Dozens turn out, pay respects at infamous yet beloved 'Murder Kroger'

Vigil pays tribute to infamous 'Murder Kroger'

It may sound odd, but on Thursday night, a few dozen people lit candles and stood in the parking lot of an Atlanta grocery store to say their goodbyes.

Yes, the "Murder" Kroger on Ponce De Leon in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood is infamous here in Atlanta.

Murder Kroger has come to symbolize the sketchiness of Ponce over the generations.

"We're showing our respect to Murder Kroger," one attendee said.

"I don't know what I'm going to do now," said another.

"They could put the Taj Mahal here and it's still going to be Murder Kroger," said yet another.

So how does a grocery store in Atlanta with a past like that come to be memorialized like this?

"To say goodbye to a grocery store? That's more about the community than the grocery store," one mourner said.

PHOTOS: Saying goodbye to Murder Kroger

A community that has grown around a grocery store that earned its nickname due to actual deaths in the immediate area.  Is it strange? Sort of.  But those who organized this event could care less about that.

"Cause we're all really weird and we liked it," organizer Rachel Bowen said.

It's a store that would bring Bowen and another local college student - both Atlanta natives - to pull together such an event.

"That's really sad; we should hold a vigil for it," fellow organizer Rowyn Hirsch said.

The store has a dark reputation that, conversely, has been emblazoned on t-shirts.

But somehow the community has banded together around it.

"We're sort of taking pride in our history now that things are actually better and can look back and see it with comfort rather than fear," shopper Patrick Tisdel said.

"It has a bad reputation, but its been an establishment; it's been a place for the community," another longtime shopper, Alison Fibben, said.

And, strangely, it's a reputation that many said hasn't stopped them from shopping there.

"I went to Georgia tech in the 90s so we made regular pilgrimages out to the Murder Kroger," Paul Schiel said.

On Thursday night, the people who call this place home said a final goodbye to Murder Kroger as they know it now.

A mixed-use high rise will replace the storied grocery. And there will actually be another Kroger when all is said and done - just not one with the dubious yet proudly memorialized history that has become a part of Atlanta lore.

As one attendee put it: "It's part nostalgia and part novelty."

Chris Buchanan contributed to this report

(© 2017 WXIA)


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