ATLANTA — It's the end of an era for the Atlanta icon known as Disco Kroger. The store, which got its name from the former neighboring club "The Limelight," closed its doors Friday.
It was a bittersweet day for shoppers and employees who grew up with the Kroger that stood for nearly 50 years. Christopher Ledbetter, who works nearby, said he shopped at the Disco Kroger often. He reflected on fond memories of the store on Piedmont Road in Buckhead.
"It's going to be missed," Ledbetter said. "A lot of people who didn't live in this area would come here to shop, because of the name, brand and history it has brought in this neighborhood. There’s a couple who came inside the store a couple days ago, they met at the old club, the disco club connected to the Kroger – 20 years ago – and got married.”
While the disco ball featured inside the store had been removed recently, the eye-popping mural painted on the side of the building remains for now. The lease on Kroger is set to expire in 2023, according to a company spokesperson.
“It’s an icon, it’s a monument, it’s definitely going to be missed in this Buckhead community," Ledbetter said.
The company said Kroger pharmacy customers can transfer to another location or even another pharmacy outside of Kroger. All employees, 11Alive is told, will be reassigned to other Kroger locations. This marks the second Kroger to close in the last week. On Dec. 2, the store on Commerce Drive in Decatur closed.
Disco Kroger sits in Atlanta City Councilman Howard Shook's District. Shook calls it a lost piece of history but a site desperately in need of a facelift.
"All good things must come to an end," Shook said. "The shopping center is anachronistic in many ways, and it’s going to be redeveloped, which will have a lot of benefits for the surrounding community. Disco Kroger is something people like remembering or thinking about, including me, and it’s another lost piece of history. I understand that, but it is what it is.”
Atlanta City Councilman Michael J. Bond said he felt attached to the Kroger and was sad to see it close.
"The clubs in the area, I did frequent – and we’d often end up in that Kroger afterward, at the Limelight or some of the other bars and restaurants," Bond said. "The increase in development has created pressure on store owners generally. Many people like myself shop online now for groceries and have them delivered.”
Bond said the new development replacing Kroger would include another grocery store.
"There are lots of proposals for more density, more high-rise buildings," Bond said. "I’m a native of Atlanta, and it seems like Buckhead is always developing, always growing upward. I would think we’d expect more of the same.”
Shook said the redevelopment of the area would also look at fixing some environmental problems involving a creek that frequently overflows and mixes with garbage. For longtime shoppers like Shane Sklar, the disappointment in losing a convenient option to shop is replaced with the hope for something better in the future.
“It’s hard to imagine. It’s kind of sad, but sometimes growth is good," Sklar said. "I get it. You want to revitalize the city, and sometimes you have to grow.”