Have you been to Toco Hills lately? It is undergoing a facelift after decades of a sagging facade and the results are amazing! The new look is modern and upbeat complete with new businesses and a new attitude. It’s still underway but I tell you, you’ll be impressed!
My favorite new addition is ChopT the “Creative Salad Company”. 10 years ago, I was in NYC with girlfriends and we found ChopT restaurant (or something just like it) near our hotel and I fell in love with it and have hoped since then for one in Atlanta. Well it’s here and just as good as I remember. You go through the line as you would at Mod Pizza or Moe’s and select everything you want in your salad and they have tons to choose from, including proteins and all kinds of dressings. It’s all piled in a bowl and once complete, it’s dumped out onto a cutting board, chopped into fine pieces and put back in your bowl to eat there or take to go. Each bite is deliciously flavorful with finely chopped bits of everything you selected, making eating your veggies so much fun!
Can you tell I love this place?
However, there is a downside to facelifts, the increase in rents that go along with it. I am both a landlord and a tenant so I totally get it. Facelifts and updates cost a lot of money. Taxes and insurance go up, common area maintenance increases. In other words, it’s not free and everyone has to help pay for it. Often there are casualties of the renovations and 2 not-for-profit thrift stores that once did business in Toco Hills Shopping Center are now gone: The Junior League Thrift Store closed their store for good and Wellspring moved their inventory to their remaining shops in Duluth and Peachtree City.
I’m sad for the not-for-profit stores because I supported what they were doing financially and philosophically. The stores made money for their causes and now that source is gone. But development marches on and clever Boards will find ways to make up the shortfalls. And Toco Hills will become vogue once again, creating opportunities for new business and more jobs all around.
It’s just the life cycle of a shopping center beginning once again.