Retailers

Mirror Ball to Wrecking Ball for Atlanta's 'Disco Kroger'

Atlanta associates ratify new contract
Buckhead "Disco Kroger" photograph: Shutterstock; Inset: Atlanta Constitution clip, 1982

An Atlanta-area Kroger store known locally as the “Disco Kroger”—in honor of an infamous dance club that was once its next-door neighbor—will be closing as part of a shopping-center renovation.

The store in the Piedmont Peachtree Crossing center in Buckhead, which originally opened in 1975, will be demolished as part of the center’s renovation. A new grocery store will be built at the site but it is unlikely to include Kroger as its anchor, local reports said.

The center was once home to the Limelight dance club, an Atlanta nightlife attraction that shared a parking lot with the 24-hour store. The club was something of a Studio 54 of Atlanta, known for its state-of-the-art sound system and light shows, sharply-dressed patrons, including celebrities who waited in long lines to enter, and elaborate stunts, including for a time, a live panther beneath its glass dance floor.

The colorful late-night clientele at times brought it into controversy—a Kroger manager at a liquor license hearing once complained of drug use and fornication on top of cars, contemporary accounts said—but the neighbors eventually embraced one another as the store became popularly known as the “Disco Kroger,” and its deli the “Disco Deli.” At one time, the store offered its own entertainment with a grand piano.

The Limelight closed in 1987 but was succeeded by other clubs. Kroger by the time of a 2001 renovation had hung a disco ball at its entrance and its decor included photographs of its boogie heritage. In 2008, the store was among the first in the chain to be renovated under its upscale “Fresh Fare” concept.

Reports this month said Regency Centers, which owns the shopping center, plans to preserve the disco ball, along with a disco-themed mural painted on the side of a neighboring tenant.

Earlier this year in Houston, another Kroger store known locally as “Disco Kroger” closed after 42 years. That store got its local nickname for its location nearby clubs in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood, known for its LGBTQ+ population.

New Contract With Local 1996

Separately last week, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1996 ratified new contracts for Kroger workers in Atlanta and Savannah, Ga.

Kroger said the deal calls for wage increases totaling more than $300 million over four years.

The UFCW Local 1996 agreements cover more than 22,000 associates working at 170 stores in Greater Atlanta and Savannah.

“We are pleased that we could reach an agreement with our Atlanta and Savannah associates and support them as well as our company. These new agreements provide significant pay increases, affordable and comprehensive healthcare, and continued investment in our associates' pension fund,” said Tim Brown, president of the Kroger Atlanta division. “These agreements come after thoughtful and productive work by both the company and the union bargaining committees. I want to thank our associates for voting to ratify these two agreements and for the excellent service they provide for our customers every day.”

“After months of diligent work by UFCW Local 1996’s bargaining committee, our union members voted overwhelmingly to approve these contracts in Atlanta and Savannah,” said Steve Lomax, president and international VP of UFCW Local 1996. “We are excited to show the influence that essential workers can have in their workplaces to provide for higher wages, including comprehensive healthcare benefits and a pension. When workers and their union can come to the table together with a company to find solutions, everyone benefits.”

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