This is ironic, I recently drove down Candler and was surprised at how few vacant stores there were in the entire corridor. To read about Wayfields closing really is a shame. Not because the store was all that great, but because it creates a large open vacant space that will need to be filled and filled fast. I think I may have visited that store twice, and both times it was not the best experience. It always had a smell, and like the article says, its equipment was in need of repair. My father-in-law swore by it, and many older residents of that area shopped there on a regular basis. Wayfields leaving will leave a significant vacancy, and may hurt surrounding smaller businesses who relied on that spill over traffic from Wayfields. I hope the leasing company can find a viable business to fill that hole. Candler Road has its problems along with many detractors, but it is a central part of the South DeKalb community. I have been to suburban areas in DeKalb, and Gwinnett and seen entire strip malls empty. On Candler, you would be hard pressed to find a lot of vacant space. Candler Road caters to the people in the area with mom and pop services. It does not have big box retailers, and outside of the mall, never has as far as I can remember. The businesses in the area offer services to people who might not otherwise have access to them at a reasonable price. There is health care, dental care, cemeteries, insurance agents, a community newspaper, tax services, schools, churches, and a myriad of other services. If you drive Candler from Memorial to Panthersville you will see a thriving and bustling retail area that is far from death. Losing the Wayfields will sting the neighborhood a bit, but hopefully someone will come in and open another local grocery store that will give residents and alternative to the Publix, and Kroger nearby.
While DeKalb residents won’t have to pay more in property taxes this year, they will see a loss in services, including the board of health, senior services and libraries. That loss could get worse.
At this point, can things get much worse. I do not know how long the commission can go with out raising taxes. If they continue cutting in order not to raise taxes, they risk killing what little quality of life amenities that remain. When the new numbers for property taxes comes in, I think most commissioners will use that as cover to go ahead and raise taxes. They have fought the good fight, and have proven that they will not raise taxes. Now they should consider a small increase if only to balance the budget, without making further cuts in service. If they continue making cuts, the sacred cow of public safety could be headed to the slaughter.
I have been telling my wife for years now that Stonecrest could not survive on retail. There needed to be some diversity in the area. It was a huge undertaking, and was badly needed in the area. Stonecrest has done some great things for the area. You can physically see the difference of surrounding areas. But the honeymoon is over. There are way too many vacant stores in the mall and in the shopping centers around it. If Stonecrest is to survive, there needs to be more commercial businesses. It needs to attract small and medium businesses that employ people, and pay them a decent salary. A regional headquarters for a national company, or even some state or federal offices. Stonecrest is not like South DeKalb, or North DeKalb malls. Those are neighborhood malls that cater to a very local population. Stonecrest is on the order of Northlake, or Perimeter malls. These two malls have lots of retail space, but they were augmented by corporations and businesses with a workforce that traveled there daily, and used the various retail outlets while there. Stonecrest is a mall with little else other than retail to offer. Unless the county, or the Convention and Visitors Bureau steps up with a plan, more stores will pack up and Stonecrest will fail faster than any mall I know of.