Skip to main content

You Really Can't Go Home Again

I traveled up to see my parents and family in Atlanta (north-east in Lilburn, actually) over the weekend. Sunday I went out to lunch with them at a Longhorn Steakhouse on Killian Hill Rd. On the way to the restaurant I noticed closed stores just like I'd noticed in Orlando. My family told me that there were empty stores all over the Atlanta area just like the Orlando area. After lunch we stopped off by a Barnes and Nobel on Pleasant Hill Road (we're a family of readers), and when we'd finished we went across the street to Gwinnett Station Shopping Center.

Starting from there and moving south-east towards I-85 I saw darkened store after store, as well as a number that were in the process of going out of business. Stores that ranged from Office Max, Kroger, and Circuit City to smaller businesses such as Sam Goodys and Hobby Lobby now stand closed and dark over empty parking lots. Only one former business, a CompUSA store, found new life as a Salvation Army.

Target (Pleasant Hill Road)
Main entrance into Gwinnett Station looking down towards the empty former Office Max.

Rio Bravo (Pleasant Hill Road)
Former Rio Bravo.

Kroger (Pleasant Hill Road)
Former Kroger.

CompUSA (Venture Pkwy)
Former CompUSA, now Salvation Army. A little bit of irony in that I suppose.

Another Dead Circuit Center (Venture Dr)
Yet another dead and empty Circuit City.

Rolling Sign of the Times (Venture Dr)
A rolling sign of the times.

Hobby Lobby (Venture Dr)
Former Hobby Lobby.

Barbecues Galore (Venture Dr)
Former Barbeques Galore.

HiFi Buys (Venture Dr)
Former HiFi Buys.

Sam Goodys (Venture Dr)
Former Sam Goodys.

All of these were shot in a 30 minute period. I could have go on and on, but got so depressed I stopped. All of this within five to ten minutes of Gwinnett Place. I suppose if I'd had the time and truly morbid curiosity I'd have walked through there just to check out its economic health. But it was growing late and I had better things to do with my limited time; I wanted to spend as much as I could with my family.

I moved to Florida in 1984 right after I got married and I've lived in Orlando ever since. I've been back to Atlanta far too infrequently, and every time I went back it was to see more and more suburban sprawl spreading over once wooded landscape, or old places I knew when I grew up in Atlanta torn down and built back over with 'something better'. Now it all is slowly dying during this particularly bad economic recession. And I can only see it get worse.

They say misery loves company, but this is far more chilling than comforting. And I can only see it getting worse.


  1. Bill,

    I have been viewing your social Commentaries as they appear. It is a sad picture that you paint but only too familiar to a lot of us, I fear. The relentless and almost opportunistic building frenzy that occurs in a time of easy money is a sign of out times. The unsustainability of some new large shopping complexes is inevitable I feel.
    Keep your Commentaries going Bill. I find them interesting.


Post a Comment

All comments are checked. Comment SPAM will be blocked and deleted.

Popular posts from this blog

A Decade Long Religious Con Job

I rarely write inflammatory (what some might call trolling) titles to a post, but this building you see before you deserves it. I've been seeing this building next to I-4 just east of Altamonte/436 and Crane's Roost for nearly 12 years, and never knew who owned it. Today on a trip up to Lake Mary with my wife I saw it yet again. That's when I told her I wanted to stop by on the way back and poke around the property, and photograph any parts of it if I could.

What I discovered was this still unfinished eighteen story (I counted) white elephant, overgrown with weeds and yet still under slow-motion construction. It looks impressive with its exterior glass curtain walls, but that impression is quickly lost when you see the unfinished lower stories and look inside to the unfinished interior spaces.

A quick check via Google leads to an article written in 2010 by the Orlando Sentinel about the Majesty Tower. Based on what I read in the article it's owned by SuperChannel 55 WA…

first night for the gingersnaps

The first night has passed and the two have managed to survive, in spite of what their tiny hearts might have thought when first arriving. Greebo, the larger of the two, has been in hiding the entire time so far. Ponder has spent the time zipping in and out of hiding spots, checking things out, and learning just how comfortable pillows are for resting your head.

During the night I felt the tiny body of Ponder hitting the bed as he leaped up on the side, and then climbed to the top to run around on top of me. At least once he play-attacked my fingers. He might be small but his claws are still quite sharp.

When I got up in the morning the bowl of cat kitten food was fairly well depleted. It's been refilled and fresh water put in the big dish on the floor. I'm assuming that both Greebo and Ponder are feeding and drinking. I have seen Greebo under the furniture peeking out at me when I went looking for him. I'm leaving him alone while he continues to adjust.

So far the guys h…

cat-in-a-box channels greta garbo

So I'm sitting at my computer, when I start to notice a racket in back. I ignore it for a while until I hear a load "thump!", as if something had been dropped on the floor, followed by a lot of loud rattling. I turn around and see Lucy in the box just having a grand old time, rolling around and rattling that box a good one. I grab the GX1 and snap a few shots before she notices me and the camera, then leaps out and back into her chair (which used to be my chair before she decided it was her chair).

Just like caring for Katie my black Lab taught me about dogs, caring for Lucy is teaching me about cats. She finds me fascinating, as I do her. And she expresses great affection and love toward me without coaxing. I try to return the affection and love, but she is a cat, and she takes a bat at me on occasion, although I think that's just her being playful. She always has her claws in when she does that.

She sits next to me during the evening in her chair while I sit in mi…