Family Dollar Planned for Oakhurst’s “Big H Property”

According to Decatur Planning Director Amanda Thompson, the owner of the Big H property, Bruce Cohen, has submitted plans to the city’s Planning Office for a Family Dollar at the Oakhurst site, but does not yet have a signed lease in place.

The much-discussed Dollar General in that location also went through the planning stages, but a lease was never signed.

Wondering where the heck “the Big H Property” is?  Here’s a streetview for ya.

85 thoughts on “Family Dollar Planned for Oakhurst’s “Big H Property””


    1. Maybe this post will trigger some of the old school posters who have gone on the lam to come out of hiding….

      Where is smalltowngal? Did she indicate that she was going to sign off? I was wondering if she ever did participate in Halloween. (I think so…)

      1. Maybe she just changed her DM screen name. There’s been a lot of that going around. Gotta keep the intelligence operatives busy!

      2. Almost didn’t open this thread, seeing more than three dozen comments in just a few hours and lacking the interest for the same old fuss. What a relief that nearly the whole thread is more of a meta-thread!
        Nice to be missed, BTW. Haven’t changed my screen name nor made any particular decision about signing off.

        1. Awwww, do come back. And bring Deanne along with you. We may not always agree on everything, but I enjoyed your thoughtful contribution. It’s not the same site without y’all!

    2. Rum gives me a headache. Can’t we just meet at Trackside by the Jager machine? We can make this a drinking game. Shorties everytime someone mentions racism or property values. Full shots for corporate greed or neighborhood aesthetics. Of course, we will also needs beers to chug at the first mention of a slumlord. Who’s in?

        1. It’s true. I can drink Jager or vodka all night and not get a headache. I might not feel so great in the morning if I drink *too* much, but never a headache problem. Give me just one or two rum drinks or whiskeys and I get a pounding headache. I assume it’s the sugar content or something.

  1. Isn’t the Family Dollar the store that comes in after the neighborhood has gone to pot? Isn’t Oakhurst better than this?

  2. Yes. This should be fun! Let’s get it started. I wish it was a Dollar General, but I guess Family Dollar has to find a new home now that Walmart is going to take over Suburban Plaza and push them out of business. Oooh, now people on both the north side of the tracks and the south side can be mad about Walmart and Family Dollar and evil corporate America. Rise up. Occupy Suburban Plaza, Occupy the Big H parking lot!

    1. I’ll have to look into Family Dollar and see how it’s different than Dollar General. I think this is good news. It will be nice to not have a vacant shopping center any longer. Congrats to Bruce on leasing out the space.

      does this mean we can paint over the “art”?

  3. Remember when you get cash back at the Family Dollar they charge you a dollar fee. It’s expensive to be poor.

  4. Is it just me or is anyone else freaked out by the dude holding a dog in the DeKalb Medical ad in the upper left?

    1. I think people are too busy being freaked out, or maybe overly intrigued by, the almost-porn upskirt image on another ubiquitous DM ad.

      1. Maybe I need to turn off my flash and ad blocker. It sounds like ads have gotten much more interesting since I had installed them.

  5. I like Dollar General more than Family Dollar, but I don’t live anywhere near Oakhurst, so I have no skin in this game. Maybe Big Lots will move in if Family Dollar does not pull the trigger.

      1. Yes, the one at North DeKalb. It was always hilarious to me when people asked the employees how much something cost, but I am easily entertained.

  6. I will have to say – the new Family Dollar stores are really nice – at least the ones in Charlotte. They are clean, well stocked and have a nice layout. And remember, FD sells cookies made in the same factory as Girl Scout cookies. They taste the same too. They are sold under the Heavenly Rewards brand.

  7. the snooty party of me (and the snoot is *strong*) says, “harumph, how dare they drop this low-middle market brand in our artsy fartsier-than-thou gentrified village!”

    howevah, the pragmatic me looks at their products and says, “Score! It’s a convenient stop on the way home from the Farmers Market to grab all the practical things we need but YDFM doesn’t carry”

    http://www.familydollar.com/pages/products.aspx

    net net, practicality will win me over in the long run. I honestly could give a rat’s arse where we buy toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc. and as long as it’s well priced, the more convenient the better.

    Viva la Family Dollar, biatches!

  8. Actually, all merchandise at Family Dollar is not priced for $1, like it is at Dollar General. So, it might not be a store pretty much full of crap, like the stuff at Dollar General seems to be (at least in my experience). Maybe Big Lots will consider that space. Of the 3, that one is my fav 😉

    1. Yeah, but so are Walmart and Target. Yet many of the Wally World haters would be doing cartwheels if the Minnesota MegaMonster was coming to Suburban Plaza 😉

  9. If we could get a bakery and a pharmacy in the village I don’t think I would ever have to leave my neighborhood. Ahhh wishes and dreams.

  10. Of all the potential scenarios for that property, I am very concerned about the present possibility. I wouldn’t be worried if I thought that Family Dollar may be shorter term in nature like several other tenants have been at the property. Thus far, there has always been *hope* for that property. But Family Dollar will probably build out the space on their own dime and as a result, will likely sign a 10 to 15 year lease with several renewal option periods that they can and will actually see through. I just don’t want our quaint little downtown Oakhurst, that currently houses unique and independent businesses, to be defined by one of Family Dollar’s 6,800 stores. Downtown Oakhurst is not large enough for it to blend in – I fear it will define it. I know this topic has been debated ad nauseam in the past, but I get the sense from this thread that some have given up hope (or maybe you just don’t believe the Family Dollar lease will actually happen – I happen to think it is a real possibility). Once Family Dollar signs the lease, there is nothing we can do to stop them. If we don’t think it is the right fit for our neighborhood, we need to let them know that now.

    1. The Big H space is large, and there are few independent businesses that operate at that scale. In all of Decatur, I can only think of one other retail business that operates in a space that large: Cook’s Warehouse/Sherlock’s (split between two business entities), and their space is probably smaller.

      In the 8(?) or so years that space has been vacant you can be confident it’s been seen by lots of prospective tenants, and the market has spoken: it doesn’t work for 99% of them, based on what I assume was a rational and meaningful calculus. Now we have someone it will ostensibly work for, and it comes as no surprise to me that it’s a chain that can profit from selling their product lineup at the scale the space provides.

      Right now, that empty space continues to be a blight on our otherwise vibrant business district, and an imperfect tenant that offers value to the community is far better than continuing to wait for a perfect tenant that may never materialize.

      I believe once we get over ourselves we’ll really enjoy having a convenient place to grab the kinds of products they’ll offer, even if it’s offered by a chain. It’s certainly no worse than having a CVS plopped in the middle of downtown Decatur, and will fill a similar role in our community–minus the pharmacy.

      1. You speak of “that empty space” as if Family Dollar (or whatever tenant) would take over the entire building. Not true. We’re only talking about a 1/3rd of the building maybe. The church space and the old Mulligan’s space are seperate and distinct.

          1. It’s about the same space as the mini-Kroger in downtown, right? Too bad the City can’t buy/lease this property and turn it into a community center/farmers market. Maybe connect it to the school system somehow. I wonder if that has ever been considered.

            1. Yep, those two spaces are comparable, but my original point was re: the paucity of independent businesses who could profitably operate in a space that size. Corporately owned businesses like Kroger and DG/FG bring economies of scale to their operating models that indies can’t.

        1. . . . not as long as they meet the zoning requirements. Family Dollar simply isn’t an egregious assault on the community’s best interests.

          if he were trying to put an massage parlor in there, *that* would be a different story.

          heck, I’d like a Dean & Deluca to go in there, or maybe a health and wellness spa, or even one of those bouncy joints for the kids, but that’s just not going to happen. what I’d like most of all is for the space to occupied by a responsible and stable business that offers value to the community.

  11. Nice and trashy. Part of what makes Oakhurst great is the lack of commercial chain businesses. Find somewhere else to go.

    1. “trashy.”

      Rude and extreme to say the least. Have you not looked around to see that many people in the surrounding neighborhoods are on fixed budgets? They’re not visible in boutiques and bars because they don’t have the disposable income, but they are indeed there. Why should they not be able to have easy access to things that they need near by?

      1. Agreed, Rebeccab. Take a look at the shopping center in Oak Grove. A Dollar General is book-ended by two very nice establishments, Napoleons and Sprig. No problems. Both are packed a lot of the time. And the average income is quite a bit higher in Oak Grove and surrounding area than it is in Oakhurst and surrounding area.

        1. But the Dollar General is located on LaVista Road aka Georgia State Route 236, not on a neighborhood throughfare. Nor is it located in a historic downtown area.

          1. A reasonable point, though I’m not sure about the “historic downtown area” argument; that’s sort of a self-designated distinction, no? I will say that I’m a bit surprised that the traffic flow through there is enough to attract a volume-based retailer like Family Dollar. Then again, I rarely am in Oakhurst during the work week. Maybe there is more traffic than I’m assuming.

            1. i think FD will draw business from a within a pretty good sized radius. consider for the kinds of household basics they’ll be offering at the price i expect, one would have to drive to Publix on the south side, or little Kroger on the north side of the rr tracks to get an equivalent selection/price. i think they’ll draw shoppers from as far as Kirkwood to the west, Agnes Scott to the east, College Ave to the north and Hosea Williams to the south. not bad.

              re: daily drive-by traffic, i think Eastlake is a primary artery from the south side for Dekalb Ave. commuters.

              also believe that FD will act as an anchor store for that strip, generating potential customers for new stores that could opportunistically siphon some FD customer traffic for their own businesses. for example, one might expect FD will have lots of female shoppers, and based on what i’ve observed in similar strips, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a nail salon or something similar go in next door.

  12. I’m a little disappointed in Bruce. Thought he’d try to bring in Titlemax. It’s almost like he doesn’t think Oakhurst is 100% slum anymore – seems to see it as 85% slum.

    1. i’m not so sure Bruce has the power to engineer tenant selection like some believe he does

      finding a tenant to fill that space is like finding someone to buy one’s home: (speaking hypothetically) i’m sure my neighbors would want me to sell to someone who is really cool, sociable, and has kids roughly the same age as theirs–all for for their and our neighborhood’s better good. . . but if someone offered me the price i was asking and they were single, uncool, and unsociable too, i’d take their money.

      how many people could afford to be as magnanimous as their neighbors may wish in such a situation? me selling to this “uncool” buyer would say far less about my love of my neighbors and everything about me simply needing to sell my home in order to protect my family’s financial interests. ditto Bruce.

      i don’t believe the Big H property has sat idle because Bruce has been filtering offers based on how “good” or “bad” they’d be for the neighborhood. My guess is he simply hasn’t had many askers and even fewer real nibbles, and this is one of the very few serious offers he’s had for a long term, stable tenant whose business appears like it will be profitable–leading to it being able to fulfill the financial requirements of his contract.

      p.s. i don’t know Bruce from Adam.

  13. Perhaps it would be best if we could have 5 or 6 more boutique shops, perhaps some scented candles would really help Oakhurst shake that whole ‘slum’ image, eh TeeRuss?

    If you try to get around without a car in this area, you begin to appreciate not the easy accessibility of cork screws and candles but of places in your neighborhood that sell useful things. if having a mix of retail that includes basic essentials and commodities makes a neighborhood a slum, then I know of some neighborhoods a ways north that you’ll fit right in.

    1. Boutique shops won’t work in Oakhurst because the demographics of the neighborhood are overwhelmingly poor and car-less. Those folks need access to pawn shops and title loans, just as much as they need dollar stores. Remember, Oakhurst is a slum – it’s true, I read it here every time a Dollar General or Family Dollar situation comes up.

      1. TeeRuss, you must not live in Oakhurst or even come into our neighborhood. It is NOT overwhelmingly poor and carless! Quite the opposite. I moved into Oakhurst in the ’90’s and that may well have been the case then but not now. Our neighborhood has become quite upscale. Sure there a some “poor, carless” households here, but not very many and I’d speculate that most of them will be gone in the next 10 years or so since the majority of them are elderly. I don’t see Oakhurst as the target demographic for FD and wonder why they think that. Also don’t see how there is enough traffic on East Lake to justify it either. Not much activity other than rush hours going to/from work and parents shuttling kids to Fifth Ave school.

  14. I don’t really have a problem with Family Dollar per se… nor should it matter to Bruce if I have a problem with it.. it’s his property.

    However, I do wonder if a Family Dollar can survive with two (well, really three) great big Walmarts within a mile or two of it that have a lot more people going by them each day. I guess they have done the research, but I wonder if there’s enough density and traffic to support all of that retail.

    As long as it could stay open, it would be convenient so I’m OK with it. I just honestly don’t think it can stay open at that location.

  15. I’m not certain why a Family Dollar or store like that would come to this location. What does a dollar store need more than anything? Big traffic and volume. Oakhurst doesn’t have traffic and volume and they would occupy a third of an empty shopping center with nothing else that will drive more traffic to the location.

    1. Agreed, if the density and traffic/population didn’t work for other retailers why so for Family Dollar? I’m sure their formula is different? Just hard to grasp from the outside. I don’t like the fact that this may happen, but I also understand it is his (Bruce) property and he can do with it what he wants. Ideally if we are playing the “wish” game, since he hasn’t been able to attract an anchor store there for 8 + years, you would think selling the property to a developer who would have a different plan for it maybe in the vain of a townhomes with retail underneath (I know that was a rumor a while back).

  16. I think DM should sponsor a thread asking “what would you do with the big H space if you owned it?” – besides tear it down.

    I bet there would be some really creative and interesting business ideas, some maybe worth pursuing.

    Does anyone know Bruce well enough to ask what minimum financial return he is looking for? How much he would re-invest in the property?

  17. Not thrilled about this, but as long as that property remains a strip mall, it may as well have a strip mall store. Better that than abandoned property. At least it’s set back from the road a bit. Frankily, I’d like to see a local theater – stage, not screen – go there, or a community center or non-profit organization that works for the community.

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