Hidden Hills Civic Association trying to entice Publix to stay

The Hidden Hills Civic Association is asking residents to shop at the Publix on South Hairston Road on Feb. 16 in a last-ditch attempt to keep the store open.

In a last-ditch attempt to convince Publix to stay open on South Hairston Road, the Hidden Hills Civic Association is sponsoring a Super Shopping Day at the supermarket on Feb. 17.

The association represents 1,600 single-family homes near the Publix, which is scheduled to close on March 3. It is asking residents to shop at the store on Feb. 16 to demonstrate their buying power.

It has also launched an online petition, collecting signatures to send to Publix to try to change the company’s mind.

Residents can sign the petition at www.wearehiddenhills.com.

At a Feb. 6 association meeting with District 5 Commissioner Mereda Davis-Johnson, residents said the county is partly to blame for Publix’s impending departure.

In a Jan. 25 letter to DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond, Hidden Hills resident Miriam Martin wrote, ”Having five Wal-Mart stores within a 10-mile radius of our neighborhood is not giving us the shopping choices we need to have a viable community.”

Martin, who lives on Wedgewood Drive in Stone Mountain, said she believes that the county’s desire to generate new revenue overrides the possibility of healthy competition which has caused stores to close and leave eyesores in the community.

“Your office must work with the Board of Commissioners, and the Planning Department to come up with a formula that would allow for healthy competition to keep quality stores in our communities,” Martin wrote.

The area near the Hidden Hills community lost the Kroger at North Hairston and Memorial Drive in Stone Mountain last October, and Walmart Neighborhood Market at Panola Road and Covington Highway in Lithonia on Jan. 30.

On Jan. 11, the Sam’s Club on Turner Hill Road in Stonecrest closed.

At the Feb, 6 meeting at Berean Community Center on Young Road, Davis Johnson suggested that e-commerce played a part in the store’s departure.

She said she doesn’t believe it’s a demographics issue.

“Believe it or not, stores are closing everywhere,” Davis Johnson said.

Residents said they were frustrated with e-commerce being used as an excuse for the recent and impending store closings.

“I’m not believing that,” Martin said. “People still buy groceries.”

Davis-Johnson says she is always supportive of citizens voicing their concerns.

“I try to get to the facts and then you see what can be done about it,” she said.

Publix spokesperson Brenda Reid said in November that the South Hairston store has been under-performing for some time and that the company has been unable to make it profitable.

The Publix is at 2075 South Hairston Road in Decatur.