its presence in your community is like an affirmation that you and your neighbors are worldly and smart.”

        2. This is my favorite line:

          the typical shopper is the “Volvo-driving professor who could be CEO of a Fortune 100 company if he could get over his capitalist angst.”

  3. I think its great. Trader Joe’s is not going to happen – and I doubt a local market could survive in that big of a space. Dollar General is not the same as the dollar stores you see everywhere. And there is a segment (rather large I would guess) of the Oakhurst population (me included) who will welcome the store to the neighborhood.

  4. Cool. Now I don’t have to drive so far to get my blueberry muffin-tops cereal fix.

    Seriously, if this location has such great potential, some other retailer would have been renting it a long time ago. Dollar General targets the value-conscious shopper, but the company has been experimenting with different formats and stocking different lines of products. It’s not going to sell foie gras, but it will tailor its products to capture customers from the more afffluent Oakhurst neighborhood.

    And to Harpua, when you start your comment with “Yuck! I would rather the building stay vacant. I have personally never shopped at one, and I doubt I will start now.” , your prejudice (meaning pre-judgement) really shows. No point trying to convince you that Dollar General may not be the first sign of the apocalypse.

    And give up on your pipe dream of Trader Joe’s coming into that space. First strike is just imagine the traffic gridlock on East Lake.

    1. Not to get a whole Trader Joe’s debate started..ahem..but I have thought about this topic a lot and the only Decatur location that has the traffic flow that TJ’s needs is Suburban Plaza (I’m not considering the mini Kroger location, because Kroger isn’t going anywhere), but I do not believe the demographics in that area are what they are looking for.
      Personally, I think Trader Joe’s is overrated. I, for one, would not wish to trade the mini Kroger for it, but I wouldn’t mind it in Suburban Plaza. That said, I do not think it will happen unless that shopping center is completely renovated, and in this economy I’d be shocked if that happened.
      Rather than Trader Joe’s, I’d prefer more arts and entertainment options; we already have plenty of food options nearby.

      1. But there’s a Trader Joe’s right there in Midtown, not that far from Decatur. Why would they establish one so close to the other one?

        1. I think the Midtown location is a little far with too much traffic for most of us provincial Decaturites to shop. I only shop there when I’m seeing something at the Landmark Theater anyway But whether the provincial Decatur crowd would spend enough to support a local Trader Joe’s, I don’t know. I spend so much at Trader Joe’s when I do go, that I wonder if I couldn’t support the store myself by just shopping there weekly, but I imagine it would take at least a couple of more aficianados.

          1. My wife was shopping at Trader Joe’s a few months ago. She told the clerk that they should open a store in Decatur. The clerk laughed and told her that they have customers that drive from Alabama to shop at the midtown location. So, don’t hold your breath waiting for a Decatur location.

      2. What do you consider the Suburban Plaza area’s demographics to be? Not that I’m so interested in luring a Trader Joe’s there- I’m just wondering why we wouldn’t make the cut.

        Heck, I’d dig an Ingles! (Still sad that The Pig’s not coming.)

        1. Deanne:

          I’m merely speculating based on my observations of the area; I haven’t looked at any stats.
          But consider where the other locations in the metro area are: Midtown/Ansley; Buckhead; and the Forum out near the gated golf course communities (these are the locations I’m familiar with). All, I’m sure, have higher avg incomes than that area of Decatur and, frankly, are whiter. I’m stereotyping, to be sure, but by and large TJ’s is one of those Things White People Like. You can bet TJ’s looks very closely at these demographic facts.

          1. No worries! The Decatur Heights neighborhood prides itself on being “NOT fancy.” Only the recycling bins give folks away! :0)

            [ There’s a very nice basic Dollar General about a mile from The Forum. Guess all the posh folks like their savings too! ]

            1. There is also a Goodwill store about a mile from the Forum. I would love to see one of those in Suburban Plaza. I wonder how this debate would be going if a Goodwill was moving to Oakhurst?

              1. The Goodwill is right next door to the Dollar General! (Excellent stop at P’tree Pkwy/Spalding Drive.) THAT combo would reallllly send the irate Oakhurstians into a frenzyl!!! They just might implode!!!

                Suburban Plaza’s already got Last Chance- Atlanta’s #1 thrift store. Might be too greedy to ask for a Goodwill too! :0)

                [One thing I’ve realized from all this: Suburban Plaza’s neighbors( & customers) need to be politely insisting on a general clean-up of the shopping center. Selig is making $$$ off of the nat’l retailers. They can darn well afford to power wash the dang place!]

          2. The TJs in Midtown always has a multiethnic crowd, not at all a white people thing. But it’s not multi-age–mostly the under 30 crowd.

            1. Deanne:

              I forgot Last Chance was at Suburban now.
              I’m with you on Suburban Plaza. It seems like there is a lot of potential there. I’m haven’t been to any of the retailers there in years; not sure what it is, but it doesn’t lure me in. Now, if they would bring back a movie theater there…

    2. “Seriously, if this location has such great potential, some other retailer would have been renting it a long time ago.”

      Not exactly. If there was a reasonable, non-slumlord owner, perhaps some other retailer would have been renting it.

      1. Not defending anyone, but I would remind everyone that the “slum-lord” owner provides a huge parking lot that EVERYONE in the community uses yet doesn’t have to pay for.

        Everyone that loves to bad mouth that property better be careful what you ask for.

        That is private property that he could charge for and tow from. Just sayin…

        1. If he could have made money off it, he probably would have charged for parking or towed from that lot. But there’s free on-street parking all around, so it’s a moot point. That’s why that lot is almost always empty anyway.

          1. Also, keeping the parking accessible to the neighborhood means people in the neighborhood aren’t going to be as annoyed by the empty lot. Seriously. My ex was a tenant of this landlord and had very little nice to say. He’s not the only person I know who has rented from this landlord. Most rumors aren’t created out of whole cloth.

        1. But it’s easier to abbreviate it that than to write out “landlord with many properties that he does not keep up and lets sit vacant and decaying for many years”.

          1. is this the same landlord that owned The Castle in Midtown that was recently auctioned off bank roles?

        2. DM,
          It really shows that there is a huge need for a legit grocer in this area. and it really shows how helpless everyone feels to the whims of the owner of the H/NAVO space. and it begs the question–why are we not masters of our own universe …)but i digress…

          1. If by “legit grocer” you mean Trader Joe’s, I disagree. They are a limited selection,mostly processed food re- packager. Very little in the way of local produce, dairy, or meat. They would also create a huge traffic problem, because of the somewhat “touristy” nature of their appeal.
            But it’s a moot point because TJ’s needs more thru traffic than that area provides.

    3. I agree . . . I love shopping at the Dollar General. You can find great products for great prices. I guess the ones who turned their noses up are not having to reduce household costs, must be nice, please give me a break.

  5. While I almost thought first of your April 1 joke..,.a new Applebee’s replacing the UJ…if true, I also hope it is the more upscale market type DG.

  6. Way to go everyone. This is what happens when you don’t support quality retail business. We didn’t keep Atlanta Bread Co going and now we have the Decatur Diner fiasco. Get ready to usher in more bad retail. And when the big guys fail (and the dollar store will probably fail) they leave a real mess. They couldn’t care less about our community.

    1. Yeah. All you people are such jerks! You did not buy bread from ABC, so then a diner that no one likes rented the space. (It hasn’t opened yet, but we are just sure that we don’t like it.) Then, because Dollar General saw that ABC went down, it just knew that Decatur was the place for its next store. That is the market research they use — whereever an ABC closes, Dollar General moves in. If only you people had some class, then we’d have nothing but the kind of stores I like. It’s a shame, really.

    2. I don’t get this comment. Have you been to Oakhurst lately? We support quality businesses there like crazy. The U-Joint, Steinbecks, Palate, Kavarna, Matador’s, and Mezcalito’s are absolutely killing it.

      Mulligan’s was doing great business, too, until the landlord jacked up the rent.

      Mojo’s has been around for going on 10 years now, right? And Saba has found a way to thrive in what was thought to be a cursed location.

      We even support non-quality businesses, like the Hop n Shop.

      In fact, now that I look back at what I typed – why in the world does Dollar General see this is a target market, when the existing retail base seems to be of the cultured, artsy, independent, quality variety?

      1. The existing retail base you mentioned does not require nearly the sales volume Trader Joe’s does. However, the people you probably never see in the places you mentioned will probably be enough to support a Dollar General, which requires little labor to run. Read the article on TJ’s that Paula provided a link to. They are a bulk buyer. Many of the products they sell are made by the same companies that make the stuff Kroger (and Dollar General) sell, repackaged and renamed. Like other national grocery chains, they need high sales volumes; Oakhurst can’t provide that.
        And despite their low prices, Trader Joe’s targets high income areas; Oakhurst isn’t there yet.

      2. That’s what I was wondering, Russ. What demographic study shows DG that Decatur/East Lake is a prime market? Oakhurst itself has a Wal Mart 4 miles one way and a Target 4 miles the other…. and two more Targets within 6 miles. Just seems weird.

        1. You could probably find those sort of mileage numbers for most area DGs (or Family Dollars) in relation to WalMart or Target.
          In fact, those distance are pretty spread out. For example, the Walmart in Tucker: there are 2 Family Dollars within 3 miles (that I’m aware of) and a Dollar General within one mile. It’s is the same strategy that CVS and Walgreens developed: fill in the neighborhood areas. In some cases they are right across the street from Target or Walmart. 4 miles is a long distance relatively speaking.

      3. Hop-n-Shop makes serious money from the people leaving the ‘great, high quality places’ who must stop to buy low price, low quality and low price beer and cigarettes. Guess the money is gone from spending beyond your means making it seems like you’re so rich and upscale. I see plenty of Oakhurst people at the Dollar Store and Dollar General, guess it’s a secret and they have to leave the neighborhood to do it.

    3. Are you saying that Atl Bread Co. is better retail than Decatur Diner, a restaurant that hasn’t even opened yet and is owned by the Marietta Diner folks, a well-thought of, local business? I hated ABC, but that is beside the point. You are comparing a mediocre chain restaurant that failed to a family business that hasn’t even opened yet and judging the chain the “quality retail business”?!

        1. Off-topic, but Ink & Dagger totally contradicts the bias that a tattoo parlour is “bad retail”. They’re a great asset and supporter of the Decatur community.

          As for watching out for “bad retail” in Decatur because someone is upset that Atlanta Bread closed, I’ll see their displeasure over a single closing and raise them Garlic Thai, Sno-ball Cafe, Yogurt Tap, Saba, Jimmy Johns, Farm Burger, Iberian Pig, and Mac Magee.

          1. And the pawn shop next to Wuxtry is great. In fact, most pawn shops are great, if only for browsing.

    1. Vic and Lisa. No joke. Get some education on the effects of certain types of retail on a community and you will understand.

      1. I’m sorry, but this smacks of the same sort of n.i.m.b.y, suburban class prejudice that I would hope Decatur folks are opposed to. Trader Joe’s,’ like most businesses, pay close attention to income demographics, and, though I have no idea if they have ever looked at Decatur, I seriously doubt Oakhurst is what they are looking for. Frankly, Dollar General probably serves a greater need in that area than TJ’s would. People struggling just to get by aren’t interested in organic, pseudo-gourmet pita bread, but affordable necessities like toilet paper, toothpaste, and medicine. Most of the people complaining about Dollar General can simply drive to a Trader Joe’s; I’d imagine many of Dollar General’s future customers have no way to get to Walmart (for example) but the bus. Here’s an experiment in empathy: make a trip to the Midtown TJ’s (or Buckhead) and stock up on some goodies—but get there on Marta.

        1. From what I’ve heard, TJ’s has looked at Decatur and determined that there’s no place in the city limits with enough parking. As I’ve snarked before, they may be “alternative” in their bell-ringing, but they aren’t when it comes to customer transportation.

          In regards to Suburban Plaza, look at their other Atlanta locations are you’ll see the pattern.

          Midtown, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Marietta, Norcross, Buckhead.

          1. And I’d agree with them; there is no where in the city limits with enough parking (and traffic flow) to support one of their stores. And I’m glad there isn’t, because I didn’t move to Decatur to be near strip shopping centers. Trader Joe’s isn’t worth big parking lots and more cars on the streets.

          2. DM, I have also heard that the Midtown Promenade location sales are not what they had hoped, so expansion this way doesn’t make a lot of sense to them.

            1. They must have had some sky high expectations; that place is a madhouse every time I’ve been there after a matinee at Landmark. In fact, I stopped going for that reason. Maybe other people got tired of the hell that that parking lot is.

        2. Frankly, Dollar General probably serves a greater need in that area than TJ’s would. People struggling just to get by aren’t interested in organic, pseudo-gourmet pita bread, but affordable necessities like toilet paper, toothpaste, and medicine.

          Have you even been to Oakhurst lately?

          1. Yes, I have, and I’ve looked at the most recent income demographics and there is still a substantial number of poor people there and in the vicinity. Is that not true?

            1. Where are you getting the most recent demographis, Census 2000? That is so out of date.

              Provide your sources.

              1. Whatever, Clairemont has public housing and we have affordable apartments.

                Winonna Park has 22% free lunch as well.

                You don’t want blight in your part of town. I understand that.

              1. Since Dollar General is apparently considering a move there, and they undoubtedly have better data than I do, why not ask them for their sources? That said, Oakhurst Elementary has 23 % eligible for free lunch, and that is 08-09 data. That number doesn’t reflect the number of low income senior citizens in the area; though you may not see them at Ujoint, it doesn’t make them less substantial.


              2. Less than 10%? Source for that? I spent a couple of minutes googling and didn’t come up with any recent data, but 10% seems way too low.

                Obviously, a lot of this depends on your definition of ‘poor.’ But looking up and down my street (3rd Ave. south of Eastlake), I’d guesstimate that *at least* 20% of the houses are unrenovated and have living in them either (i) long-time residents, often older and on a small fixed income or (ii) non-affluent renters. And Oakhurst has a fair number of apartment complexes too, many of them–like the apartments between 2nd and 3rd Ave., or the one on the corner of Oakview and Maxwell just south of ‘Oakhurst village’–not at all upscale. And don’t forget that the comment you were responding to said Oakhurst ‘and the vicinity,’ so that includes the adjoining regions of East Lake and Kirkwood in Atlanta. Both are fine neighborhoods, but they’re less gentrified than Oakhurst.

              3. TOK:

                (your REPLY link wasn’t there, so this out of order)

                “Obviously, a lot of this depends on your definition of ‘poor.’”

                Free school lunch is available to families of 4 with income under 26k. I’d count that as poor. So that number alone is much greater than 10%. And if is true that, as someone mentioned, Dollar Gen. targets areas with household incomes under 75k, then I think Oakhurst is well within that range.

              4. What you have now is blight: an empty, rundown, vacant property. DG would be an improvement.
                As for my side of town, I have no problem with any legitimate business opening there doors, as long they play by the rules. I don’t believe I said anything that would indicate I don’t want a legitimate business–or, as you called it, “blight”– to move in an empty space.

              5. I stand by my point – if 10% or 20% is “substantial”, then what is the other 80%?

                This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a poor neighborhood. It supports a very impressive number of mid-to-upper market businesses. And if high sales volume is going to be required to support a grocer here, should it be targetted at the allegedly substantial poor population, or would it be more successful if geared to the more populous non-poor, who have a record of supporting existing non-poor businesses very well?

                And please don’t anyone think I’m playing god with someone else’s property. This is just a comment about which business would theoretically do better here. I think a Candler Park Market (those of you who haven’t been, please do so) would thrive here.

            2. Oakhurst was probably 85-90% free lunch only about 5 years ago, and I’d bet you that the 26% number is no more or less than any other Decatur elementary school.

              1. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be in Downtown Decatur. I doubt they would find the rents acceptable. Oakhurst, however, borders some very low income areas, which undoubtedly Dollar Gen. took into account.

              2. TeeRuss:

                It is clearly more than 10-20 %, and if you take into account the surrounding area that is a much lower income demographic than some of the locations where existing Dollar General locations are thriving(Near the Forum would be one of many possible examples).

                Granted, it isn’t all about income, but I think you are wrong about Dollar General needing a high volume from the upper income people in order to make it. But that, as you said, is theoretical, time will tell who’s correct,

        1. Dagnabit Boodle, how do you expect me to sleep? I’ll be up all night pondering this Austerian coincidence.

  7. Figuring I have just as much second-hand knowledge as the next guy, I can say with some certainty that this won’t be happening anytime before 2012. Unless there has been another change in the ownership, the space is locked up until then.

    [Note to DM: If this turns out not to be the case, can you, eh, ‘lose’ this comment from the archive? Gracias.]

    1. They are actually not looking at the Navo space, but the empty space next door (closer to the realtor, One Step, etc.).

        1. No, no, no, no. Navo did not occupy the entire building, contrary to popular belief. It only occupied the middle portion, with the old Mulligan’s space to one side, and a portion of the old Big H space on the other side of the building. Take a look inside the windows, you can still see the remains of the old grocery store. Dollar General is interested in this never occupied, never subdivided space from the old Big H.

  8. Trader Joes & Dollar General are about the same. Both carry a lot of imported crap! I am an insurance adjuster by trade and handled the account for Family Dollar for many years. I assure that crazy things go on at Family Dollar and it will not be any different at Dollar General. I handled many parking lot shooting, robberies, car jackings and false arrest claims from that account. There are a lot of good people that shop at Dollar General. I know that my grandmother buys some of her toxic cleaning supplies there quite often. It will be helpful for many of the families in Oakhurst/Kirkwood that don’t have transportation to get to other lower priced stores but I assure you, for as many good people that will frequent the store there will be 2 that are trouble.

    I’d rather see an indoor mom & pop type farmer’s market with soem local produce, bakeshop etc with a small, fairly priced grocery market.

    1. Warning…I’m going to sound like a Republican (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

      If y’all want a particular business in the neighborhood, y’all can invest the money and open it.
      If you want diversity in a community, you ought not to block businesses that cater to diverse clientele.

        1. I want to join, cause we must defeat the evil media, both left and right that want us either blue or red to support their networks.

          The vast majority of us are purple!


      1. Here here, Diane. I thought it was the suburban Republicans who were the snobs and afraid of people different from themselves. Who knew that Dollar General equaled there goes the neighborhood?

      2. Well Said! Free Commerce. If you don’t want a Dollar General there then don’t shop there when it opens. If you wanted to keep the NAVO church in that space you should have contributed to their collection plate. It is comical the elite attitudes that many of my fellow Oakhurst residents have on this topic. Seriously, get over yourselves!

  9. i actually sometimes kinda like Dollar General, so this doesn’t really sound like a worst case scenario to me. of course, i don’t shop there often – but in my hometown this was about all we had so i’m very familiar with it. of course it’s not “ideal” or not what i’d prefer to see in that space, but personally i think it’s better than nothing at all. vacant spaces aren’t good for community morale in my opinion…especially spaces that have been sitting for years. i can’t speak for the clientele it will bring in, but i’m sure there are many people living in the oakhurst & decatur area who will shop there.

  10. On a related note – does anyone know when the Big H vacated that building? i.e. how long has it been essentially vacant (other than the Navo era)?

  11. “And I doubt the clientele it attracts will be inclined to shop or dine at any of our other local establishments”…Wow, let’s embrace diversity, as long as it’s the type of diversity we approve of. I live within walking distance of Oakhurst Village, I’m white, I have a professional job, I actually know and speak to my “diverse” neighbors and I will shop at Dollar General if it comes to East Lake and Oakview. And I’m certain my elderly, fixed income and cost conscious neighbors will too. The property is large enough for someone to build out a neiighborhood market where I can pick up a $5.00 box of organic crackers at a later time, if such an investor comes along.

    1. This diversity double standard is one of my favorite things about Decatur. Sometimes you’ve just gotta laugh.

  12. In case we haven’t noticed, tax revenues are down. A popular national retailer is not the worst thing to fill up our abandoned storefronts with. Let us welcome our discount overlords.

      1. If it was metal it would be Overlords of Discount ! Tongue with big yellow price tag on it for a visual.

        1. Except it should be “Discountt.” Two ts make it more metal (I think that is the title of a movie or something)

  13. Wow, this sounds like “The Vent.” I loved the diversity and attitude of tolerance I found in Decatur when we moved here more than 20 years ago, but apparently it’s now a crumbling facade.

  14. I used to live really close to Suburban Plaza and would go to Family Dollar and the Big Lots often – so don’t quite understand why this Dollar General thing is a huge issue. Someone talked about all the crime and parking lot shootings associated with this type of retailer. I do not recall such incidents at the Family Dollar lot in Church/N Decatur. It was great to be able to pop into Family Dollar when we were out of milk or other necessities (like knockoff Girl Scout cookies) and did not want to make the trek to Publix.

    If it is a Dollar General, I am sure I will check it out at some point. The DG Market could be cool too. It will be filling a need for some residents to get some groceries, school supplies, knick knacks, etc that live in the area and do not have access to private transportation. I am just stuggling to see why this is such a horrible thing for the community.

    1. I witnessed a mugger assaulting a woman with a little kid just steps from the door of Big Lots in Suburban Plaza, on a Sunday night two years ago. I haven’t stopped shopping there, but I’m a lot more cautious, particularly at night.

  15. Re: Dollar General. One of the things Decatur residents cherish most it our diversity. And that should mean not just ethnic diversity, but also diversity of incomes and tastes. Many lower-income people who have not been driven out of Decatur by gentrification (yet) will find this a useful shop. Are you not willing to let our lower income neighbors’ needs met at the same time that ours are met by hip pizza joints and bars with wi-fi?

  16. The rampant crime and parking lot shootings shouldn’t reach epidemic proportions until after residents who don’t want to live so close to a Dollar General flee the neighborhood…chicken/egg?

  17. It is bad for the community for its products and services don’t match the demographic of the neighborhood. Oakhurst isn’t a place for a national chain just look at the downtown and the businesses currently here. Lets not be naive to think this would add anything to the neighborhood. Vision Properties could care less about what goes in there, as long as they pay rent and the check clears. Hoping this doesn’t happen.

    1. I think you are forgetting part of the demographic in the neighborhood. But if you are right, then Dollar General won’t stay there anyway, right?

  18. Yeah, I have to agree with alot of the later comments that Dollar General going into this space is probably a very good thing. This kind of retail is really necessary if we are to maintain an economically diverse community (or at least try to keep it from getting less diverse).

    Now if we could just get a regular, truly Italian trattoria (not a pizza place)…

    1. I am shocked at all of the snobbery directed toward Dollar General. It’s hard to believe how reactionary and narrow minded people can be. I’m glad that a national retailer is moving into an empty building. I’ll probably even shop there. I’m not too good to save money on Campbell’s soup, Tide laundry detergent, Luvs diapers or any of the other “cheap crap” that they sell.

      1. I found my favorite vanilla Soft Soap there for a buck (obviously.) They’re 1.59 at CVS. I felt silly buying 6 but one by every sink and it’s amazing how quickly we manage to blow through them. Also grabbed some tupperware and giftbags. Things you need that are usually marked up at the drug/grocery store. I’m guessing the people who throw the stores in the junk/crap category probably haven’t been in one in a while.

          1. Not that unusual: One in the kitchen, two in the master bathroom, two in the kids bathroom, one in the basement laundry area. His and her sinks seem to be the current bathroom style and god forbid that two siblings share anything.

            1. I better start socking away some cash for future therapy sessions. My kiddos are forced to share a sink, and a pedestal one at that.

          2. Ha ha. No, 4 sinks, 2 for backups. But that was literally only a week ago, and the kitchen one is already running low/empty. Wash those hands guys!

            1. I feel unfortunate now. I never even thought I had to consider how many sinks I have. Now that I know that I only have 3 I’m not sure how my family will survive. Damn human spirit, I need you now!

  19. “This kind of retail is really necessary if we are to maintain an economically diverse community (or at least try to keep it from getting less diverse).”

    Yep, exactly. I for one chose to live in Decatur, not Buckhead.

    I’ve about decided that a lot of people here are only accepting of diversity when it pertains to skin color or sexual preference, not culture or economics.
    Off topic, but I’m convinced that one of the reasons Marta can’t garner more public support is because of the perception that it is for poor people, not for the racial reasons liberals often claim.
    Even among the liberals who call for greater financial support for Marta, there is a cohort who would never actually ride a Marta bus themselves. And I’m not talking only about the liberals at the State Capitol.

  20. A couple retorts – if wanting a quality retailer that brings value to both the neighborhood and its residents is being narrowminded and a snob than I am guilty as charged. Discount stores provide nothing of value, their products are cheaply made and the business thrives on the expense of the independent business (which I would argue is what the Oakhurst business community is all about). Imagine a Buffalo Wild Wings opening at this location and offering all the same things the Ujoint does but at 1/2 the price?

    Regarding Marta – the reason Marta fails in this city is simple, Atlanta is a driving city, the amount of land is opposite of thriving public transportation cities like (NY, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco) where it is simply easier to commute into the city by train, for if you drive there is limited parking and its expensive. You can cloak it however you want, but Atlanta residents love their cars and are always going to opt for that over Marta.

    1. The Buffalo Wild Wings (or Applebees, or any of that ilk) comparison is not a valid analogy. Such a business would not serve the community because neither low income people or the foodie types would frequent it. (And I doubt the burgers at Buffalo Wild Wings are 1/2 the price of Ujoints, so the competition argument doesn’t hold water). Dollar General, however, does serve the needs of low income people, of which there are many in Oakhurst and vicinity, and many without cars. Tell me an independent retailer that brings value to them.

      As for your point about Marta, yes those are reasons people don’t use it, but they are not the only reasons and any longtime resident will tell you the other reasons.

  21. Dollar General would put Hop N Shop out of business in no time. But I guess no one cares about them.

  22. Boy, what a fun discussion. I have to start the rumor that Hooter’s is going to open in Oakhurst in early 2011.

  23. I keep forgetting that people are much more passionate about the Big H property than the $10 million in HOST money the county has withheld from the city for about a decade.

    I’ve sent an email to Vision. I’ll report back if I hear from them.

    1. Pretty wife doesn’t lie. But I can’t speak for the corporate due with the Dollar General letterhead. So let us know what controversial landlord man says.

          1. By the way, that new picture is there so me ‘n’ Cuba can’t recognize you on the street, right? ‘Cause it wacked out nutty professory.

            1. I am not shooting him. I am teasing him. We love Chadly. That’s why he is afraid of us recognizing him on the street.

  24. You know, I could understand the opposition to a Hooters or Applebees, because there are better wings and fried apps beings served by local businesses. But don’t hipsters have to buy toilet paper and toothpaste, Tylenol and Tums? Where do they get these things?

    1. Alas, from my hipster friends, they love to shop at what they call “murder kroger”. Which is the kroger beside city hall east.
      I can only assume they call it that because it’s on ponce, and across from MJQ, so they can have hipster night, then gain instant street cred for going across the street to shop.

      I wish I could take them back in time to the kroger at stewart ave/cleveland ave when I lived beside it a few years ago, seeing shootings, drug busts, etc in the parking lot on a near daily basis and I still shopped there for all of my groceries. Kids these days.

  25. Wish I could say I’m shocked by the elitism and self-involvement reflected in some of these posts. I’m not. (Much the same thing is going on over at the Oakhurst Yahoo board, I’m sorry to say.) It actually confirms what I’ve been observing in this neighborhood for years. Many who have moved in over the past 6-7 years, especially, seem somehow able to completely ignore the existing community they moved into, and focus only on the neighbors who are just like them, starting with their relative affluence. (Don’t kid yourself, if you bought a house here in the past six years, you are likely in a very different economic bracket than most people who’ve been here longer than ten years.) Plenty of residents in Oakhurst will welcome a chance to save money at a store like Dollar General, and to save money (and not just be fashionably green) by walking or biking to it. You won’t hear from a lot of us in this forum, but you’ll hear from a few. Yes, we have a great little commercial district in Oakhurst, and some of those merchants are among Decatur’s best business citizens. But they only serve some segments of our community. What about everybody else?

    Others have already pointed out the hypocrisy of paying lip service to “diversity” while ranting against certain types of economic development that actually support it. I have to add that I find it particularly galling to hear such a chorus so quickly on the heels of our municipal pep rally earlier this week, when–yet again–Decaturites congratulated themselves warmly on valuing diversity.

    If you don’t care to shop at discount stores, then don’t. But please reconsider the idea that your distaste for them should block access for the rest of us. And to those of you worried about our neighborhood’s “image” (can’t remember if that particular comment was here or on the other board, but the sentiment is clearly present in both places)–it might interest to you to know that more than a few Oakhurstians have been lamenting the decline of our “image” for some time, but for very different reasons!

    1. I was also thinking about this juxtaposition between the comments here and the diversity party at the Strat Plan wrap up.

      I’m not sure it’s the same people speaking out both sides of their mouth. It’s probably different people saying different things.

      But heck, diverse thoughts about diversity is still diversity!

      1. This blog has proven to me time and again that people will say things with their anonymous voices that they would never utter with their actual voice boxes. So, which voice rings truest?

    2. Well, Smalltown, I moved to Oakhurst in August 2003, 7 years ago to this month.

      How do you classify me in your worthiness chart?

      1. Oh, and it wasn’t even a good street in Oakhurst. We didn’t move to Adams St or Kings Highway. We still had crack dealers living on the street until about 5 years ago.

        Does that give me enough street cred?

        1. Susan, it’s not about “street cred” (which moving here in 2003 wouldn’t confer, anyway, everything was mostly squeaky clean by then). It’s about being in touch with the community around you. And if you don’t think there are plenty of people in Oakhurst who depend on the value-driven retail that Dollar General represents and would benefit tremendously from having it within walking distance, then you are seriously out of touch with your surroundings.

          1. I’m not saying that I don’t think that is true. But since you arbitrarily said that people who moved here 6 years or less don’t care about their neighbors who have been around for years, so I was just testing your theory.

            I, for one, did not move to Oakhurst so that it would be all squeaky clean and not diverse. I moved to a street where 2 doors down they were selling crack in the street. Is that squeaky clean? I heard gunshots every night for about 2 years? Does that sound squeaky clean to you? My house and my cars have all been broken into. Oh, I had a bike stolen as well.

            Let’s stop dividing out neighbors based on their relative newness and income, shall we?

            1. “I, for one, did not move to Oakhurst so that it would be all squeaky clean and not diverse”

              Well, guess what? Economic diversity means discount stores, like it or not. I don’t like that there is a cigar store downtown. Totally worthless from my standpoint. So what do I do? I don’t give them any of my money.

              1. Again, it is not the discount store, necessarily, I have a problem with. I generally support local businesses, not national big box, low cost, low wage retailers, and thought that what was Decatur was trying to encourage. However, if Dollar General were part of a redevelopment of that center that included a mix of uses, some streetscaping, i.e., more than just a seat of concrete parking far away from the rest of the village, then I’d probably be OK with it.

                But to continue to subsidize this blight by providing the owner/landlord a good paying tenant? Not over my dead body.

                Who wants to start with the yard signs? I see a yellow sign saying Dollar General with a circle and a line drawn through it.

                Why would a retailer want to go in where they are not wanted?

              2. Dollar general=blight? How’s that?

                Vacant, decaying storefronts = blight is more like it.

                Look, this isn’t my dream use for that property–my ‘dream use’ would probably be something like what Susan described above, a total redevelopment on that big parcel of land that mixed some upper-level apartments and street-level retail, new urbanism style. But with the way the economy (and particularly the housing market) are right now, I don’t see that coming any time soon. Dollar general seems a genuinely useful store for lots of people (including me) and a damn sight better than what’s (not) been there for at least 8 years.

            2. I didn’t say people who moved to Oakhurst recently don’t care about their neighbors. I know many who do. I said (meant to say, anyway) that if you bought a house here in recent years then it’s highly likely that you do not represent the economic stratum that not only welcomes but actually depends on discount shopping. That in itself is not a fault. What I have a problem with is anyone who is comfortable financially who cannot or will not look beyond their own circumstances and think about what could benefit their less-fortunate neighbors.

            3. BTW, if I recall correctly that you live on Third, then I was living nearby during those two years and didn’t hear all those gunshots. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard gunshots around here in eleven years. And I sleep with my windows open when weather permits.

    3. Well said. I am an “old” Oakhurstian” and I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. If you covered your eyes and had this thread read to you aloud, with all the Oakhurst/Decatur references removed and then asked what neighborhood is this about, guesses would range from Va/Hi, to Buckhead, to Vinings. Elitism and Decatur are not mutually exclusive.

  26. Man. After reading some of these comments, I’m almost afraid to admit I loves me some Big Lots & Dollar General stores! Speaking as someone who can pretty much afford to shop wherever I like, I want to point out that just because one has some disposable income doesn’t mean one is averse to saving big $$ on sundries. If they build it, I will come. (OK, so if they move in, I will come, but it sounded better the other way.)

  27. I’ve been living here in Oakhurst for 3 years now, and I have always wished the Hop n Shop was more useful. If this new store is one of these Dollar General Market stores that someone mentioned above, then I will be very excited indeed! I could run down for milk or other staples if I realized all of a sudden that I was out of them, or if I was out and about with my kid at the park etc we could stop by for a popsicle or an ice cream sandwich (or a banana I suppose), and if I just wanted to cook pasta and sauce or something simple for dinner I could just pick the ingredients up on the way home. It could even simplify my weekly grocery shopping, as I could buy most things from the Dekalb Farmers Market (as I do now), and then my laundry detergent and canned goods etc from this little store, and I would never have to find time to fit in a proper supermarket again! 🙂
    Of course I would be sad to see the Hop n Shop suffer, and I have tried to use that place when I could (it does sometimes have some fresh bananas in there for an emergency snack for my little guy).

  28. I don’t think the issue here is about demographics or class. It is about what is the best use of the Big H property and about a owner/landlord who seems disinterested in even trying.

    Yes, I know, he has provided his parking lot for free use for overflow for neighboring businesses and for festivals and he should be commended for that. And he owns the property and should be able to do what he wants with it and manage it the way he wants.

    However, everyone knows that this property is not being used to its full potential. If Dollar General was a part of an overall redevelopment of the Big H property, including a mix of other retail and more retail at street level, even though Dollar General is not necessarily the quality of tenant that most want to see, I think most people would accept it as a compromise and be fine with it.

    However, Bruce and Vision Properties, has no such plan. Dollar General will instead occupy its space most likely along with no other tenants or redevelopment to speak over. Vision simply has no vision for this property and by allowing Dollar General in, you will just subsidize Bruce’s procrasitnation for what to do with the property for many more years to come.

    That is what people are angry about, make no mistake.

    1. Have to disagree with your statement: “it is about what is the best use of the Big H property and about a owner/landlord who seems disinterested in even trying.” Who is the arbiter for the best use? The owner is the ultimate judge, and I mean ultimate in the original meaning of final. He/she will decide based on their own self-interests (either economic, social, moral or combination of factors). You can suggest, plead, beg, whatever, but this discussion thread has to understand you can’t bully. Not going to work. In my opinion (only my opinion of course) a Dollar General is a much better use of the property than an empty space. If a better retail concept surfaces, Dollar General can be bought out or co-opt into the new scheme.

    2. “I don’t think the issue here is about demographics or class……”
      “Dollar General is not necessarily the quality of tenant that most want to see,….”
      I disagree. I think the issue is EXACTLY about class. I think a lot of people in Decatur truly cherish every kind of diversity–racial, cultural, sexual, political, religious–EXCEPT economic. I think it’s not the (alleged) quality of the store that you and others object to, but the quality of the customer you think it will attract. That’s okay, you’re free to object and certainly free not to patronize the store. But just know that when you oppose it being made available to the rest of us, you’re going to get an argument.

      “Vision simply has no vision for this property and by allowing Dollar General in, you will just subsidize Bruce’s procrasitnation for what to do with the property for many more years to come.”
      You seem to have interesting ideas about who is in charge of “allowing Dollar General in.” BTW, if I were Bruce and had been subjected to as much public castigation as he has, I probably would not feel very inclined to placate neighbors. Fortunately, he chooses to rise above it, for instance by allowing his parking lot to be used in configuring the venue for the BBQ festival. Without it, the event could not be held in Oakhurst because of emergency traffic flow requirements. Not to mention the ongoing, daily use for free overflow parking which he chooses to overlook.

      1. I’m all for economic diversity and I really don’t have a problem with Dollar General.

        I would actually like to see some affordable residential housing incorporated within a total redevelopment of the Big H property.

        But, I know Bruce, and the reality is that when Dollar General starts paying some rent, he will be under absolutely no pressure to redevelop anything because income will start to come in where there was none before.

        If you want the Big H to look basically the same as it does not in 10 years, with a Dollar General there, then give Dollar General a lease. If you actually want to see the property redeveloped then you will oppose it. Not that there is anything any of us can do anyway.

  29. Buck up Trader Joe’s fans! If the Big H building is still available, then hope’s not lost. Just increase your efforts! The Dollar General lets other Oakhurst neighbors have their wishes come true too! Yay! ( Assuming this was a shattered dream lament. Ahem.)

    Dollar General has some pretty good stuff going for it. Check out their site. It’s the Number #1 small sized discounter & focuses on the under 75k household. Their product mix is probably 70% major brand merchandise- and they take coupons. It’s not fancy, but it’s a good basic store.

    DG info:
    DG numbers:
    * DG Literacy Foundation *:

    Their store standards will be what their customers demand. (Some DGs are always well stocked & maintained; others aren’t..) As far as crime goes- that’s a location thing. Suburban Plaza’s discount retailers haven’t attracted undesirable folks or had any known issues.

  30. I have no issues with Dollar General. I do have issues with putting Hop N Shop out of business. It’s small, independent retailer that has been nothing but extra nice and helpful to me and my family. If I pop in to get a jug of milk and have forgotten my wallet, they are happy to comp me on the milk and let me bring them the money the next day. They are nice to kids and even give mine the occasional free treat. Because they aren’t big retail like Dollar General they can’t offer ultra low prices, but, to me, they are as much a part of the fabric of downtown Oakhurst as Kavarna and the U Joint.

    Ideally, I’d like to see support for the Hop N Shop guys to move over to Big H and expand their business. They are good at listening to customers and have done their best to expand their inventory to accommodate the “new Oakhurst.” I think given the space and a chance, they could open up a really cool little grocery over there. But I live in the real world and understand that there’s probably not enough support in our community (or in the city administration) for them to pull that off, particularly in the face of the corporate glow of big box retail.

    I’m torn on this b/c I don’t like big box retail. Call me a snob, but I like to see small independent retailers who are invested in the community they serve. I also like to see “regular” folks who want to start a small business be supported and not run out by the WalMart/Target/Dollar General factor.

    1. Many Decatur folks probably prefer to support independent retailers. But the “little guy” has to do its part too. My 1st thought on Hop N Shop relocating to the Big H property? “Oh lordy! Bigger parking lot= bigger crime complaints!” But I’ll root for them to step up their game. No, they can’t beat DG’s prices. But they CAN clean up their image + continue their efforts to tailor their inventory to appeal to Oakhurst folks. That, along with friendly personalized service, can go a lonnnng way. And two strong players in the business district can benefit both!

    2. Have you ever been to that supermarket in Candler Park? It used to be very similar to the Hop N Shop, but it has done a good job over the years of expanding its inventory so that it has something for everyone… rich and poor. I think that given the chance and the encouragement, the guys at Hop N Shop could make a similar transition. Then we could have a small, independently owned supermarket that serves everyone in our community … from the wine connoisseur to the single mom who needs a good price on a loaf of bread.

      Call me a dreamer, but I think we can honor independent retail (which needs to be supported lest we find ourselves with nothing left but WalMart and Target) and still honor a diverse community. I’d like to see Bruce and our community committed to that ideal.

      My beef with Dollar General is not that it serves diverse needs – I’m very much in favor of having something that serves all of our residents……. but that it’s big box retail and we are a small box community (or so I thought). We (and I believe Bruce) can do much better if we all focus.

      Frankly, I don’t want to see Trader Joe’s in downtown Oakhurst either for the same reasons.

      1. I have not visited the market in Candler Park. I do not advocate putting Hop ‘n’ Shop out of business, and if they wanted to transition into a different kind of market I would be all for it. But they haven’t so far, and meanwhile life goes on.

        Anyhow, I caution against reflexive opposition to national chains. (Look at CVS–we may or may not like the final site configuration of their downtown Decatur store, but they certainly fill a need.) All of the definitions I can find characterize “big-box retail” as national brands with store locations ranging from 20,000-200,000 sq ft. I have no idea of the square footage of the Big H section we’re talking about. But DG characterizes themselves as a “small-box discount” retailer that offers “carefully edited” selections of goods at competitive prices in small, convenient stores. That is entirely consistent with DG stores I’ve visited in various places.

        IMO a disadvantage of living in Decatur is having to drive so far in order to purchase household necessities at competitive prices. And at least I have the option of driving–a lot of my neighbors don’t. (BTW, I consider my neighbors to include those in nearby areas of East Lake and Kirkwood.) As a city, Decatur is really good at trendy watering holes, WiFii coffee shops, and cool gift shops; not so great when it comes to tampons, toilet paper, and detergent, or even milk and bread. (If I’m going to drive to the little Kroger, I’ll go the extra few blocks to a larger supermarket where I can actually find what I’m looking for.)

        Economic realities dictate that no independent merchant will be able to offer competitive prices on these types of commodities. They don’t have the bulk purchasing leverage to create a decent margin for themselves while offering discount prices to consumers. Meanwhile, we claim to value economic diversity, yet the segments of our community who need discount pricing remain under-served. Now, here is a retailer that can offer discount prices and also seems geared to our culture of small-box commerce. Why are we not offering support and encouragement to them and to Bruce to find a deal that works for both parties and give a chance to this potential asset in our town?

        Just curious….what are the prices like at the Candler Park market, compared with Kroger and Publix?

        BTW, I totally agree with you about not wanting to see TJ in downtown Decatur. The parking and traffic at their Midtown location is appalling. (Suburban Plaza would be a lot better; and I’d love to see SOMEBODY start redeveloping those old car dealership sites on Scott.) Besides, TJ is actually not a full-scale supermarket IMO–fresh produce is always limited and sometimes not absolutely top quality. You can get certain things there which aren’t available elsewhere, and I try to swing by when I’m in the vicinity and the parking lot doesn’t look impossible. But I can go for months without really needing to shop there, whereas I hit YDFM and Publix every week. From what I see at their website, a DG Market could potentially reduce my trips to Publix. (And my ultimate dream is some kind of trolley or jitney between here and the Farmers Market. I’m too chicken to ride my bike that last stretch of E. Ponce after the bike trail peels off.)

      2. I’ve heard great things about the Candler Market, but I’ve never been there. They seem to be the ideal intown market. Hop N Shop should probably mazimize their potential in their current location. (They own it, right?) Never put major $$$ into revamping/outfitting a leased space. It’ll inevitably lead to headaches & heartbreak.

        I also have a healthy skepticism for box retailers. I like that Dollar General is upfront on its site re consumer concerns. DG strikes me as being in “when you know better, you do better” mode. As long as DG is striving to be a good corporate citizen, I’m willing to shop in their stores. (On your comment further down: Horrid overseas practices are a problem for just about every retailer. ( Older article, but a good starting point: )

        Agreeing with everything smalltowngal said except for the Trader Joes at Suburban Plaza part. After all this hoohah, I’ m concerned about the undesirable element it would attract. North Dekalb Mall will be close enough!

        (smalltowngal: Dollar General should also scout the former bread outlet by YDFM for a basic DG store. There’s an opportunity!)

    3. How much business do you think that Hop n Shop does that is not beer, wine, cigarettes, lottery business?

      I doubt they sell a whole lot of sundries and paper producs, or not enough that some competition across the street would really hurt them too much.

    4. Your experience is one of the great advantages of a small, independent store. I have had the same experience at the CITGO on Howard, two blocks from my house and I walk over there probably 3 times a week. His name is Gary, the entire family works there. They are from Pakistan and don’t actually live too far from Decatur. I see them frequently at the little Kroger doing their grocery shopping.

  31. Hopefully it will be one of the “DG Markets”, putting pressure on the little kroger to step up its game. in the past 10 years, I’ve been able to get everything but one or two things I needed in a trip just once. Each other time i’ve only been able to find about 50% or less of the items I’m looking for. That combined with the most checkout lanes I’ve ever seen open at once has been two. Usually with the added effect of other employees that could run checkouts just standing around talking each other while the two checkouts have 10+ people in line always makes me just leave my stuff and go to publix.

    1. Yeah, I have to agree. That Kroger could be a hell of a lot better that it is. It is very convenient though, if you live downtown.

      I’ve noticed a general decline in the service at Kroger in several locations. Something I’ve noticed and wondered about when I visit family in Alabama (near Gadsen and Anniston) is that when you go into a grocery store (Winn-Dixie for example;they don’t have Kroger) there is usually someone at every register, despite the fact that they are much less busy than the stores here. The same is true of Wal-Mart there. I try to coincide my infrequent Wal-Mart trips with visits to Alabama because there are a lot fewer shoppers than here. At the same time, there are plenty of employees to help you, unlike any Wal-Mart I’ve been in Metro ATL.

        1. I missed this reply somehow. If you were referring to my store comparisons, I was comparing stores in different regions, not so much different stores. Walmart is non-union and the service sucks here but isn’t so bad there. Don’t know if Winn-Dixie is union or not. As far as I know, only certain employees are union at Kroger, not the front line folks which is where the problem is.

  32. I still haven’t heard anything from Vision. In fact, the email posted on their website bounced back saying the account was closed from inactivity. But I had one other option, so we shall see!

    Anyway, in the meantime – from the Oakhurst Message Board

    response from dollar general (I emailed them)

    You may have gotten a ton of emails on this already, but there is a
    rumour in the neighborhood that a dollar general market is coming to
    Oakhurst (Decatur)
    Is that true?

    Thanks for your interest in DG! I cannot confirm that yet – but stay tuned!

    Kevin Whitehead – Georgia Real Estate Manager
    110 Stonehedge Drive – Greenville, SC 29615 – 615.406.5229

    I guess Chad’s pretty wife doesn’t lie. I’m not sure anyone would say “stay tuned!” if it wasn’t true.

  33. Wow! 135 comments, and counting!

    DM, seems that if you ever need to boost traffic on the site you just need to mention something grocery store related (Trader Joe; Farmers Market; Mini Kroger). It’s ironic in a place with the restaurant base per capita that Decatur has..

    Oh wait, I just got it… Maybe the restaurants here thrive because we can’t find anywhere decent to buy groceries?

    1. It is kind of amazing, Flaka Being able walk to the mini Kroger and having YDFM a short drive away is more than fine for me. Having all the great restaurants and bars nearby is more important to me.

  34. I love Trader Joe’s and was thrilled it finally came to Atlanta. But have you ever really taken a hard look at the volume of cars coming in and out of their parking lots? I do not want that in Oakhurst and hard pressed to think of a major road in City of Decatur that this type of car volume would not be a nightmare. Would love Trader Joe’s to come to Suburban Plaza. It has the parking and multiple access to make it very consumer and business friendly. Remember back in high school days (late 70’s) that was a nice and busy strip mall.

    1. I do indeed remember it. My grandmother lived for a few years in the retirement building next door and she would go to movies at Suburban Plaza with us. I can remember seeing Meatballs there with her (“It just doesn’t matter…”). She did not care for it at all

  35. Smalltown girl enough of the diatribes of how the ethnic and economic diversity isn’t served in Oakhurst, and how the hipsters are taking over. No one (at least I can speak for my street) has any issues with their neighbors economic or ethnic background. I am friends and close to all of mine. What you are seeing in these comments are people who are passionate about their neighborhood and simply want the best for it. The best schools, teachers, businesses, streetlights, roads, etc.. dollar general is a mass discount chain that simply doesn’t work in our neighborhood. Why you ask, for one I would say the main reason many of us have moved here is because of the small town neighborhood feel, the cool business district, festivals, active & engaged business and neighborhood associations, great school district, and convenience to Atlanta. In addition to being personally being anti chain and supportive of local independent business owners, I believe the customers DG would attract would hurt the image and attractiveness of our nbhood.

    Candler park convenience store would be a great addition (either hop n shop morphs into that or the whole vision property gets a makover and a number of retail stores open up). Not that I have any say in what Vision does with it, but since this is a blog to voice my opinion there it is.

    By the way hit Farm Burger for the first time last week, and it kicks ass!

  36. “I believe the customers DG would attract would hurt the image and attractiveness of our nbhood”

    Oh really? People would hurt the “image and attractiveness” of “our” neighborhood. Just how would they do that?

  37. I apologize for the way that came off. When we made a decision to move to Oakhurst it was because it is a hip intown neighborhood that has unique small businesses. Frankly I don’t feel DG fits that mold.

    If I was able to buy this property myself I would turn it into a similar property that exists in Kwood, with upper level townhoues and small retail, spa, nbood grocery (ala Candler), maybe a Genki/Doc Cheys Noodle House type restaraunt as well.

    1. If I remember, this is something someone wanted to do a decade or more ago but the zoning isn’t right and the neighborhood didn’t want it.

    2. Gee, Oakhurst may look like a hip, intown neighborhood but it’s actually a real-life community, part of a real-life city, with all kinds of real-life people–rich, poor and everything in between. And all of us deserve a chance to support retail that supplies our respective needs.

  38. Hmmm… I am sure I will get flamed for this, but having a high auto traffic chain store like Dollar General isn’t exactly conducive to having two elementary schools and one middle school within less than a half mile of it where huge numbers of kids (some very young) are biking and walking to school is it? Most Dollar Generals are on 4 or two lane highways – not nestled into largely residential neighborhoods where everyone (including little kids) is walking and biking around.

    Their website says that they are looking for a “retail corridor with good traffic” and a trade area population of at least 4500. I wouldn’t call our little commercial node a “retail corridor with good traffic” by any stretch of the imagination. There might be 4500 people in the area, but I doubt that there would be 4500 likely shoppers.

    1. You might have a point, but if that is true then there should never even be a mention of Trader Joes. Talk about high auto traffic chain stores! Actually, I am a little surprised that DG is considering this location because the traffic flow is pretty crappy.

    2. Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense.

      Why would they want to go there instead of maybe on Memorial with all of those huge, forlorn shopping centers that are in higher traffic areas owned by, well conincidence, Bruce Cohen and Vision Properties.

      In case you didn’t know, if there is a run down looking building in the Decatur area (Trackside Tavern), it is probably owned by Vision.

      See a trend here?

  39. Here’s a project.. Google “Dollar General crime”… then google “Publix crime,” Kroger crime,” “Trader Joe’s crime,” “CVS crime,” etc. Compare the types, frequencies and numbers of hits you get.

    Not scientific by any means, but there appears to be an obvious trend.

    1. I take that with a grain of salt, Sarah, because of the chicken/egg thing. I think that historically Dollar General has built stores in low-income neighborhoods. Could be they’re trying to upgrade their image while expanding their client base.

      1. I would say that is exactly what they are doing, Vic. In case some of the people here don’t pay attention to economic news, a lot of formerly “hip” enclaves and urban areas are seeing discounters move in. A lot of people in this country are waking up to the fact that they are broke, regardless of their income or education, because of their debt load. Discounters, even uncool chains, are going to thrive.

    2. DG didn’t cause the crime–it happened on their premises because they went into high-crime areas. It is unlikely that crime would occur on their premises in Oakhurst because this is not a high-crime area. And DG locating here won’t turn it into one.

        1. So let me get this straight: There aren’t any criminals there now, but they are going to come swarming to a….Dollar General? That sounds absurd. As far as I know, DG does not sell alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets, nudie magazines, guns, prescription drugs, etc. Yeah, if I was a criminal, Dollar General would be one of my hangouts, no question.

  40. The stuff below was posted on the Yahoo Board this evening.. it’s worth some debate here, so I pasted it below. It concerns DGs corporate practices. I read the links, and it looks pretty bad it if’s true. BrianC and Smalltown… I’d be particularly interested to see where you come down on this issue.

    I’m still not completely opposed to DG. Not thrilled by any means, but willing to hear their pitch. This sort of thing worries me though….

    Not to overdo it, but I’ve been researching this company to see what they are all about, hoping to find out that they really are good corporate citizens. They are not. I think Decatur can do better – particularly for the utterly poor in China and other third world countries. According to this study, Dollar General’s suppliers in China have the worst labor records of any major U.S. retailer. To me, it would be a little embarrassing to have a place like Decatur welcome this corporation with open arms.

    I don’t think many in Decatur, regardless of their income level, would think saving $.50 on detergent is worth this…..

    1. It is a false argument.

      Her supposition that the entire marketing tactics of DG is to swoop in and bamboozle a bunch of ignorant African-Americans is laughable. And it is the African-American segment that we are talking about as I haven’t noticed any of my redneck cousins with the wife beater t-shirts living near me. They do patron DG, it really isn’t just a “black” thing. Don’t post this without the rest of her diatribe as it is way out of her context.

      And feel free to post my response as to why her premise is so full of manure.

      Conspiracy theories make for good movies.

      1. I have to agree; same stuff exists on Target but you see people on here actually defending Target to doomsday.

        1. And it isn’t just places like Target. Not going to name any names, but there are boutiques and shops in downtown Decatur selling stuff made in sweatshops. And most of it is pointless knickknacks and novelty type stuff. Tchotchkes, not necessities at all. I shouldn’t say they are pointless, though, because a consumer gets to feel hip they bought it from an independent retailer who marked it up far above cost. At least Dollar General only rips off the worker, not the consumer too.

    2. I agree that unsavory labor practices are a legitimate reason to oppose any retailer. But that has not been the foremost issue in comments (here and on the Oakhurst Yahoo board) against DG coming to Oakhurst.

      I looked at the inventory of reports from the past couple of years at the China Labor Watch website and discovered that, while DG has been their most recent target, they’ve also been after WalMart, McDonald’s, PUMA, Mattel, Disney, and Regina-Miracle (small appliances), among others. And that represents only what one organization has uncovered in one country, China. We all know that sweatshop manufacturing in many countries around the world is required to maintain the stream of consumer goods to which, as nellie points out, we feel entitled. When we (including myself) have made headway purging our lifestyles in significant and meaningful ways of any goods (or services) that depend on exploitative labor practices, then this argument will carry more weight, IMO. Until then, it feels to me more like a proxy for more authentic and less palatable objections.

      It is good for all of us to think of “the utterly poor in China and other third-world countries” but I think we ought to think at least as earnestly and as often about those right here in our town who are less fortunate than we are. Anyone who feels morally compelled to boycott DG is free to do so. Depriving neighbors of the opportunity to make that choice on their own cannot be justified, IMO. As Nellie commented, “boycotting is the hobby of privilege.”

      1. I read something the other day on some political blog that I thought was rather simple but profound and it really stopped me in my tracks- replace free trade with fair trade. It was just out of context part of another sentence but wow! Can you image the global impact if just one first world country did that? I know it’s a pipe dream, but it seems so right on.

  41. Some points:
    I could understand objections based on their labor issues, if those were the objections raised.
    But, unfortunately, much of the crap we buy is made somewhere where workers are treated like dirt. Look at almost every non-food item on a store shelf. And for that matter, the houses that are (were) being built were built by workers being treated like dirt (but, of course, illegal immigrants choose to come here is the argument there), most people just aren’t aware of it.

    Also, I think “welcoming with open arms” is hardly necessary, but nor are they required to “make a pitch” to you or anyone to conduct lawful business.

    All that said, if people truly got behind the idea of boycotting them based on their (allegedly) miserable human rights record and trying to get them to change, I’d support it. But I have a problem with blocking businesses just because they don’t help the image of a community.

    1. Until we have labor laws that actually force employers to pay a living wag & offer benefits comparable to every other developed nation in the world and fair trade instead free trade, then ALL these big box stores- and yes, even often your independent merchants- are going to participate in some sort of exploitive behavior. It’s th price of cheap, plentiful consumer goods to which Americans feel entitled. And boycotting is the hobby of privilege. Best most folks can’t afford that luxury.

      I don’t know how I feel about this. But my anti-DG arguments run more towards the appropriateness of this kind of store in what is really a residential neighborhood with a few stores & a quiet commercial block in it. Despite what some of my neighbors say, there is no “downtown Oakhurst” and never has been- sadly, not even when Oakhurst was its own town 80 years ago. It’s a residential neighborhood. I know a neighbor 4 doors down does all his grocery shopping at the Hop & Shop. I also know that in the nearly 15 years I have owned my house, the traffic has gotten awful over here.

      I think the argument that DG will bring crime is off base, but that same poster mentioned the traffic, and I think that is where my concern lies. Unlike a lot of neighborhoods(Kirkwood and the shops along College, for example) that have small commercial districts, ours doesn’t have traffic lights and major arteries like Boulevard and College. This district is located smack in the middle of a high pedestrian traffic area near two parks and two schools and the Boys and Girls Club. The real question is how this car-friendly concept will impact that East Lake/Oakview traffic corridor. I don’t think it will be pretty…

      1. I agree with you Nellie that Dollar General doesn’t seem to be a good fit for our neighborhood. But, I have to disagree with you that Oakhurst is just a residential neighborhood and always has been. History does not really bear that out.

        Unlike Winnona Park and other Decatur neighborhoods, Oakhurst really started to develop once the Old Scottish Rite Hospital and the trolley line was built and the commercial district catered to that hospitial. There were 3-4 gas stations, a couple of grocery stores, a hardware store, etc. all before the bars and restaurants there today were opened. I even think that the site where the current Big H building is today once had a light industrial use before that building was built in the 1960’s.

        I don’t really think you can say that a neighborhood built around a hospital and a trolley line is purely residential in character. It is a mixture of used (before mixed use was a fad) and always has been.

        I don’t mind a little bit of traffic – I think that represents a healthy and thriving neighborhood and I wouldn’t characterize the traffic today as “awful.” However, the addition of a DG in an inappropriate context (I agree that we should keep Oakhurst Village walkable in context) might put it over the top and is not necessarily the type of business and type of development we want to see there.

        1. But that was decades ago and the car addiction wasn’t what it is. The main traffic road isn’t that traveled compared to the other examples I mentioned,

          By the way, I didn’t say the store wasn’t a fit. I honestly don’t know. People said that about the Wal-Mart at Avondale, too. DM has pulled me onto his walkability bandstand and now I am just thinking about the impact of a retailer on that aspect of the area.

          1. One thing to remember is that plans are in place for streetscape improvements in the Oakhurst business district, which will have positive impacts on traffic speed and on safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The City developed the plans in consultation with a citizen task force a few years ago. Unfortunately, they’re held up at GDOT and who knows how much longer before they’re implemented. But they will be implemented.

            It’s hard to think of a concept for redeveloping the Big H property that would NOT bring increased traffic. The key there, as everywhere else in Decatur, is how we manage the traffic. (Besides, I remain convinced that a detectable proportion of DG’s customers would get there by means other than private autos.)

          2. Any grocery store has the problem of needing to attract cars. A Decatur co-op would face the same dilemma. Profit margins are so small and people so used to going to the grocery store once a week, instead of everyday, that you need a substantial amount of parking to even have a chance.

            In Decatur, the margin of error is even smaller than usual, as elevated real estate prices make taking on any risk of fewer than “normal” parking spaces even greater.

            1. I’ve wondered before if the mini-Kroger is a money loser, given that their prices are the same as their big volume stores. Kind of thought they’d make into one of those higher end concepts (can’t remember Kroger’s name for them) and add higher margin products.

              1. At least the 5th Ave traffic will be predictable as far as time – whenever school starts and lets out. I don’t think it will be all that terrible.

        2. Susan- I will admit in retrospect that I overstated about the district here. But I do feel that the evolution of this district is not comparable other districts like Kirkwood, and I do recall (I hope correctly) that the trolley was fairly integral to traveling to the hospital rather than the car.

      2. Not sure I’m buying the traffic argument, especially considering the wishful thinking concerning Trader Joe’s some people here have exhibited. The traffic that would bring would be exponentially greater than DG. Also,, it is has been suggested that people in the area are not the type to support a DG. So where would the traffic come from? Can’t claim both things are true. Dollar Generals, from my observation (I used to work in the shopping center construction business on the paving side and am quite familiar with retail development in the Metro area) are not a high traffic store. A few are, but that is because they are in areas that are already high traffic. They don’t draw people in who aren’t already there. My view is that the best to keep such a business out is not to shop there, and if that causes them to fail, great. But if they don’t fail then the notion that they have no place there was obviously wrong.

        1. Oh, I am not on the Trader Joe’s bus. Trust me! I definitely don’t think it belongs in that little plaza for the exact same reason- trebled. And I haven’t made any of those other arguments about people not supporting it. I think people might drive from Kirkwood, other parts of Decatur, allover the place to avoid traffic and crowds at Wal Mart and Target- think about it – quick place to pick up school supplies, cleaning products, etc. And I do think there are a lot carless people and seniors it could benefit. That’s why I say I don’t know where I stand, but the traffic worries me since I am a big walker and wanna be biker and people already act like jerks at the intersection of Oakview and East Lake. It will increase traffic on my street, I am sure, too, considering my proximity.

          Where Danneman’s is probably makes more sense for this concept, but it’s not vacant!

          1. Dang! It’s like double dutch trying to figure out where to click in! On the traffic stuff:

            Y’all may be too caught up in the old style Dollar General (with its emphasis on cars). Decatur’s “walk/bike” reputation surely grabbed Dollar General’s attention. Reading Decatur Metro would definitely make them (me too!) think a neighborhood grocery & a variety store are ranked at the top of folks’ wish lists. DG’s best strategy for entering intown markets:

            (1)Find an area where walkability is a community-wide focus.
            (2)Pinpoint an eclectic neighborhood with some existing retail & an expressed desire for more.
            (3)Determine that it has the right demographic mix for success: true needs + value savvy residents. Hipsters are a bonus….usually. (Discount oriented retailers ARE the new retail cool!)

            Gee! Oakhurst would seem to fit the ideal location target perfectly!

            1. I think that post is right on. I’ve seen several stories on CNBC about small (and sometimes not so small) discounters moving in to urban areas that have gentrified or semi-gentrified. I also saw a story about how some of these places are starting to add fresh produce in areas not near grocers. I think Walgreens was the store they profiled. I’d say this is the new normal (actually, I hope it’s the new normal, I’m afraid the new normal in terms of the economy may actually be worse).

          1. And exactly how privileged was MLK and his folks? I believe it was called the Civil Rights Movement for a reason.

      3. Thanks for your first paragraph. I have been thinking that the last couple days, but wasn’t quite sure how to summarize it.

        Cheap goods are a worldwide phenomenon, which impacts every community. So, because it’s near-impossible to do a whole scale revamp of labor laws, those concerned about such things must operate on an individual scale. It isn’t a perfect scale by any means, as it’s only as good as the individual’s understanding of the global economy. (something that none of us can truly gasp) So, as you said, people are strongly affected by marketing. You mentioned Target, I’ll throw in Ikea.

        Until any of these changes are made to labor laws and the subsidies that encourage cheaper goods at any cost, we must live with the results. As you said, that means that even individual local business will succumb to buying cheap items because that’s what a majority of us demand, in spite of our beliefs in some cases. It’s ingrained in us. However, there are businesses in many communities, and in Decatur, which know all about this and are deeply involved in their manufacturing processes and have found ways to stay afloat.

  42. Great point about the schools and residential focus of Oakhurst and that not fitting with a DG opening. Oakhurst has shown a commitment to independently owned businesses, and examples such as the farm to table program for the schools, the community garden, etc… that in my and many others opinion doesn’t mesh with a mass discount chain.

    1. Gosh, that sounds so nice. Will Oakhurst’s independently owned restaurants soon be doing the farm to table thing too? Locally grown produce, unfactoried chicken wings & cow burgers … you know, like Farm Burger. Y’all should really encourage them to do it as further proof of community commitment!

  43. I love the diversity of Oakhurst, the sense of community, and the independent businesses — all some of the reasons why I moved here. Dollar General does not belong in the neighborhood. It is not a matter of not supporting economic diversity; it is wanting a neighborhood that is Kavarna, MoJos and Hop and Shop, not Starbucks, Pizza Hut, and Dollar General.

    1. Buy Karvarna, MoJos and Hop’n’Shop only serve the needs of some of the people who live here. Why do you feel entitled to block retail that would serve the needs of other people? What is it about Dollar General that you think “doesn’t fit” here?

        1. It may dissapoint the “three guesses” crowd to know that I am not discounting the needs of some of my neighbors by being opposed to an Anytown, USA, national chain. I realize that some folks cannot afford to eat at our Oakhurst restaurants, but I wouldn’t support a McDonald’s moving in to “serve the needs” of people with dollar value meals.

          1. What if the wings and sandwich joint being displaced by Cakes and Ale moved in? Would you support that? Independently owned, inexpensive, small footprint.

              1. Because it is possible that Dollar General will lead to locally-owned businesses opening on that piece of property. Cheap Chinese food perhaps. There may actually may be more planned than just DG.

          2. Didn’t realize that McDonald’s sold laundry soap and other various sundries on their value menu. Horrible comparison.

            Again… the point is that it would serve a need to people that do actually exist here.

            Is it the prettiest, most desirable use of the space? That is for each individual to decide, but to keep throwing out these red herrings is quite revealing about a lot of individuals around here.

            1. Straw men.

              I have decided I am screwed whichever way you look by traffic between growth in the business district and 5th Avenue, so bring it on! So if you see Baby Nellie and Baby Nellie, Jr. tied to my front porch, please realize it is just to avoid having them plowed by piles of cars! :p

              1. Not meaning to threadjack (although we’ve beat one horse all weekend, impressive even for this crowd)….
                Both the volume and speed of traffic in Oakhurst have increased dramatically in the past ten years. It has been partly driven (sorry!) by the revitalization and evolution of our own little commercial district, but it also results from development/redevelopment of residential areas to the west and south of us. And that’s not going to stop or go away. The problem is that our traffic management has not kept up.

                IMO we need to continue nagging the City to help us with more aggressive traffic calming measures. The streetscape improvements in teh Oakhurst biz district, currently held hostage by GDOT, will help somewhat in that regard. Beyond that, I’m hoping that having a school at Fifth/Oakview again will provide needed leverage to manage traffic more effectively all over Oakhurst. I’d love to see the speed limit lowered on Oakview–35 mph is too fast as it is, and will be completely unacceptable once the school reopens. Maybe they’ll finally find a way to get control of the 4-way stop at Oakview/2nd, where you’re basically rolling the dice on any given occasion, as far as what other drivers are likely to do. Maybe we’ll get some enforcement of the 4-way stop at Oakview/Adams, which I’ve seen people run lots of times and I don’t even live near it or pass by it very often.

            2. Wait, McDonald’s doesn’t sell soap? Food is not a necessity? Thanks for the heads-up. A facile example, agreed, but not a red herring. The point is that needs can be met in various ways. A national chain that I can find in any stripmall across the land is not what I think needs to move into Oakhurst to provide us with reasonably priced shampoos. I think some folks are determined to assign nefarious motivations to those of us opposed to McDollar Generals. Sure, I can’t speak to everyone’s motivations, just as you cannot speak to mine. I am not a fan of national chains, formulaic stores, glowing yellow DG signs in this particular setting. NIMBY — absolutely.

              1. This response I can appreciate and respect. However, we are still talking about “taking up arms” against a private property owner. That is a slippery slope. As I said in my very first post in this thread, be careful what you ask for. Someone may decide they don’t like the look of your property next week.

              2. I can only appreciate and respect this response if it comes with at least one specific example of an independent retailer that offers shampoo (and other basic necessities, and groceries) at reasonable prices. By “reasonable” I mean prices comparable to those available at discount mass merchandisers.

              3. I also think that you have to consider the other things that go along with an independent retailer vs. a big box national chain with no local ownership besides saving a quarter on the price of a bar of soap.

                Is a local businessowner more likely give some of his or her profits back to the community for charitable purposes? We see many examples of such in Decatur … not so much stores like CVS or Ruby Tuesday, though.

                Is a local businessowner more likely to hire from within the community, providing jobs to the very people who you say you’re trying to help? Would they pay higher wages to workers? I’d rather provide a job to one of my neighbors that save them a few dollars a year on cheap paper products and household goods.

              4. Honestly, Susan, I bet there are plenty of people within a couple blocks that will be working there. Are the Universal Joint, Kavarna, Mojo & Steinbeck’s employees all local? Not so much. Some of the Matador people are.

  44. I wonder…if there was a “Decatur Metro block party” how many would show up and identify themselves.

  45. In case there’s any doubt about whether the Dollar General may be moving into the old NAVO space: I was walking by the NAVO lot on Wednesday night and noticed a gentleman doing something with the sign and taking notes. He asked me about my dogs as I walked by, so I took the opportunity to ask him if he had bought the property. He said he worked for DG and that they were evaluating the site for a store. According to him it wasn’t a done deal, but he said it was likely going to happen. My husband was with me as I headed back home a few minutes later, and we stopped to talk again, so he also heard the plan. Anyway, I hope it doesn’t happen.

  46. What needs does Hop n Shop, Kavarna, Mojo’s etc…not serve for all Oakhurst residents? You can get pricey coffee vs. grabbing some Maxwell house at Hop n Shop. Pizza too expensive?

    1. 13 dollars for a medium cheese pizza is not exactly inexpensive. Not sure if you realize that there are many residents in the area that live on food stamps; a five dollar Little Caesars pizza would be more in line with there budget.

  47. Again, here is where I come down on this.

    I want to see this property redeveloped in a way that will actually have a mix of businesses (and maybe housing, including affordable housing) that will appeal to all demographics in Oakhurst and the surrounding area (rich and poor, black and white, newcomers and oldtimers). Something that everyone can utilize and be proud of.

    However, if you support Dollar General going in, what you are supporting is that everything stays the same … except that there is a Dollar General occupying a third of the building. You get no redvelopment, you get not alternative uses out of the property. Bruce will feel no pressure to actually improve the property or sell it to someone who will, so long as rent income is coming in.

    So if you like the way the Big H property looks now, then support DG going in. If you actually want to apply pressure to Bruce Cohen to sell the property to someone who knows what they are doing, oppose it.

    1. Susan, I get that you have a personal grudge against Bruce. What I don’t get is why you believe that a campaign of public embarrassment and censure will cause him to make different business decisions. It hasn’t worked before–leaving aside the question of whether or not it should.

      Be careful what you wish for. I personally would hate to see Bruce get so disgusted he took the next offer, no matter what. We could wind up with something worse than we have now.

      1. I’m not the only one in this town, Smalltown.

        The circumstances that led to his obtaining that property are enough to give the public the right to scrutinize his business decisions there, but that is another story for another day.

        1. Actually, Susan, why is it not a story for today? I’ve got enough stories of Bruce and Vision being lousy landlords and keeping eyesore and property-devaluing buildings to tell all day. But I don’t know the story of how he obtained the Big H property. I can imagine what you’re getting at, but I really don’t the story and don’t want to cast undue aspersions (I will cast ’em again and again when I know they’re due!). What are the circumstances that give us the right to further scrutiny here???

      2. No, I don’t think we could get worse than what we have now. Zoning and local ordinances won’t let it get worse. It’s already bottom of the barrel.

        1. It may not get worse, but someone could build exactly the same thing as what is there now based on local zoning. Local zoning actualy encourages it, since you would need all of that parking for the size building it is.

          I think this was an issue brought up by one of the candidates in the last campaign, which was essentially ignored by the voters and has been since.

          We need a Oakhurst business district zoning overlay now!

    2. Why would anyone sell in a down market? How do you know there isn’t more than just a Dollar General moving in? Redevelop a property like that in this economy? Unrealistic.

  48. Is anybody else thinking else this might be the best market entry strategy EVER? If Dollar General’s going to face community resistance anyway, then why not somehow get the nimby folks to air it out with everybody else online? Sure beats standard media for getting DG’s case presented! Some nimby positions won’t stand up to scrutiny; others will pinpoint areas to address. Many of the folks starting out with a nimby position will rethink it for the greater good. (More will probably scurry to keep from being lumped in with emotions fueled crowd.) And Dollar General’s THE talk of Decatur. WOW! BRILLIANT!!!

  49. Susan you are right on. There are thousands of examples of organized neighborhoods having a voice and affecting change. No reason we can’t at least communicate to Bruce and Vision. Couldn’t agree with you any more than this development currently vacant is a ton better than a Dollar General going in there. Is Bruce and Vision members of the Oakhurst Business Association?

    1. That is what you want to communicate to him? “Sir. we’d rather your property stay vacant than you lease it to a legitimate business that makes us look uncool.”
      Let me know how that conversation goes.

  50. Confirmed – and set to open in mid-Feb. Was not able to get confirmation on if it will be a regular DG or a DG Market.

      1. There will be no other tenants moving in. The rent DG will pay in one year will be more revenue that Bruce has seen for this property in the 10 years he has owned the property.

    1. DG Market. For the love of God, let it be a DG Market! My opinions of the landlord’s past actions aside, I think the Market concept will be a surprisingly welcome addition to Oakhurst.

  51. I don’t see how anyone can argue that having a Dollar General as the village’s most prominent business will do anything but hurt Oakhurst’s image and our property values!

    1. And there it is folks, the property values argument. Took 200 plus posts to get it, maybe a little longer than it would have taken in Buckhead or Alpharetta. For the first time in memory, I am not proud to live in Decatur.

      1. It is my growing impression that many, many, many issues in Decatur, especially those handled behind the scenes by the big movers and shakers, are driven by property values, residential and business.

      2. What’s wrong with the property values argument? There is a, quote-unquote, “substantial” number of homeowners in Oakhurst who put down large amounts of savings, and/or took out serious mortgages, or have made financial sacrifices in order to live in this community. They did so for a variety of legitimate reasons, like access to quality Decatur schools, or shorter commutes, or walkable lifestyles, or to start businesses in an area that supports independent ventures.

        In short, they have invested a lot here, and have a serious interest in this place because of it. God bless ’em for it.

        If that makes you ashamed to live here, then that sounds like a you problem.

        1. The strength of your home value here has everything to do with City Schools of Decatur and to a much smaller extent the incredible bang for the buck we get in city services.

          I hate to tell you this, but your home value (assuming it is in Oakhurst) is going to go up now with the twice a day headache of traffic flowing into and out a brand spanking new 5th Ave.

          You property values have not suffered because of a blight, nor will it suffer because of DG’s bright yellow sign.

          1. I’m not really making the property values argument, I’m just defending the validity of it. It matters to some people, and rightfully so.

    2. I know the whole newbie vs. old/true/legitimate Decaturite (in this case, specifically Oakhurstian) discussion is usually just some sort of veiled name-calling or one-upsmanship, but I think I can safely say that Ann, if she actually lives in Oakhurst, has lived there for less than 10 years.

      See, if she had lived there at least 15 years ago, she’d remember the Big H when it was still in business. Then her point of comparison would be Big H/Dollar General. I’m pretty sure there’s nobody around here that would argue that a DG in that space would devalue their property as compared to the Big H. But now we have the new folks who bought into the community at the tail end of the real estate mirage, and their comparison is not even vacant building vs. Dollar General, it’s Dollar General vs. Trader Joes/Farmer’s Market/whatever the heck they personally think should be in there.

      C’mon folks, those of you who are adamantly opposed to DG in the stated name of preserving some sort of community standards and property values are sadly missing some much needed perspective. Go out and talk to you neighbors who have lived there for 20, 30, 40 years; the ones who are living on fixed incomes and use food stamps. What, you say, we don’t have those neighbors in “our Oakhurst”? Yes you do. They’re the ones whose houses you wish were kept up just a little nicer because they bring down the values on your street. They don’t have the same vision of “our Oakhurst” as you do.

      You bought into an idea of an evolving, improving neighborhood. You got in, hopefully early enough and for cheap enough, and you thought that there was no where to go but up. Property values would keep rising, bars and restaurants and cute little stores that “we” like would keep opening up and there would always be fancy coffee with free wifi and dog parks for “us” to enjoy. And it worked out just like everyone thought it would. Until it didn’t anymore. Oops.

      I have no idea if what we are seeing now is the neighborhood starting to reclaim itself; or a blip on the road to recovery; or, most likely, just a false alarm being sounded by the Dollar General is coming, sky-is-falling crowd. But I can’t help but be amused by the knee-jerk, self-interest revealing reactions of so many. Take a step back. Look around. See what you neighborhood IS and what it WAS rather than what you expected it to be. If it’s not what you want it to be, then do something to make it better. I promise you, whether or not Dollar General opens a store will not affect your property values in any significant way. There are much greater economic and political forces at work.

      Oakhurst has always been and, because of it’s geography likely always will be, a sort of borderland between cultures, both racially and economically. You may not like this and you may wish that this was not so. In fact, many people bought into the neighborhood assuming that it would soon not be so. Then the economy tanked, real estate values plummeted and the trajectory of change in the neighborhood became much less certain. This was the risk that many did not see.

      This thread may superficially be about Dollar General coming to Oakhurst, but it’s really about much more. Or maybe it just provides a unique looking glass into the minds and souls of many in our community. I’m not smart enough to make sense of it all nor eloquent enough to communicate what I do see. I do know that it makes me question the motives and character of many of my neighbors, and that makes me a little sad.

      1. An excellent summary, Karass. I think you nailed it. Many people seem to be still under the illusions created by the housing bubble (or mirage, as you aptly called it).

      2. Your sense of moral superiority, and putting thoughts into the minds of anyone who moved here less than 10 years ago, is what I find sad. It also discounts all of the hard work that many people who have lived here less than 10 years have put into making this neighborhood better. And many of those efforts have had the most direct impact on helping our low income seniors whether it be through the MLK Project or just making our streets safer with less crime.

        You may think that things were “better” 15 years ago, but I’d bet if you went on the streets and asked people the vast majority (including seniors) would give you a different answer.

        1. This whole thread makes me sad. People who have “diversity” of opinion on this are branded as elitist snobs, racists, hypocrites, etc.

          Some people just have different visions for the neighborhood than others. That doesn’t make them evil.

          1. Don’t be sad TeeRuss.

            You must remember that the way democracy works is that only one of us has all the “right” answers. We just need to fight to the death to figure out who it is. 🙂

          2. This is how I’ve felt about CSD issues as well. People have different assumptions, priorities, experiences, and visions but it’s not about good and evil. Actually, while parents can have opposing opinions on what should happen in CSD, what they have in common is their passion for the schools they love and want to improve or maintain. It’s my growing impression that property values and business issues also play a role in these decisions but it’s not always obvious to the passionnate parents.

      3. Thank you J_T. You summed up exactly what’s been bothering me.

        The inability of some of the commenters to look beyond the comfort of their own lives is truly disheartening. There is such a “what’s in it for me?” mentality around these days. How can some of the Oakhurst residents not get that their elderly neighbors are living on fixed incomes of under $1000/month? If a senior is fortunate, their home is owned free & clear. Unfortunately, many have refinanced in order to survive- in large part due to tax bills that have soared from gentrification.

        Decatur proudly proclaims volunteerism & involvement. However there seems to be a major disconnect going on here. Everybody gets that all the efforts & fund raising go towards addressing real needs, right? For instance: Decatur’s annual MLK Jr Weekend of Service isn’t just a “feel good” opportunity for citizens. It’s a 3 day effort to assist some- not all by any stretch- of our wonderful seniors who are living below poverty level 365 days a year. Almost all of these seniors live in the Oakhurst vicinity. Saving 25¢ on items makes a huge difference to their quality of life. Why would you not count it as a blessing that their needs will now be met within the neighborhood too?

        Village is a concept of community. Please please please! Look into your hearts & resolve to do better.

        1. Look inside my heart and resolve to do better by supporting a big, national, diccount chain coming into the neighborhood?

          I’m sorry, but my liberal, white guilt does not extend that far.

          1. Can’t help you with the guilt thing. Why not graciously accept the new business (done deal, right?) & put the efforts into finding merchants to fill the rest of the space? Now that DG’s signed on, that should actually be an easier task.

          2. Why not graciously accept the new business (done deal, right?) & put the efforts into finding merchants to fill the rest of the space? Now that DG’s signed on, that should actually be an easier task.

      4. Wow, that’s quite a lengthy analysis of my opinion, its motives, and my very character. I’m thoroughly offended at some of the accusations being made against those of us who aren’t jumping for joy at the idea of a Dollar General moving into the village. My mistake, however, was to open myself up to others’ attacks by not being clear about why I don’t want to see a DG move into Oakhurst village. These chain discount stores are a blight on communities for a slew of reasons: 1) they close down small businesses; 2) they sell environmentally unfriendly crap often made in underdeveloped countries where there are no labor laws; 3) they turn around and sell this stuff to us at a huge profit, little of which goes to our communities, and 4) they seldom pay anything more than minimum wage to local people who work there, and are good about making sure few are full-time so they can get health insurance. I think Oakhurst can do better, although of course we don’t have a choice since it’s private property. To me, though, it’s not in keeping with the image I have of Oakhurst as being a socially-conscious community. There are other ways to help the poor and elderly.

        And accusing someone who expresses concern about property values of being elitist, bigoted, or selfish, as another person did, is disingenuous at best, and malicious at worst. It’s not code for anything except that I don’t want to have to live in a refrigerator box in Piedmont Park when I retire. On this point, though, I agree with J_T that DG probably won’t have an effect since it is only one business in an otherwise great neighborhood.

        Y’all need to stop the name-calling and listen to each other.

        1. “These chain discount stores are a blight on communities for a slew of reasons:”

          But your reasons don’t stand up to logic or scrutiny:

          1)What small business are they going to close down in Oakhurst or even Decatur for that matter? They don’t sell alcohol, cigarettes or lottery tickets. Hop ‘n Shop will be just fine. In fact with Hop ‘n Shop’s fairly large expansion of craft beer selection, their business must be booming. I love how good businesses learn to adapt.

          2)You may have missed it, but this point has been discussed here and shown to be a straw man. You can’t avoid this situation in America. You just can’t AND be a consumer.

          3)Absolutely false, proven also in this thread. Their corporate outreach specifically targets their communities. Furthermore as far as huge profits, why don’t you get upset at Hop ‘n Shop for overcharging for their large craft beer selection as opposed to say what YDFM charges?

          4)As opposed to what other local businesses pay and how many full-time employees they have? Surely you jest.

          I honestly don’t think any less of someone opposed to DG. It is your right to have your opinion and you have the right to express it. I just have a problem with the logic that those opposed to it try to use.

          1. Hey Swanny. Just got back from my fact-finding trip to my nearest Dollar General after reading your reply. (I drove my solar-powered car, of course, so I wouldn’t be accused of being a hypocrite when talking about environmental issues.) I have to say I that you’re right about my arguements 1 and 4 not standing up in this case. I really was talking about these stores in general, but you’re right that we should analyze it in terms of this particular situation. However, on points 2 and 3, I think my arguments stand and are important. (Of course, like everyone else on this board, I am stubborn.)

            Point 1) You say DG won’t hurt Hop ‘n Shop’s business. My husband, who does go there, informed me that they pretty much only sell beer, pop, cigarettes and lottery tickets. So, they won’t be greatly affected by DG. (BTW, DG does sell lottery tickets.) I concede.

            Point 2) However, the fact that DG makes no attempt to offer environmentally-friendly products, plus the cost of shipping all that crap over here, is significant. There are many companies in the US trying to reduce their environmental impact and working on using and selling local products. Most stores carry recycled paper products, for example, organic foods, etc. I could not find one recycled paper product on my visit to DG, nor do they carry any organic foods. (In fact, I doubt whether most of the food, never mind the paper products, is even biodegradable.)

            Point 3) Regarding DG’s corporate outreach – and I admit I am just guessing here – it’s probably a drop in the bucket compared to their profits, which do not go into our community. I’d prefer seeing money come to our community through small locally-owned business rather than from charity from some big corporation. I know that a number of the local business including Nectar and Mezcalita’s are family-owned and operated. (I verified this information.)

            Point 4) Okay, I’m not sure how much employees at these local businesses make, but again, many of them are family-owned and operated. Whether they pay their family members decently or have insurance, I don’t know. Maybe you’ve got me on this one too. I hate that…

            Anyway, I think everyone has valid points. And I appreciate the lively discussion. Not that any of this matters because it’s not our property to lease out or sell. We all need to find hobbies.

            P.S. Thanks for not talking to me like I’m the scum of the earth because I disagree with you. You rock! Even if you are wrong : )

  52. I just hope that if it is a DG Market store, they have organic milk. If not, I’ll be using their coupons to shop at Publix.

    Note to Dollar General–l if you are reading this blog: Watch Food Inc. if you want to survive in Decatur.
    It’s all about survival of the fittest. If you don’t pay attention to your buying demographic, than so be it. I will look forward to the next business that will be in there in 2012.

    1. “It’s all about survival of the fittest”

      I wish more people were making that argument, instead of having unrealistic and self-centered visions about what someone else should do with their property.

    1. Yeah, a lot of people would have made Decatur look like it’s full of elitist snobs over nothing. Funny.

  53. I don’t care if they sell organic milk. Walmart sells organic milk, and they are the scourge of modern society. IMO, of course. : )

  54. Oh, I thought you said “private property”. It is always interesting to me how “folks” will tout their ideas about how others should manage their property, as if their opinion has inherent value.
    You think a property should be something else. Buy it and you handle it the way you want to.

    Rumors, gossip and allegations about Vision and Bruce. Shame on you.
    I have had personal experience with Bruce. In fact, for me he has been reasonable while still being a business man.
    Does your anger with him result from him not running his business they way you think he should?
    Have you been a landlord? Owned a business? or, do you take your paycheck on Friday and grip about how unfair it all is …?

    Yep, it is his business, not yours

  55. But it’s not his community.

    These types of arguments and attitudes are the reason corporations now have more rights than people and developers have more rights than the people who live in neighborhoods and built those neighborhoods. Somehow in the last 30 years we’ve lost the sense of community standards that drew us together in the past because of some fake sense of property rights entitlement.

    I think this kind of attitude is the reason we have the types of disconnected, highway bound communities we have now. Now, I am not arguing against the DG based on this, but against this mindset that allows “property owners” and developers to pop up destroy the character of a neighborhood. Whether you mean to argue that or not, that’s upshot of what you are saying. I think there has to be a balance between what the community standards are and what the property owner can do.

    1. I agree with you that such a balance should be struck. But cmon, were talking about a discount store, not a strip club. I know you personally are not arguing against DG for these reasons, but for most of the people here it is pure snobbery and prejudice. We have had at least one person on this board say that poor people will not help the image of the community. And another make not so vague references to the skin color of shoppers. Yeah, some of them will walk back from these comments and make it about the traffic (not including you in this) but just what kind of development will not bring more traffic? It’s the type of traffic they are worried about,i.e the type of people, and it is so transparent. I hope people remember when the news media gets hold of this story (which they will if any kind of protest is mounted) that reporters read these blogs too, and it won’t be so easy to frame your opposition as pure and noble.

      1. I never said I was opposed, so don’t put words in my mouth. I have plenty of my own and if I was opposed I would state that clearly.

        I think you are getting a little too defensive.I actually agree with a lot of what you and Swanny and JT have posted. I actually don’t know how I feel about the store- I see the benefits and I prefer it much more than some mixed used condo development. But I worry about the Hop n Shop (which is much improved over the years, though I guess a lot of people don’t know that) and about the impact on my street. Can’t help that.

        I mentioned traffic. I am a block away and have lived in my house for nearly 15 years. The traffic now is too heavy for my taste, that intersection having turned into some sort of Cannonball Run, and my street is becoming a cut through. My street is also full of children, toddlers and seniors and folks in wheelchairs. I am concerned about traffic both from this and 5th Avenue. DG and 5th Avenue surround me.

        What I say above has nothing to do with the DG, but everything to do with how we have allowed corporations and developers to take over our culture because somehow we think their rights outweigh ours. I can see how you would take it that way, but I just get a little tired of the concept of immutable property rights for corporations and developments- which isn’t exactly how things should work and isn’t exactly healthy for communities and individuals- and jumped on a soap box. 🙂

      2. Someone is opposed to DG because of the crime in their parking lot. Come on people. These are all code words for race and class and based on unreasionable fear. This is not why I, my family and friends choose to be a part of this community. As for the slurs on Bruce, why do you imply he is a “sl_m lord”? I actually rent from him at present (after restoring 3 homes in Decatur that I owned and I do not care to be a homeowner for a while) and I find him a very reasonable owner, who maintains very well the property I live in.

  56. Really?
    276 comments and counting because some dude asked for directions?
    I can’t wait to see this site after someone signs a lease.

      1. Thought maybe I missed it but a search of all the posts for the terms “lease”, “signed”, “contract” ,”agreement” turns up nothing to support that.

          1. Thanks DM. It’s a hard slog through all these comments to find something.
            You’d think Dollar General used faux blue marble effects on their decor or something.

  57. Just so I have this straight in my mind, we, collectively as a community, support a mixed-use housing/retail development with non-corporate businesses that sell organic products but produces no further traffic for Oakhurst in the Big H space. Mmmmm. Which in my mind computes to we all want we want, selling what only we want to buy, designed and built how we want it to look with only pedestrians and cyclists as patrons. The problem is the “we” as “we” do not all want the same exact things. I spoke about this to one of my elderly neighbors over the weekend and after we made it past the concept of a “blog” I was met with excitement on her behalf as she said how great it would be to walk just three blocks to Dollar General rather than having to take Marta out of the city. That’s what she “wants”. I told her I would keep her posted.

    1. Glad someone is reporting the opinion of a non-wired member of the community, of which I’m sure there are many.

  58. The arguments against DG, the possibility of increased traffic, and the stated belief that this use of the Vision property will result in decline in property value and shame the face of Oakhurst are very transparent to me. From where I stand, the DG general store will prove to be a huge benefit to Oakhurst residents. If you have “better ideas,” maybe you should invest your own $ in buying and developing the Vision property and we’ll see how your business model goes over in the REAL Oakhurst world. I would love to hear Bruce Cohen’s opinion of the morass of complaints and replies that have appeared on this blog during the past few days.

  59. For a bunch of people who repeatedly stated in the Strategic Planning process that you wanted “all kinds of diversity” in Decatur, some of you sure are getting annoyed at the vast DIVERSITY of opinions on a subject. 🙂

    1. But we ARE a diverse community. We just happen to vote for one party 75% of the time (Oakhurst closer to 80%)

      And no, this isn’t a R vs. D debate, just enjoy pointing out the canard that we actually live in a ‘diverse’ community. We’re just as homogenous in many ways as Alpharetta, just on the other end of the spectrum.

      1. Sorry, can’t agree with that. Know Alpharetta (and neighboring Forsyth) well, and they are much more homogeneous than Decatur in pretty much every way. Maybe Decatur is close to as one-sided politically as Alpharetta, but in all other areas it’s a whitewash, so to speak.

    2. I like diversity as long as it’s my diversity. Some of my friends who are in favor of diversity, their kind of course, don’t know what the entire southwest part of Atlanta looks like.

      1. Heck, many of my friends and neighbors don’t know what 2 miles southwest of Oakhurst looks like. And that’s exactly the disconnect that produces the kind of argument that’s happening here.

  60. Is a local businessowner more likely give some of his or her profits back to the community for charitable purposes?
    Actually, some of the most generous supporters to our community causes and initiatives over the years have included national corporations–Lowes and Safeco, to name two that I personally know about.

  61. No on has been more committed to this community than Bruce. It’s sad that folks feel obliged to spread talk that is so far from the truth, and that there is so little understanding about the effort to bring good businesses (like a grocery store) to the area.

    1. Perhaps if he would return phone calls/emails/ etc. on this and other issues over the years, this would not be such a debate on his community commitment. Donating use of a parking lot for a festival isn’t exactly “deeply committed.”

      1. Making the Big H parking lot available for the BBQ fest is far from being the only contribution Bruce has made to this community. It just happens to have occurred recently (this year, anyway–he’s done it every year since the event moved to Oakhurst).

  62. As a “middlecomer” to Oakhurst, I moved in 11 years ago and in getting involved in the community I got to know many longtime residents, because that’s who was running activities and volunteering. Plus, as a white, middle-class householder I was in the minority, so if I wanted to know my neighbors I had to find common ground with people who were pretty different from myself. Race was easy, age was pretty easy, religion was no more difficult than it had ever been, but it turned out that being on different economic footing was a significant challenge, sometimes. It means that so many things we often take for granted in our friendships, can’t be taken for granted. It means that it’s easy to be insensitive, and none of us likes knowing we’ve been insensitive. It takes work.

    Over the years I’ve observed that we now have two distinct communities in Oakhurst, and one doesn’t realize the other even exists. It’s not about race, it’s about money. As property values rose, the people who could afford to buy in were naturally more and more affluent. At a certain point, it was possible for the higher economic stratum to move in and find a viable community consisting of themselves and each other. I see these new neighbors, and they are nice people but they somehow seem not to see everything–and everyone–around them. If this isn’t you, then don’t take it personally. If it might be you, then all I ask is that you think about it.

    To be fair, many of our longtime neighbors are sort of invisible, if you don’t seek them out. The senior citizens who were still running n’hood activities and initiatives when I arrived, have “retired” and cheerfully handed over the batons to younger, more energetic folks. That’s fair and appropriate, but it means if you didn’t get here in time to work directly with them in the Oakhurst N’hood Assn, and putting on the Oakhurst Art & Music Festival, and making a Christmas party to light the Harmony Park tree and have Santa come for the kids (formerly an annual event), then you won’t know them personally unless you go find them. They don’t like to go out at night, so you won’t often see them at meetings or other functions. And while they are glad our biz district got revitalized and is now safe and clean, you also won’t run into them at our cute Oakhurst watering holes–eating out is not in their budget.

    Then there are the younger households in Oakhurst that you may not see at all if you aren’t looking. Some have been here for a long time. Some are renters who are relatively new, too. The thing they have in common is being in a different economic bracket than recent home buyers. They probably won’t be at n’hood meetings or volunteering at festivals, for either (or both) of two primary reasons: working multiple jobs with no spare time or energy, or simply not feeling welcome. I can understand why.

    We “middle-comers” who know the old guard personally tend to get riled up when we hear relative newcomers talk about “their” community and what “most” people want. All we want, really, is for everybody to try and look beyond your own comfort zone and see what else and who else is around you. If you don’t, then you’re missing out on the very best thing about living here.

    1. Not that it has any bearing on the topic, but I suspect many of the older residents you are talking about who own their own homes outright are actually “wealthier” than people who bought in the middle of the last decade. If national averages apply, many of those people are for all intents and purposes “broke,” though their lifestyle may not reflect it (yet).

      1. Anybody who owns a home in Oakhurst outright is far ahead of most of us in terms of overall wealth. Day-to-day liquidity is another matter. When I see a neighbor in her late 70s going back to work part-time in order to afford her property taxes, it doesn’t seem important that she owns her house outright. She could sell her house and be financially comfortable for the rest of her life, probably, in a small condo in the suburbs, isolated from her friends and neighbors and church (and MARTA), but she wants desperately to stay here, where she raised her family and built her life (while working two jobs, BTW).

        1. Thank you small town gal. On the FFFA thread, I have need commenting about the MARTA cutbacks of bus service. Neighborhoods south of the tracks are being disproportionately and adversely affected. Bus routes serving Oakhurst and East Atlanta. (# 22 and #18) are being eliminated. I have ridden both of those routes, and what I saw is most of the users are elderly, lower income, and African American.

  63. “It also discounts all of the hard work that many people who have lived here less than 10 years have put into making this neighborhood better. And many of those efforts have had the most direct impact on helping our low income seniors whether it be through the MLK Project or just making our streets safer with less crime.”
    The Oakhurst N’hood Association has functioned continually for nearly 40 years, and it took a hell of a lot more effort and commitment to keep it going during the first 20 years than it does now. No one is discounting the hard work of volunteers in the past ten years. But we inherited the organization and the culture of volunteering and mutual support, we didn’t create it and nurture it through the truly tough times. The ones who did, are some of the ones who could benefit so much from having a DG store down the street.

    The MLK Service Project is a fantastic initiative and a credit to our community. What I don’t understand is, if we’re willing to step up one weekend a year and help people who need it, why wouldn’t we welcome a retailer that could make life better for those same people throughout the rest of the year?

  64. I’m tired of all this crap about landlords. Nobody has worked harder to bring a good store to us than the owner of that shopping center. But you can’t make a Whole Foods go where Whole Foods thinks they won’t make money. Trader Joe’s too.

  65. 300 plus comments…wow!
    can’t wait to see what pretty wife brings home from her next power walk 🙂

  66. Smtowngal, it is my view that senior citizens who have lived in a home more than a certain number of years should be exempt from property taxes.

    1. I would support that and not just because my aging process seems to be unidirectional. I felt that way when my 92 year old grandmother lived in her home of 65 years with one bathroom, no central air, and a wringer washer and clothesline, in the middle of a totally yuppified neighborhood and astronomical taxes. We might want to have some kind of assets limit attached since there are truly wealthy seniors who benefited from family wealth, good salaries, and excellent retirement benefits and insurance, from the days when those things actually existed.

        1. The devilish details I’d support are: over 65 and at least 20 years in the same house would mean zero or minimal property tax.

          1. Hate to see gentrification push folks on fixed incomes out of their lifelong homes.
            I’d go for a rate freeze after a certain age.

            1. I think there is some sort of freeze or limits on seniors’ property taxes. Where’s Scott??

      1. Or we could just lower everyone’s taxes, as opposed to more of the same “tax the rich” BS that’s gotten us to where we are today. Just sayin.

        1. God, I’m pathetic. I can’t resist.

          How did taxing the rich put us in serious amounts of debt? (assuming that’s the “BS” you’re referring to) Because I’m pretty sure politicians of all political persuasions have continued to spend regardless of how much money was coming in.

          1. Tax rates on “the rich” are at about the lowest levels now as they have been in the past 100 years.

          2. DM — It didn’t, at least directly. The over spending, of course, is not entirely related to taxes on the rich, or anyone else, for that matter. Over spending and taxes aren’t necessarily related. You can tax the rich and spend within your means, for example. Or you can impose low taxes across the board and spend very little.

            Where we’ve erred is in the belief that we can tax only the “rich” to pay for government, and leave the poor and middle class effectively untaxed, at least in terms of income taxes. And my post was in response to adopting a variant of this to local property taxes. Of course, that’s already in play to some extent on the federal level through the AMT. To wit, lower income brackets can deduct the full amount of local taxes from federal income tax liability, whereas for many others, that deduction is “phased out.”

            In response to Marshall, I believe you are wrong. In the 1980s the top marginal bracket was 28%. Now, it’s 35%, scheduled to rise to 39.6% in 2011, unless Congress decides to extend the Bush tax cuts. Even if 35% were the lowest in 100 years, it is certianly not low in any absolute sense. I’ll also point out that the upper brackets now start at income levels that are not “rich.” I think a married couple starts paying 30-35% if they earn over $200,000. A nice living, to be sure, but hardly rich, especially when most such couples live in major metro areas where the cost of living is quite high. Decatur and Atlanta generally are full of 30 and 40-somethings earning 200 grand, yet who have no net assets.

            1. Just a question, not a challenge: The middle class is undertaxed? I thought the middle class is traditionally burdened the most by taxes–they earn too much for exemptions for the poor but not enough to be able to use the deductions or loopholes that are often accessible to the wealthy.

            2. I’ve spent my entire life in either the poor or the middle class, and I’ve NEVER been “effectively untaxed” on my income.

            3. Uh, DEM, the top marginal tax rate in 1963 was 91%. Throughout the 1930s it was 40%. For most of the 80s it was 50%. The 28% you quote was only in effect for 3 years in the late 80s.Of course, the level income that was taxable varied wildly. The concept of low taxes on high earners is relatively new- really only coming into vogue in the 1980s. It’s also incredibly naive to claim the middle class doesn’t pay its taxes. The middle class actually bears the highest percentage tax burden of anyone when you take into account payroll, income, state, property and sales tax. Even Greenspan is turning Friedman, and he actually knew the man.

    2. I’m not quite willing to go that far–the money has to come from someplace, and I’m battling to stay here myself. On the other hand, I am totally in favor of the special homestead exemptions available in Decatur for seniors of limited means, and wouldn’t categorically oppose expanding those. Meanwhile, I believe strongly in doing everything we can to keep our community affordable in other ways, which includes having a variety of retail that serves a variety of residents. That will ensure that Decatur remains (or becomes again) a welcoming and feasible place to live for senior citizens but for households at any age and life-stage who are not affluent. And it is becoming more and more important as MARTA cuts back.

      1. meant to say “welcoming and feasible place to live not only for senior citizens but also for”

  67. I wonder if as part of the lease, Dollar General will require that no streetfront retail or outparcels can be built in front of the current building?

    This is often the case with these big box, suburban style national chain stores because they don’t like for their signs to be blocked or obscured and they like for customers to see a big sea of empty parking spaces to encourage them to come in.

    In my opinion that would be a real shame, regardless of what you think about the substance of having a Dollar General in the neighborhood. It would virtually prevent the expansion of the type of walkable, village feel that currently exists in Oakhurst.

    1. Marshall, Dollar General is a discount chain, but they’re not like the big-box stores in terms of their footprint. They specialize in small stores (7000-9000 sq ft). Their build-to-suit parking requirements are a minimum of 30 spaces (not exactly a sea of asphalt, relatively speaking), and I know of several specific locations that have far fewer than that.

      There’s every reason to hope their Oakhurst location will be a Dollar General Market. But even if it’s not, it’ll still benefit a lot of us.

      We’ve been waiting for a long time for some magical redevelopment of the Big H property, and reasonable people can differ about what the ideal would be and how it should come about. Meanwhile, here’s a chance for access to groceries and basic necessities at discount prices, within walking distance. For many, it’ll be a godsend as MARTA cuts back bus routes. Personally, I can’t wait to see how many car trips to supermarkets and real big-box discounters I can eliminate, substituting a bike ride or a stroll (with my little wheeled shopping cart) down to my neighborhood Dollar General.

    2. Now we are talking about some positive ideas. I think through the planning or zoning of the Plaza where CVS is located downtown, the developer was required to build (at least at the corner) up on the sidewalk line. I would be all for that urban design guideline being applicable to the Village. BTW, I agree a DG type store would benefit many residents of Decatur, and since it is private property, the owner can bring any development the fits the zoning. I think we would appear silly (at best) protesting based on the store not meeting our approval.

    3. Even if that’s in their standard lease terms, they may be quite willing to reevaluate things should an outparcel proposal ever come up. After all, other businesses add to their potential draw. DG may also be seeking to soften the parking lot effect these days. I shopped at their new N.GA Mtns standalone store recently, and its parking lot is 30 cars max. Wouldn’t hurt to nicely inquire about landscaping/parking lot improvements now that the property will be in retail mode again.

      The new DG expanded groceries (non mkt) concept rocks too. Mom checked out that same DG this weekend to match her impressions against mine. (She’s usually an Earthfare/Farmer’s Market/Fancy Ingles shopper; I’m more Aldi/Kroger/YDFM.) She’s pretty giddy about its prospects for short list shopping. Thank goodness she didn’t take her cell phone in because she still gave me an aisle-by-aisle summary of all the items she liked! She did learn from chatting with some locals in line that they are beyond thrilled at having it within walking distance.

  68. well, my family has lived in decatur since the 30s, of my elderly relatives, they are ecstatic about a dollar general coming within walking / 30 second driving distance. Especially my mema, whom it takes 20 minutes to drive the 3 miles to suburban plaza for the family dollar/big lots shopping that she loves.

    as for me personally, I hope it will be a DG Market, and if it is, I bet they will be packed all the time, with people who need to have it as a walking to store, and others who are opposed to it now, but will come around at a later date.

    but we’re all counting our chickens before they are hatched so who knows what can/will happen.

    1. If and when it opens, I dare all of us to wear name tags with our DM monikers plainly visible when we shop there.

    2. produce available within walking distance (which a dollar general market would have) would be more than awesome. much needed in our neighborhood and all neighborhoods. At least until we have enough community gardens that everybody eats fresh produce for free. until then, bring on the small, walkable grocery stores.

      The amount of snobbery I see on some of these comments blows my mind, but i’ve also been pleasantly surprised to see that more than a few folks are not consumed by classism (and other isms they would never admit to)! Not to say that everyone who doesn’t want a dollar general in oakhurst is classist or otherwise -ist, I’m quite aware of the various reasons that a national chain, non-union, sweat-shop-product-carrying place such as dollar general may be opposed–but i don’t really think that most folks on here are opposing it for that reason.

      a small discount grocery store does not a neighborhood make or break, but it would make life easier and/or better for a lot of folks, especially if, like I said, they have produce. I really don’t understand or relate to the mindset that a dollar general would somehow “bring the neighborhood down”. It smacks of “white flight” ways of thinking to me, which is scary.

      1. I’m quite aware of the various reasons that a national chain, non-union, sweat-shop-product-carrying place such as dollar general may be opposed–but i don’t really think that most folks on here are opposing it for that reason.

        Why not? More than a few people stated that as their reason for opposing it. Only a handful said that it would “bring the neighborhood down.”

        I don’t really disagree with your perception of things as much as the extra weight you’re giving to the opinions that upset you most.

      2. But it is not going to be the grocery store type Dollar General from what I hear according to very reliable sources. It is just going to be your standard Dollar General store. So it won’t carry produce. Maybe some dry goods, but that’s it.

        BTW, I went to check out the closest Dollar General store on Moreland. Not a pretty sight. Pretty much blight conditions everywhere you look. One pawn shop and a check cashing place in the same shopping center.

        I’m sure that some would argue that pawn shops and check cashing places benefit some people who don’t have access to traditional banking products. That’s probably true for those who have credit problems. Maybe they will follow Dollar General into our little neighborhood village.

        1. Marshall! Dang it! Now were you really wanting to check out Dollar General’s potential? Seems very odd to go facts seeking on “new” DGs at an ancient store in one of Atlanta’s high crime areas. It’s as if you deliberately sabatoged it from the get-go!

          Sure hope you at least offered one of your elderly neighbors the chance to go along to make the trip worthwhile.

    1. Bet you’re not feeling like such a Token Republican anymore after reading these posts! They’re everywhere apparently! Imagine all that it took was a Dollar General to publicly “out” them.

      (I know some take those jabs seriously, please note i was only teasing.)

      1. The anti DG folks seem to be coming from a “me” perspective, not a Republican one.

        Token Republican strikes me as the sensible sort who- if anti DG- would suck it up & side with the property owner anyway! :0)

        [The Braves without Bobby Cox… how will it ever be the same? :0( ]

        1. Thanks for the compliment, Deanne!

          I am actually leaning on the pro-Dollar General side, but in the interest of full disclosure, I’m in Winnona Park. So it doesn’t affect me as directly as others who have posted here. I don’t really go to Oakhurst much because there are black people and poor people there (please, everyone, know that I am TOTALLY KIDDING).

          Anyway, this has been a fascinating look at a strong undercurrent of hypocrisy, elitism and racism, and I find it incredibly distasteful and disturbing. I’ve been in Decatur for 11 years, and have truly enjoyed everything our little island of sanity within a sea of chaos has to offer. But that happiness has been tempered by this discussion, and I am beginning to believe this town is little different from so many other cities better known for these unfortunate traits.

          My compliments to those on this thread who have weathered the storm of duplicity, snobbery and bigotry to stand up for those whose circumstances don’t give them a voice.

          1. “My compliments to those on this thread who have weathered the storm of duplicity, snobbery and bigotry to stand up for those whose circumstances don’t give them a voice.”

            I assume you are referring to those who do not have online access to forums such as this one. Great point and an important one because the people most likely to need and support a discount retailer don’t get heard. But, think what you will of them, DG has proven to be a savvy retailer and I’m sure they know where the customers are.

            An eloquent post, especially for a Republican 🙂

          2. Definitely disheartening, but we’ll all be better off for having the “two neighborhoods” dynamic out in the open. Decatur’s a heart driven, solutions seeking little city. It’s actually a great gift that this has surfaced immediately in the glow of the Strategic Plan Update Party. What better timing for getting it to the very top of the Vision Plan to-do list? Truth be told, many of us have sensed it & many folks are living it with the added burden of wondering if it’s a racism issue too. But did any of us address it directly in our roundtable groups? It’d be very surprising if there’s a bullet point acknowledging it. Well, everybody sure knows it exists now! If it’s important enough to us, then we should all figure out how to work towards becoming a “one neighborhood” Decatur.

            1. I did a “pre-official round-table” round-table designed to get the word out about the round-tables where racism was brought up. Not specifically in relation to neighbors, but it was mentioned by a resident.

              1. AND??? Don’t leave us hanging!!! What was said??? How was it received??? What were your thoughts at the time???

                1. I’ve found that I, personally, cannot simply relay unsubstantiated claims anymore. For me to detail any of the accusations made, I would first feel compelled to contact the accused parties for a response. Even for a comment. And unfortunately I don’t have time to do that.

              2. You’re right to leave it be. Much better to find positive ways to open up a conversation on this important topic.

                (I imagined it to be offered as a bullet point comment, polite non response from group, “hmmm that’s interesting” kind of thing.)

  69. The last time anyone in these parts got this worked up about a general coming to town, his name was Sherman.

    Pretty sure the DG (see, it already has a nickname) won’t be the end of us either.

  70. Beating this (dead) horse into the ground….

    I have a hard time understanding why, or even how, this would be such a horrible thing. Mainly because (let’s see if this works:)

    Oakhurst village = MOJO (a) + UJ (b) + MATADOR (c) + KAVARNA (d) + HOP-N-SHOP (e) + SABA (f) + One-Step-at-a-Time (g) + Palate (h) + Harmony Park (i) + Solarium (j) + Station 2 (k) + Laundromat (name?) (l) + Billy Goat Cantina (m) + Fresche (n) + 24 hour fitness (o) + Steinbeck’s (n) (this doesn’t even count the school/garden/churches).

    – and –

    (b) + (c) + (d) + (e) +(f) + (g) + (h) + (i) + (j) + (k) + (l) + (m) + (n) + (o) + (n) >> Dollar General

    – so…

    Maybe not a positive image impact, but if it helps some of our elderly neighbors then great.

    – Guy who made the +10 year cutoff and will miss cutting through that empty parking lot

    1. OK. This didn’t work, so i’ve been informed. That post was supposed to say: “All those places, (a) thru (n), are much much greater than Dollar General.” That’s what those double greater than signs were meant to convey – “much much greater than”.

      Failed attempt at semi-cool internet / engineering geek speak.

        1. sure–the semi-cool internet/engineering geek-speakers 😉 (I can say that because I know what you do for a living!) personally, I appreciate the translation!

    2. It took me a while to wrap my mind around what a great and true post that is, especially the last line!

  71. One more thing that I keep thinking of and forgetting to mention: how great for the people who live in the Independent Living homes on Benson, to have access to a discount merchant right in the village.

    1. Good point and, shame on me for not including that part of the neighborhood on my list of what makes the the mosaic of the neighborhood.

  72. Posted today on the Oakhurst Yahoo board…from the Philanthropy News Digest…

    Dollar General Literacy Foundation Awards $3 Million in Grants

    The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has announced grants totaling more than $3 million to organizations around the country to support literacy and reading programs for young people.

    Through the foundation’s Back-to-School and Youth Literacy programs, grants were awarded to 812 schools, public libraries, and nonprofits in the company’s 35-state market area. Roughly four hundred of the grants will support programs, equipment, material, and software for schools’ library or literacy programs, while the remainder will fund efforts to implement or expand literacy programs.

    The grants are in addition to the more than five hundred grants totaling more than $7.5 million that the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has already awarded this year.

    “Grasping the fundamentals of reading at an early age is critical to a successful education,” said Dollar General chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling. “The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is proud to support schools and organizations that help young people get a head start on their education with solid reading skills.”;jsessionid=NAYHUTEZEO35ZLAQBQ4CGW15AAAACI2F?id=307000060

    Although they find themselves in the same dilemma as every other merchant trying to offer competitive prices and still make a profit–how to do it without depending on offshore suppliers and manufacturers whose labor practices we can’t control–it looks as if DG is committed to good corporate citizenship.

  73. Glenn Beck, are you here . . . this conversation makes me so sad. The Dollar General coming into Oakhurst will bring crime and more black people here, give me a break. I feel like I’m in the 60’s and supposed to be scared of ‘Mr.’ Oakhurst was majority black when I was raised here and now it’s starting to change with the young crown who has the money to spend on $5 coffee every morning, spend $250 on a top and jeans, drink beer every night at the pubs and then hardly have enough to pay bills because they’re just pretending. A lot of people are out of work, losing houses etc and items at reduced cost would help.

    1. This isn’t a Dem vs. Pub reaction. I see it more as a logical vs. emotionally charged reaction.

      In fact I think you would be surprised at the true political nature of some of the people in this discussion based upon their statements here, the yahoo group, and some personal conversations I have had. In fact it would be quite opposite of what you think.

  74. Nothing wrong with a concern for property values, except when they are used as justfication for keeping certain people out based on income, race, culture. There have already been comments about how DG customers would hurt the image of the area and if that doesnt bother you I have to wonder just why you didnt choose east Cobb.

        1. There were several boards, and none of them was this polite by a long shot. I agree with Bryan, though, that some of the sentiments expressed (and implied) are reminiscent of that particular fracas. And while I hesitate to say it out loud, it also calls to mind a more recent public dialogue about the Oakhurst Historic District proposal. Not that I think alignments are similar. To the contrary, it could be a thought-provoking exercise to compare individuals’ viewpoints about that and about this. (If it could be done with some kind of magic that didn’t “out” people–just looking at nameless opinions.) I’ll bet we’d surprise each other and maybe even ourselves.

  75. From Wikipedia:

    Since the turn of the century, Dollar General has experimented with stores that carry a greater selection of grocery items. These stores (similar to the Wal-Mart Supercenter, but much smaller) operate under the name “Dollar General Market”.

    Recently, Dollar General began selling produce, meat, and baked goods in new stores called “Dollar General Market” in former supermarket locations, even though this idea is similar to the Dollar General Market.[citation needed]

    And for all of the Trader Joes Groupies on this blog, you are a bunch of suckers:

    I think the store is going to be great.

  76. After a completely unscientific review of this epic thread, it does appear there is a slight majority who are either not opposed to a a DG or who welcome it. Im starting to feel better.

    1. I think a lot of people have noticed the charges of racism, elitism, snobbery, etc. thrown at those opposed, and kept quiet. It has been made very clear that their opinions are not welcome here.

      1. Tee Russ- I do feel for their reluctance to weigh in. It wasn’t so long ago that we had a very contentious issue in Decatur Heights. It’s real uncomfortable to try to put your views out there & have others find them suspect. I can offer that, although it’s unpleasant, it’s also important for folks to examine the feedback for any bits of truth. Y’all may find -as our neighborhood has- that all of the furor can actually help to build bonds between neighbors.

        1. Calling people racists, devaluing the perspective of people who have been here less than 10 years, criticizing people for looking out for their own family and investments – we get it, newcomers with money are not welcome here. Yeah, that’ll build the neighborhood bonds alright.

          I’m kind of exaggerating here, there are only a couple people (you know who you are) who are really not being good neighbors about all this, and they have unfortunately gotten under my skin. And I’m not even for or against the DG (I’ve never been in one – I will reserve judgement). But some of the pro-DG folks have seriously soured me on their viewpoint.

          1. One of the most hurtful things in the school reconfiguration discussions and even recent elections is when folks have been called racist or prejudiced because of their position on an issue even though their professional work, personal life, and actions would suggest otherwise. It cheapens the meaning of fighting racism when the term is used carelessly. I think this thread is an illustration of how nuanced issues of class, race, income, culture, neighborhood, social justice, even property values are. It’s a human tendency to reduce issues to a simple dichotomy–right/wrong–but life is always more complex. Gentrification can be a positive force in a community–improving local schools and attracting businesses–but it has negative consequences for long-time residents as well.

          2. It hurts when you’re being slammed! However, the pro DG Oakhursters are being pretty true to their usual selves & are offering up some valuable insights. The anti DG folks have walked right into a good bit of the flack they’re catching. (Tee Russ, you know darned well on any other topic you’d be crackin’ on some of the silly logic too! :0) You’ve gotta try to push past the ticked off stage so you can get a clearer read on things.

          3. “It will only kill the Stop and Rob if it sells Black Tail magazine, lottery tickets, and single cans of beer.

            Otherwise I don’t see myself taking my business over there.”

            Your post from another thread. I’m sure we should in no way construe that as racist. Should we just consider it a juvenile and moronic attempt at humor?

            1. Brianc, you can construe it however you want. No reason to stop now with your habit of imagining other people as racist.

              I meant it as humor, but humor isn’t for everyone. Especially on topics as heavy as the Hop n Shop.

              1. Actually, your comments are the only ones that would fuel my imagination. [edited: and the moderating begins]

  77. By the way, to all the Trader Joe’s lovers out there:

    You know that TJ’s & it’s sister store Aldi (same stuff in different packages) is owned exclusively by a couple of German brothers (dead now but still-family owned) who served under Hitler in WWII?? Of course, ALL teenage German boys pretty had join the Nazi Party, but still, since we are picking apart big boxes, might as well let TJ’s truth come out 😉

    1. Well, if we started calling out American corporations with Nazi connections and sympathizers, we’d probably have to look pretty close to home.

            1. Doesn’t apply exactly though, because NellieBelle didn’t compare them to Nazis, but cited their direct connection to the Nazis.

  78. Less weighty question: Does everything in Dollar General cost a dollar? If not, that’s a pet peeve of mine. Stores with names like Dollar Store, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and Dollar General imply that everything is priced at $1.00. Some of them really do stick to that price range and then I find it intriguing to see the variety of neat things you can buy for a dollar or less. But it feels deceptive if they carry merchandise that ranges in price just like any other discount store. You don’t hear the term “Ten Cent Store” anymore for a good reason–nothing except maybe bubble gum balls in the machine costs a dime anymore. If a “dollar” store can’t keep prices down to a dollar, then it needs to rename itself appropriately–Two Dollar Store, Fiver Store, Ten or less Store, whatever is really charged.

  79. No, some items at Dollar General cost more than a dollar. I also am fascinated by what you can get in a store where everything really costs a dollar or less. But I think DG will be more useful on a routine basis for carrying things that cost more.

    I miss the dime store. There were two in my hometown when I was little. One made fresh popcorn every day. Thank goodness for Richard’s, although the new one at Midtown doesn’t quite have the cachet of the original one at Peachtree Battle. But I love that there’s still someplace to buy a plain, glass butter dish.

    1. In fact, this is precisely how dollar stores make a profit. You might pick up a 3-pack of pencils at the dollar store while you’re there getting a greeting card for $1 (admittedly a good deal), but then you realize you could have gotten a 12-pack of pencils at Target for 99 cents. And while you can get a good size bottle of dish detergent at the dollar store, you can sometimes get a larger bottle of the generic brand elsewhere for the same price. Some things are a deal for a dollar, but a lot of things are not. A coffee mug at the dollar store? Ikea sells them for 50 cents (actually I think they’ve gone up to 75 cents?). A pair of flip-flops? Two for a dollar at Michael’s when they’re on sale. Shopping at dollar stores is okay now and then but is not always a way to save money.

      Still, it’s a good place for those who don’t have cars to get them to Ikea and Michael’s. But again, it’s well-disguised gouging.

      1. IMO that’s not gouging, it’s merchandising as practiced by every retailer I can think of, independent and chain, in every category.

  80. Five and 10 stores were all the rage when I was a kid, but even then that was a “come on” advertisement, because only the candy and miniature toys cost that little. But the 5-10 cent stock was THERE, so it was a fair advertising gimmick. I welcome DG’s store, can’t wait for it to open for business.

    1. Forgot that about the “Five and Ten” moniker. My Mom called the stores “Five and Ten”s but we kids called our local one the “Ten Cent Store”. I guess nickel prices were already gone. I like Richards too but I maintain that the Intown Ace Hardware on Scott Blvd. is almost a general store itself and a whole lot nearer. Fewer toys but lots of housewares and gadgets.

      Well, while I cannot speak to whether or not Dollar General is a good fit for Oakhurst (but I’ll definitely stop by to check it out on my bike rides to Kavanna or Fifth Avenue Academy), its branding is misleading. Since I recognize that Dollar General cannot change all of its investment in logos and branding just because I don’t like them, I do think that a little squiggly mark on our particular shopping center marquee would be in order: ~Dollar General.

  81. I’m not sure where I come out on this thing. I am torn between helping our elderly residents and not wanting to welcome what appears to be a less than stellar corporate citizen into our Birkenstock wearing, organic, liberally minded, farm to school, internationally minded community.

    That being said, call me cynical or paranoid, but I am open to the possibility that our friend, BrianC is not necessarily a concerned neighbor. Let’s ponder the possibility that he could conceivably have a financial stake in this.. either through his relation to Dollar General or Vision Properties.

    I am not attacking BrianC, but I cannot find a post of his prior to this thread. I wasn’t able to look for very long, so maybe I am mistaken.

    Also the frequency with which he posts give the impression that it may possibly be part of his job description. He is more persistent and singly focused that is typical of a “regular folk.”

    The other possibility is that he has posted here for a long time but changed his name for this particular thread. The other possibility is that he has lurked for a long time but feels passionately about this subject so he has decided to post. Or … he could just be new.

    I just want to introduce the possibility that he may not be what he appears. There are many marketing companies out there that are making a mint doing “image work” for companies on blog sites. Their employees search the web for smatter about a company, then go to community blog sites that are discussing a company and drive the blog conversation to get the result that the company wants.

    I can spot them a mile away on Yelp and TripAdvisor.

    Again, he may be very genuine, but his posting patterns indicate the possibility that he is not. If he is the real deal… my apologies. I am expecting a swift and painful rebuke.

    1. MrFixIt, I fear you’ve taken a crazy pill and I hope it wears off soon. Meanwhile, I’m pretty confident Brianc can take care of himself.

      I’m more interested in a few other points. One is challenging your characterization of “our Birkenstock wearing, organic, liberally minded, farm to school, internationally minded community.” Of course some segments of the population in Decatur and in Oakhurst (and Buckhead, Marietta, Athens, Macon, Albany, etc.) fit one or some or all of those descriptions, and I assume you identify with those traits yourself. But you are by no means describing our community as a whole, and I would argue that is not even an accurate description of a “typical” Decatur or Oakhurst resident. I think it would be very, very difficult to come up with a “typical” characterization precisely because our community is diverse. And yet, there is this tendency among so many to assume they and their particular ilk represent the norm, or the majority, or the ideal, or all of the above. But doing so acts to undermine diversity, because it encourages certain habits of seeing–and not seeing–the many different ilks that are all around us.

      On a different note…you are still torn about welcoming DG as a “less than stellar corporate citizen.” Given that every retailer any of us patronizes–including independent merchants–faces the necessity of depending at least in part on offshore distributors and mfrs whose labor practices we cannot control, what makes DG so much worse than others? Especially considering their substantial commitment to supporting literacy initiatives, your position seems to me like a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. But I’d be interested to hear more about how you weight these respective factors.

    2. MrFixIt-

      Oh dear! I think maybe I planted a conspiracy seed.w/ the mkt entry theory… I’m sorry if I led you astray! For better or for worse, I think we’re all legit. I recall past comments from Brianc. This is a case of knowledge on a topic being the initial draw. Somewhere on this thread he shares his retail development/paving related experience. (My interest comes from retail mgt/buying years.) It’s just one of those things… like tree houses! :0)

      Now come on out from under the house! We love you!

    3. I’m going to spare you the swift and painful rebuke and try to explain my focused intensity on this topic. I’ll excuse the speculation about my motives here because I am a sporadic poster who sometimes has a lot of time on his hands and sometimes none. But you might note that I entered this thread initially to express an opinion about Trader Joes. I didn’t get into the DG debate until a number of people made comments that sounded to me like hypocrisy. I’m not saying everyone, or even a majority, but I am sure some of the people opposed to DG would welcome a Trader Joes, although they both are mass market discounters. But one confers a certain status the other doesn’t.
      The other thing I’ve noticed in some of these posts is that there are a few people who seem mostly concerned with their community not appearing “poor.” They know who they are.
      And there are one or two people who have explicitly said they believe the “type” of clientele DG would attract would hurt the image of the neighborhood.
      These things are worrisome, partly because it gives ammunition to the people who are staunchly opposed to gentrification and go to extreme measures to block it, but mainly because I don’t want people who have neither the wherewithal nor desire to worry about whether a retailer is an image enhancer or not to feel they have no place in this city.
      To be clear, I have nothing personal at stake. I can shop anywhere I choose and would probably never set foot in that Dollar General. And I do respect that there are people like yourself who have a principled reason to question a corporation and all the baggage they bring. But I draw the line at respecting diversity of opinion when some of that opinion is clearly anti-diversity.
      Finally, let me offer full disclosure in terms of any other motives for my crystallizing interest in this topic –or as much I can offer at present: I do see the potential for some sort of journalistic project, but that is I all can say at this point.

  82. One of the reasons I don’t think that Dollar General is a fit in our community is it perpetuates the passion in our culture of bargains and getting things cheap. Just because it is cheap doesn’t mean it is good. I am not adverse to a bargain but my family has changed our way of thinking when it comes to food and products over the last year or so.

    The price of food has fallen dramatically since the 1970s. And I think we as a country might have reached a point where we might want to reconsider the idea of the quality of the food versus the quantity of the food

    The culture of Oakhurst/Decatur as many have pointed out is varied and diverse, but I would argue that we are a community that is focused more on issues and places like farm to table programs for our schools, the community garden, earth day, and other socially responsible initiatives. That’s a strong reason why many residents enjoy living here. Dollar General the brand goes completely opposite of this.

    Every company these days have sustainability and charitable programs so lets not gloss over the true core of their brand which is selling low quality products cheaply.

    I know many of our residents are low income and are unable to pay the higher prices for quality foods and have hardships regarding transportation, but there has to be a better way to overcome this. I donated money to the family whose home was destroyed by the tree on Leyden a few years ago, and that single example (which I am sure is one of many) shows me how this community banded together for the less fortunate. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can all help our residents in need in a better way.

    I recommend reading “Cheap the High Cost of the Discount Culture”.

    1. Discount prices don’t necessarily mean inferior goods. Please take a look at the brands Dollar General carries.

      Your point that it’s worth weighing quality versus quantity when it comes to food choices is absolutely valid, IMO. I commend your family for that perspective.

      Clearly, many people in Oakhurst are committed to the various socially responsible initiatives you mention (and also some that you don’t mention). I take issue, however, with the idea that “Oakhurst as a community” is thus committed. There is no forum in which all of the different segments of the Oakhurst community are represented, therefore it’s pretty hard to discern any particular thing that the whole community embraces.

      Lack of access to reasonably priced groceries and sundries has been a real and painful problem in this neighborhood for a long time. It has gotten worse as older people have gotten even older. It gets worse every time MARTA cuts back. Here we have the possibility of not only reasonable prices but discount prices, within walking distance, offered by a chain of stores that seems no worse–and in some ways better–than others. How is it socially responsible to deprive those in need of that opportunity? If you and your family have philosophical (or any other) objections to patronizing a Dollar General store, then please don’t shop there. But you really don’t have the right to impose your personal values on the whole neighborhood, especially when it means perpetuating very real hardships on some of your neighbors.

      Let’s focus the social responsibility right here in the neighborhood. If you have specific, practical ideas about addressing the lack of grocery/sundry shopping in Oakhurst, I am eager to hear them and I’m sure others are, too. This is as good a place as any to start brainstorming.

      1. Is the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association not a forum for the entire neighborhood? Here are some specific ideas.

        1. Establish an oakhurst farmers market similar to
        2. Community Food drives for the elderly
        3. Establish a monthly pot luck for the elderly and underprivileged
        4. Conduct a forum or survey to determine the true hardships and how many are enduring them currently, and then develop a plan.
        5. Work with MARTA on new routes.
        6. Work with area churches to help donate needed products.

        What exactly are you imposing regarding your personal views of the amount of hardship OUR neighbors are facing. I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the dire need for a grocery/sundry shopping in Oakhurst. IMO Its a “nice to have” and if we are going to have something you are right it should speak to the whole neighborhood, young, old, elderly, rich, poor, middle class.

        I oppose Dollar General opening a store in my neighborhood.

        1. Those are all great ideas, but to actually happen they take volunteers and manpower. Both of which I personally have witnessed a sharp decline in recent years from our community. ONA has struggled, just as many of the community organizations, to find people wiling and committed to doing the work that is needed in many areas of our community.

          So which one of your great ideas are you willing to volunteer for and lead through ONA?

          A lot of what is good about our community didn’t happen overnight, and took a lot of thankless blood, sweat and tears to make it happen. Those same people can’t do it forever.

          This isn’t directed at you personally Bigaloo as I have no idea of what you have or have not done for the community, but your post gave a great opening to make a point.

          This community is very good at “discussing” things and weighing their opinions about why something is good or bad. It is my perception that it is becoming less and less willing to do the work, and if that is true all of this will be moot because we will not be able to sustain what it is we still have.

          1. Swanny can’t agree with you more, it is rare (this blog is an exception, chalk it up to really being adamant against the DG) that I even participate in these types of communication. You are correct it takes people, time, passion and committment to move these ideas to activation mode. I suspect many of the founding residents had all those traits, and I am sure current ones do as well. Time to re-focus and get in the game…

            1. boogaloo-
              Kudos on thinking in this direction! These are great ideas! I’d like to gently point out that the seniors may wish to keep their circumstances private. There are some terrific seniors related agencies (& churches) with established Oakhurst relationships that could probably better serve to pinpoint & coordinate services. They’d be thrilled to have enthusiastic volunteers willing to oversee food drives & goods round-ups. An Oakhurst Farmer’s Market would be wonderful. Aggressive MARTA campaigning would also be ideal. Best wishes to you & your neighbors in tackling these endeavors!

              1. Good luck on the MARTA thing. It’s going to take a real state or region-wide investment to fix MARTA and NIMBYism kills that every time.

        2. Boogaloo, it’s not my intention to keep butting heads with you out of stubbornness or spite, but I feel so strongly that I have to comment here, especially to counter my pal Swanny’s endorsement.

          IMO #1 and #5 are impractical and unrealistic. Aside from who is going to put in the hundreds of volunteer hours over a couple of years to get an ELF-type market up and going, I seriously doubt there’s enough demand to support two of those within a mile of each other. Besides, ELF is no substitute for what DG offers–it’s an apple and an orange (or an apple and a bar of soap). As for new MARTA routes, that would be great, but I can’t muster much hope. Besides, it still doesn’t address the hassle of having to use MARTA to grocery shop, compared with being able to walk a few blocks to the store (or send a grandchild with a list).

          Your other suggestions are generous on a superficial level, but very disturbing. What bothers me is making the recipients trade dignity for some token material support. What if people don’t feel comfortable showing up at a neighborhood potluck empty-handed? What if people would prefer that their neighbors not know exactly how precarious their situation is? Why should people in lower income brackets be forced to depend on what their neighbors are willing to give them, instead of having the chance to pick out their own groceries? These initiatives may sound good in theory, but in reality would serve to highlight socioeconomic distinctions and further divide our community, instead of knitting it together.

          1. Wish I’d managed to say these things as tactfully as Deanne made her comments. I don’t mean to be so strident, honestly.

            1. Aw shucks!

              ( I’ll give you $5 not to touch that “two kinds of people” thing! Don’t know if I could resist that one myself though! :0)

              1. Good offer, but I didn’t see it in time. I’ve slipped into crackhead mode, car crash mode, I can’t stop looking, can’t stop answering, can’t stop running my yap.
                taking a deep breath.

          2. Smalltown girl there are two people in this world people who work hard, create and implement ideas and others who tell you all the reasons why it CAN’T work and won’t happen. I tend to think that there is a way to help the people you are so passionate about (haven’t seen any alternatives from you other than wholeheartedly endorsing the DG), while also not bringing an obvious eye sore into the neighborhood.

            I have listened to your argument about how are these people going to get a 1/2 gallon of milk or soap or basic sundries? Can they not get that and are already getting that at Hop n Shop. Wouldn’t it make sense to upgrade Hop n Shop or is the difference between toilet paper prices at H n S and Dollar General so vast? I guess we will agree to disagree, but please don’t think that there is a majority of residents who are vehemently opposed to the DG coming here.

            1. boogaloo- Please read all of smalltowngal’s comments. She’s offered some touching insights from her years of living in Oakhurst & has been a really good neighbor to the senior community. She’d be an excellent person to have involved in future neighborhood efforts.

              Once everybody realizes there’s a shared love of Oakhurst, things will turn around. The folks I feuded with heaviest on DM are now two of my favorite neighbors! :0)

            2. A majority of residents? Do you have a source for that?

              Also you’re certainly welcome to oppose it but how do you plan to physically prevent it? They probably don’t need a parking variance.

            3. Count me among those who “create, work hard and implement ideas.” Just because I see flaws in your suggestions does not make me a naysayer, and I’ve got the track record to prove it.

              Reasonable people can disagree about whether or not a Dollar General store constitutes an eyesore because it’s a matter of taste. Reasonable people can also disagree about whether or not taste should be regulated through zoning ordinances. If you think we should do that in Decatur, then lobby the City Commission.

              In the context of this discussion, my main concern is to preserve genuine diversity so that Decatur remains a whole community and doesn’t evolve into an enclave of privilege. A whole community–in my vision, anyway–has something for everyone. That is not the same as each thing serving or pleasing everyone–there will be things that some people adore and others abhor. In this dreamworld of mine, everybody is willing to put up with some stuff they don’t like in exchange for living in an authentic human community where tolerance prevails. And tolerance begins when you realize you really hate something your neighbor is doing.

            4. So you feel like a majority of residents shares your viewpoint. That could be, although I would be more disappointed than ever. But it doesn’t matter because we don’t vote on individual commercial leases. (Gosh, that’s an entertaining premise, though.)

              There have been comments here and on the Oakhurst board advocating organized, vocal opposition. (I honestly can’t remember, and am too lazy to check, whether or not you have said any such thing, Boogaloo. I don’t mean to attribute such to you specifically.) Those of you who don’t want to see DG in Oakhurst are obviously entitled to do that. I hope anyone contemplating it will think long and hard first, though. It wouldn’t affect the outcome, and would very likely result in a real smear on our neighborhood’s image. As others have noted, this whole discussion has been remarkably civil and non-personalized, considering the strength of feeling on all sides. I’d go so far as to say unprecedentedly so, in my Decatur experience. (I speak as a veteran of the CSD fracas of a few years ago, and was as guilty as anybody of online misbehavior at times.) And, has been observed, we are surfacing some underlying issues that are really difficult to confront but need to be aired if we really are serious about being an intentional community. If the press gets wind of this debate, though, it will all wind up being over-simplified, sensationalized, and incompletely reported, and reflect badly on all of us, individually and collectively. We don’t need that. We can squabble among ourselves just fine without outside interference!

              1. Feeble attempt to walk it back: wish I’d put that second paragraph in a separate post, I really don’t mean to aim that at Boogaloo specifically.

  83. After wading through 400+ comments on this issue, all I can really conclude is: a pox on both your houses! I very much appreciate that this conversation is miles above the general poop-slinging that goes on at most other blogs. Nonetheless, the whole tone of this conversation leaves a pretty sour taste, as have previous contentious discussions. Seems to me like an awful lot of people on all sides are ready to make some pretty harsh judgments about people they’ve never met before, based on a few paragraphs of text.

    1. Nah, I disagree. Got heated at times and a little nasty, but I think it was fairly civil and most people avoided being vulgar or vicious. But, I think all this bandwidth is much ado about nothing, until the building permits/zoning notices are posted.

  84. Even after wading through this thread I cannot figure out what the big deal is–why don’t we just go back to bickering over the difference between North side and South side Decatur?

      1. Flood plain!
        Make your kids behave in public!
        If you don’t like the way we do things in Decatur, you can move!

  85. Why don’t they just open the Dollar General at Westchester?


    BTW, only in Decatur would the installment of a Dollar General reach the monumental heights of morality and social justice that it has here.

    1. That’s because Decatur has an unusually high proportion of High Horse owners, and we love to get out and ride around and flap our yaps at each other. ;P

    2. Here, here! There’s plenty of room there, plenty of tacky parking on the lawn, and a controversial landlord! 🙂 (This is a joke, Westchester Neighborhood Association.)

  86. I have nothing to add to this, amazed though I am at this tread. And besides it’s not my hood and I have Big Lots nearby when I want to buy bulk sharpies or a $2 spatula, so I’m covered. I really just want to be part of this historic event. The Isner-Mahut match of DM blogging and I was there.

      1. DM, we need a new thread for the Comments about the Comments on the Dollar General supposedly coming to Oakhurst.

    1. That probably depends on if they sell the “high quality fresh organic good brains” or the “low cost alternative brains with too many preservatives”

            1. My daddy loved brains and eggs. We chillun always got to eat our eggs and bacon first so we could scram before the brains hit the skillet.

              1. No idea. We literally would not set foot in the kitchen when they were being cooked and eaten. It has occurred to me since that Daddy might have partaken of some of his favorite delicacies partly to get some peace and quiet….pickled pigs’ feet, tripe, beef tongue, souse. Not that he ate like that all the time, these were all occasional treats.

    2. I’m sorry, but the undead frequenting the Dollar General in Oakhurst will have a negative effect on property values, will degrade the reputation of the neighborhood and will pose a serious threat to all the children who walk and bike to school each day. We can’t have that … even if they do struggle to make ends meet through no fault of their own, I just can’t be supportive of their presence in our fine neighborhood.

          1. I thought “undead” was code for “Republicans from Alpharetta”. But I always get them confused with zombies.

    1. If we’re shooting for that, then DM needs to figure out how to get the thread back on the front page.

      this must be a record for number of comments after a thread has rolled off the front page.

  87. One of the earlier comments mentioned that DG carries Hellmann’s mayo… I can always be swayed by The Hellmann’s!

  88. Hey Decatur Metro: Do you have any stats on how many individuals account for this amazing number of comments?

  89. I think I have read all of the comments and I find it interesting that (DM correct me if I’m wrong) no one has mentioned that DG will bring at least a few jobs to the area. No, they won’t be high paying jobs, but maybe a nice opportunity for people who live within walking distance and don’t have a car. Additionally, DG will definitely bring a little more business to ALL of the businesses in Oakhurst. Not too shabby for all of those small businesses that Decatur citizens love to love.

    1. I’ve been so caught up in the future customers that I haven’t given that much thought. I’m curious to see how many applications they get if/when they start hiring. I bet some people will be astonished.

    2. A few people have predicted that DG won’t hire locally. Others have challenged those assertions.

            1. I doubt any retailer in Decatur is paying anywhere close to that, with the possible exception of Kroger and a few of its employees. Some people working for tips might get that much or more if they are great at their job.

          1. They’ll still have people lined-up for jobs. Atlanta unemployment rate is above 10% right now, with something over double that rate for African-American teens. Like fast food and hospitality, retail is a great “starter” job.

  90. My elderly neighbor said hello to me yesterday afternoon and asked me what people were saying on the “block” since we last talked. I didn’t realize until after we parted that she was talking about the “blog”. Precious. BTW…I snapped the best photo for “Eye on the Street” the day before yesterday. Standby for my submission DM!

  91. Ok, probably not many of us around, but there are a few.We fit the white, liberal stereotypical Oakhurst crowd. Bought our house 14 yrs ago. 2 kids, 1 dog, no picket fence as of yet. BUT we make well, well, well under six figures combined and always will, considering our career choices. At this point we only have one car (I can walk to work). We live month to month.We look to save money where ever and whenever I can. Dollar General?hell yeah. Bring it on!

    1. Uh oh. Someone with an economic need for value goods that looks and feels a whole lot like, uh, us. Does not compute! Does not compute! Cue exploding heads…

    2. Thanks Deletist, my husband and I are right there with you! Been unemployed for over a year and a half now, recently decided to go back to school. So we are very tight with the money. I bet there are more of us around than anyone would ever suspect.