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Chick-fil-A closes one of its oldest mall stores

AJC file photo

Chick-fil-A will open more freestanding stores than mall stores in 2012. AJC file photo

After almost 42-years in business, the Chick-fil-A at South DeKalb Mall closes this week. This location opened just three years after the first mall store opened at Greenbriar Mall in 1967. At that time, enclosed malls were growing in popularity. In fact, Greenbriar was only Atlanta’s third such shopping facility.

Brenda Morrow, a spokesperson for Chick-fil-A, says, “We had a great run at South DeKalb Mall.” She cites “declining sales over the years” as the reason for the closure. When a location underperforms, “for financial reasons, it is difficult to run a store in the caliber which we run the stores.”

While no other closings are planned, Morrow notes that changes in retail construction have impacted Chick-fil-A’s store placement strategy. Fewer enclosed malls are being built, resulting in fewer Chick-fil-A mall openings. This year, 75 new freestanding locations are planned, while only two mall locations are in the works.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

157 comments Add your comment

joeybiten

January 24th, 2012
10:48 am

george bushs fault….

Mike

January 24th, 2012
10:49 am

I’m surprised no one’s mentioned that the one at Phipps Plaza closed too.

Roberto said that the initial criticism of Chick-Fil-A opening in malls was “people go to shop, not to eat.” The company story is that retailers were concerned about people eating greasy food then touching the merchandise. My guess is that Rich’s didn’t want anything competing with the Magnolia Room.

Rhett Butler

January 24th, 2012
10:49 am

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Growing Up

January 24th, 2012
10:50 am

I’m not sure who that racist comment was aimed at billy b.o.b. – but it has absolutely nothing to do with race. It has to do with wanting nice things around you and wanting to keep them that way. It has to do with teaching your children right and wrong. This isn’t a race issue. It’s a humanity issue.

Chi Town

January 24th, 2012
10:51 am

Wonder why Gwinnett Place Mall has gone down hill too?

Hmmmmmmmm……..

woodrow

January 24th, 2012
10:51 am

I never get down that way anymore. My car does not have bullet-proof glass.

Double Naught Spy

January 24th, 2012
10:53 am

My first Chick fil A was at Perimeter, however, I was a regular at the Cumberland Mall location. It was on the lower level near Sears back in the day. Now it’s blended with the food court.

Chris

January 24th, 2012
10:53 am

MOJO – expect rudeness if you’re rude to them. Be nice, and get great service.

Chi Town

January 24th, 2012
10:54 am

What is the “Common” denominator with all these malls and neighborhoods going under?

GIVE ME A BREAK

January 24th, 2012
10:59 am

The picture shows the freestanding stores that have been built to replace the mall stores. If this article upset you then maybe you should stop reading real time stories. Mr. Cathy is a man of high moral character and done more for people than you can imagine. Sounds like you need to eat more chicken.

GIVE ME A BREAK

January 24th, 2012
11:00 am

” has done.”

Jenny Turknett

January 24th, 2012
11:01 am

Hey guys. You’re right the story is about a mall Chick-fil-A and I used a photo of a freestanding one. Consistent with the trend of CFA moving toward freestanding ones! I updated the photo with a note.

1164mgc

January 24th, 2012
11:05 am

I live in VA and the same thing happens here – new malls open, old malls deteriorate and get crime-infested. I used to only get Chick Fila when I’d come down to Atlanta during the summer vacations. We haven’t had Chick Fila here for long, but I can tell you that the one near me is the BEST fast food restaurant I’ve been to here. The service is wonderful and the food is great. I’m a vegetarian – if I make my way to Chick Fila you know if’s made an impression. Sad to see them close restaurants but they’re planning on opening new ones! It just makes sense to close the underperforming ones.

Lifelong ATL Resident

January 24th, 2012
11:08 am

Jenny,

As a female, it simply isn’t worth going over to that mall by yourself with an expensive camera just to take a simple picture.

A photo isn’t worth your safety, your possessions, your body or your life.

I don’t blame you one little bit for being safe and using a stock photo.

truett

January 24th, 2012
11:08 am

Does the NAACP know about this?

Michael

January 24th, 2012
11:10 am

Put a Church’s in there.

Decatur Resident

January 24th, 2012
11:11 am

I didn’t even know they had a Chick Fil A in there. I think their declining sales were do to poor Advertising. I always go to Chick fil A but never been to the one in South Dekalb because i didn’t know it existed. I don’t like going to South Dekalb Mall but I would of certainly have went to the Chick Fil A if i known it was there.

liberalefty

January 24th, 2012
11:18 am

chick fila is way overated and tastes like cardboard…good riddance..and its too expensive

Franken Chicken

January 24th, 2012
11:21 am

Chick- fil-a’s chicken is pumped full of more steroids and hormones than a bodybuilder….yikes….

Jenn

January 24th, 2012
11:22 am

Awww, I haven’t been in years, but I remember going there as a child with my mom and brother. Best lemonade ever!

Denise

January 24th, 2012
11:23 am

Whenever I have the urge to feel ungrateful for ANYTHING in my life, I read these posts as a reminder of how blessed I am. I have never seen so many dumb people in one place. All this over a Chick Fil A closing? While you fight over this, do you care about the quality of food that you consume? It’s obvious that you don’t.

Wally

January 24th, 2012
11:25 am

The worst thing about the closing is now the customers who ruined that location will go to other stores to ruin them. Please just go to Church,s,where you can throw chicken bones in the parking lot, and leave those nice CFA stores to people who enjoy Chick Fil A and how they operate their stores in a professional manner…..the customer is always right and the food is great.

chickfilalover

January 24th, 2012
11:26 am

Liberal lefty… your’e a freaking idiot… CFA is the best fast food place. Thank god we live in Georgia!

Mr. Crass

January 24th, 2012
11:28 am

Eat once there every two weeks. The customer service the was same, high-level quality, I received at the other stores in Dekalb and Gwinnett counties.

On another note, S. Dekalb Mall: best food court “backsides” in the ATL!

chickfilalover

January 24th, 2012
11:32 am

Liberal lefty is an idiot. I love CFA. I am glad we live in Georgia so i can have some great fast food.

DINO

January 24th, 2012
11:34 am

OK I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THE CLOSING. BUT THEY DIDN’T SAY THEY WOULD REPLACE IT WITH A STAND ALONE SITE. AGAIN THE BLACK AREA OF TOWN TAKE A HIT WITH NO CARE FOR THE COMMUNITY.

lifelong southsider

January 24th, 2012
11:36 am

The same reason that Gwinett Place, Shannon, and Southlake has gone down hill. Lets see, whats the common denominator? Hmmmmmmmmmm

Lifelong ATL Resident

January 24th, 2012
11:36 am

Right On Target, Wally @ 11:25 am!

What you said is exactly CORRECT, and that is a particular history we have seen in Atlanta over and over again will that repeat itself once more.

No restauranteur who wants his/her business to succeed needs that particular element to come around and throw its bones in the parking lot (literally) and onto the rest of us in society (metaphorically).

Omar Little

January 24th, 2012
11:38 am

No chicken. No peace.

NoPickle

January 24th, 2012
11:40 am

DINO: if the COMMUNITY took some care with the store, then perhaps they wouldn’t be closing.

Jai

January 24th, 2012
11:41 am

I have gone to South DeKalb Mall several times and have never been threatened or felt I was in danger. So all the racism comments about South DeKalb are from people who are just plain ignorant.

SamE

January 24th, 2012
11:42 am

There’s a South Dekalb Mall??!!!

Fred

January 24th, 2012
11:45 am

@ required name: “Chick-Fil-A can suck a fat one for killing the Peach Bowl.” Amen brother. I thought I was the only one hacked off about that. Why the hell couldn’t they have called it ‘The Peach bowl, presented by Chik-fil-a?”

@Southern Lady: “The area around Northlake has not deteriorated over the years and is even wealthier, but the mall has thanks directly to Simon Property Group. Those who live closest to the mall now drive to Lenox or Perimeter to shop at stores Northlake used to have.”

No kidding. It’s absurd what those idiots have done to that mall. Although, last time I was there (before Christmas) the Chik-Fil-A was still there. I don’t like there food so I don’t pay much attention to them. I just know it was still there because I was with my daughter and she LOVES them, (as well as mommy does) so I had to get her something and a couple of calendars for mommy’s stocking stuffer lol.

Fred

January 24th, 2012
11:47 am

Hey Jen: Is that (the pic) the new one by Northlake Mall? It sure looks like it. They take your order there and then bring it out to your table lol.

sambojr

January 24th, 2012
11:47 am

Too many of the wrong kind of people moved into the neighborhood and destroyed it.

Crap

January 24th, 2012
11:54 am

Read the caption under the picture of the standalone CFA. It shows what CFA is moving toward instead of mall stores, and this strategy is mentioned in the story. There’s nothing wrong journalistically in using a counterpoint picture as long as the caption ties the picture to the story. It does. But the point of the story is that S DeKalb Mall ain’t the nicest part of town and CFA no longer makes money there. CFA doesn’t ‘owe’ a store location to anyone.

South DeKalb Resident

January 24th, 2012
11:56 am

I grew up in the South DeKalb area and still live there. I don’t understand why you guys keep talking about the crime. This is a great place to live and shop. Crime is every where you go. If I recall correctly, the crime is higher around Lenox and the other elite areas. Please get a life and leave South DeKalb the HELL alone.

Jenn

January 24th, 2012
11:56 am

Some of you guys need to relax. People go to that mall everyday and emerge unscathed, it’s not a war zone. Granted, the area has gone down over the past few years, but you aren’t risking your life walking through the doors.

Tyrone

January 24th, 2012
11:58 am

South DeKalb County is riddled with crime. No surprises here…just move along.

Lifelong ATL Resident

January 24th, 2012
12:02 pm

Jai @ 11:41 am

No one here CARES about your race or demographic.

Regardless of your ethnicity or epidermal hue, I do NOT want to surrender my valuables, my body or my life to you just to get a 12-Pack of CFA Nuggets, a medium order of waffle fries and a large lemonade in a notoriously crime-filled and dirty part of town.

Go direct that blind rage and namecalling somewhere else, Jai, please.

Hmm

January 24th, 2012
12:05 pm

Heck even Dekalb Police pulled out of that mall years ago. Dekalb Goverment and the mall employees are to blame letting people.rent that dont even have business licenses. The owners of the mall are to blame no forsight into keeping it alive. County doesnt get any taxes money the whole area slides. How many more auto repair shops,nail places,tattoo palors, and hair solons does South Dekalb need? Dollar stores dont count as keeping the area vibrant.

Gov. Christie

January 24th, 2012
12:11 pm

Rod, and others: The pic’s ok for this particular story, as the caption points out the TYPE of store Chick-fil-A is moving forward with.

Do any of you truly NEED to see a picture of the inside store at the Mall?

Besides, if a reporter ventured over there with his camera, he, certainly the camera, would not have even made it out!

SouthDekalbNative

January 24th, 2012
12:13 pm

Have any of you complaining about SD Mall ever been there? Because I never have encountered these issues and I have been going there for 26yrs. i grew up in South Dekalb County, Moved to the City of Atlanta but still come to South Dekalb Mall to support black owned businesses. I have been treated better at South Dekalb than I have at Lenox. I would much rather go where my money is appreciated. I have never felt threatened or bullied, further more, the Movie Theater at South Dekalb Mall is the NICEST in the AREA! I am so sad to see this Chickfila go, the nearest is Wesley Chapel. But I will continue to support American Deli, the Turkey Burger place etc.!

J

January 24th, 2012
12:21 pm

DUH! Look at the caption of the picture. It’s says CFA will open more free standing stores than mall locations, THAT’S why they didn’t show the South Dekalb location. And if your point is the store was unsuccessful, why as a business would you want an unsuccessful store to be shown. You are trying to PROMOTE your brand, hence the NEW store photo (admit it everyone likes new/renovated over old).

As for these silly questions about why one mall over another, it is all about business. It isn’t about being fair. If I owned a boutique (small business) I’d want to put it in a mall w/ good foot traffic, and people who have money they are willing to spend. I also wouldn’t want my store in a location with safety concerns. This is just good business. It has nothing to do with a GRAND CONSPIRACY against a specific demographic. Dollars don’t come in a race/color. When will people see that successful business is not usually politically correct. In order to stay in business you have to make money. This shouldn’t offend anyone. I think in this country we need to refresh our understanding of economics. It’s just math and business savy, it’s nothing personal.

And if you ever feel insulted based on your race, or how much money you make (though I must add no one knows how much money you make – it’s not written on your forehead), what kind of car you drive, your zipcode, whatever…TAKE YOUR BUSINESS ELSEWHERE! That’s the part you can control. But you do not control the decisions a private business has the privilege to make.

(Written by a black person for the sake of the overly race-conscious people who refuse to recognize their own naivete and bigotry and will ASSUME by some of my comments that I must be white. #enoughalready #TRUTH)

Cassy

January 24th, 2012
12:26 pm

My mom use to take us to this Chick-fil-a every Saturday for ice cream…I will miss this store and mall as a matter of fact; CG Class of 86

L O L !

January 24th, 2012
12:32 pm

RE: “…the Movie Theater at South Dekalb Mall is the NICEST in the AREA!”

NICEST?

NICEST to talk out loud to the characters on the screen who can’t hear you?

NICEST in which to talk on your cell phone during the film?

NICEST in which to do your Christmas shopping from the cars in the parking lot?

NICEST in which to test out your new body armor?

NICEST in which to sneak in buckets of chicken-n-biscuits or Tupperware bowls of spaghetti?

R O T F L !!!!

Loretta Henderson

January 24th, 2012
12:55 pm

Truett Cathy is an ignorant bigot. I will be glad when every single one of these stores goes out of business.

dl

January 24th, 2012
12:57 pm

@get your facts straight – your facts are incorrect. The shoe riot was at South Dekalb. It may had happened at Stonecrest too, but my girlfriend was at the mall during that time.

David

January 24th, 2012
12:59 pm

atlantatoseattle2016

January 24th, 2012
12:50 pm

THANKS GHETTO NEGROES FROM THE SLUMS OF THE NORTH RUINING THE ONCE BEAUTIFUL METRO ATLANTA AREA WITH YOUR CRIMES,DISRESPECT FOR FOLKS AND PROPERTY..YOU WONT REST UNTIL IT LOOKS LIKE THE SLUMS OF THE NORTH…SEATTLE,WA..I CANT WAIT TO MOVE!!!

Hey atlantatoseattle2016 need any help packing?

Kam Phong as Chin Ho

January 24th, 2012
1:04 pm

South DeKalb Mall DID re-brand itself “Afro-Centric” a few years ago. That didn’t stop the decline. Maybe if CFA modified the menu and started selling chittlins and rib sammiches from a sidewalk trailer at South DeKalb they could make a go of it.