Sunday, May 27, 2007

Farewell Parisian, Welcome Back Belk

Parisian had a good run in Atlanta, but as most of us have long noticed, never really caught on. It was a store that those in Birmingham loved, but it did not really belong in Atlanta. I remember distinctly when they first arrived in a huge wave, opening in 1993 across Atlanta. Raised on Rich's and Davison's/Macy's, it was interesting but I did not quite see the point except that it brought a more upscale store than Rich's, though Nordstrom eventually stole its thunder with superior stores and staff.

Photos of the now-closed Parisian at Hamilton Place Mall in Chattanooga. This store was an original anchor to the mall when it opened in 1986 and closed due to Belk already owning two stores in the mall. The top photo is of the closing Parisian at Northlake Mall.

While a nice store, most in Atlanta just saw Parisian as overpriced store with underwhelming sales staff. While higher end than Rich's, the store hardly held the niche of Nordstrom or the chic of Neiman Marcus, and Parisian played too much on the overinflated and eventually declining middle class in the early 1990's to establish itself. It was a Birmingham store that CEO Brad Hubbert intended to take national when it was virtually unknown outside of its home state...a risky venture indeed. With that, considering Georgians often condescending attitude towards anything out of Alabama, one wonders how anybody would have thought this would work.

Here are the two most prominent Birmingham locations at Riverchase Galleria, which opened in 1986 and The Summit, which opened in 1998. The former has a very strange stretched, angular design while the latter is one of three anchors of the nation's first "lifestyle center".

Nevertheless, Parisian has enjoyed an almost 15 year run in Atlanta with its initial foray at Town Center at Cobb, Gwinnett Place, Phipps Plaza and Northlake followed by newer locations at North Point (1997), Arbor Place (1998) and Stonecrest (2001). All were new locations except for North Point's, which opened in a former Mervyn's. Northlake's store was among the most bizarre. It was a skinny, elongated store that was squeezed into a spot near the Sears where a McCrory's once was located.

The Parisian at Town Center at Cobb mall in Kennesaw was the same design as all of the initial Parisian stores that opened in Atlanta in 1993.

The sale of Parisian finished off a blitz of department store mergers in the state that began in 2003 when Rich's was merged with Macy's, effectively eliminating most of the Davison's original locations and a couple years later, the Rich's name. The new owners, Belk, had no intentions of keeping a store that was only popular within its original market when the Belk name has been a staple of the South well-known beyond its North Carolina origins. Belk has not been kind to what remains of the chain, now closing three stores in the Atlanta area (North Point, Northlake and Stonecrest) and closing the store at Hamilton Place in Chattanooga in early 2007 where Belk already dominated a large part of the mall thanks to its previous buyout of Proffitt's.

The re-emergence of Belk in Atlanta is an interesting chapter. The locations of Belk in Georgia are second only to their home state of North Carolina. Belk has always been very prominent in the small towns across Georgia, predominantly under local partnerships that resulted in Belk Rhodes in West Georgia, Belk Matthews in central Georgia, Belk Beery in Savannah, Belk Hagins in Americus and possibly others. Atlanta's was known as Belk Gallant, and these stores were all across the area though they never made it to shopping malls. It has been said they were very unpopular at the time, and they completely left the Atlanta market during the 1960's. There really was not room for what was at the time a low-end chain when competing against the national Penney's and Sears, lower-end Kessler's and higher end Rich's and Davison's.

The Belk Matthews located at Macon Mall still retained its original signage in 2005. This store will be closing with Belk relocating into the former Parisian at the same mall

However, Belk was hardly forgetting the market they lost, because their dominance in the South is dramatic and also unique in that they stay exclusively south of the Mason-Dixon line. Belk is also the largest privately owned chain of department stores in the country with the Belk family still in control of the company, now covering most if not all of the South. Compare this to the Rich family which sold off their stores in 1975 with far fewer locations in only three states.

With the market consolidated down, Belk created a test store in the Mall of Georgia when they took over the closed Lord & Taylor location. Seeing that it was a success, when Parisian went up for sale they were more than glad to buy out the Atlanta collection of stores. This allowed Belk to bring A-class stores to Atlanta and to find a place in Atlanta's coveted malls. Already, they were in strip malls all across the area but had not been able to center on the prize. I can't say that outside Birmingham, Parisian will be sorely missed, but more than likely the reintroduction of Belk in Atlanta is welcomed by many: especially those that are very disappointed in the decline and demise of Rich's and Davison's into a subpar bastardized Macy's.


  1. Nice work, JT. My mother told me just yesterday that she saw an ad on TV where the North Point Parisian is closing. Surely, I thought, she meant to say Northlake, which wouldn't (doesn't) surprise me.

    I must say I'm a little shocked that North Point, and to a lesser degree, Stonecrest, are closing. If I had to guess, I'd say that the locations are leased with a higher rate than Belk wants to pay. But still, it's not like these are ancient stores in depressed areas.

    I know the North Point store is tiny by any measure, so that may have also been a nail in its coffin. Still, I would think that could have been worked out by leasing a floor of the L&T. Surely Simon would have rather had that than 2 empty anchors. Any info on why these stores are closing?

    Parisian always reminded me of Harris-Teeter's foray into Atlanta. You have a chain which is loved in its home town; which places itself a little higher than the current entrants; and it never really catches on and retreats a few years later. Now, Parisian lasted about 5 times as long as HT did, but still, overall they tend to have a Belk issue of their own. My mother, from Decatur, Alabama, never saw Parisian as anything special -- just another store (i.e., Belk in small towns). In Atlanta, Parisian tried to be more upscale (i.e., Belk at SouthPark in Charlotte). I guess since both Parisian and Belk seem to have this internal stratification, this acquisition doesn't seem that odd to me anymore...


  2. I'm really wondering about the future of North Point. I suspected a couple years ago that despite the area, North Point was very slowly dying. I went there all the time in HS, and honestly it never seemed to really catch on to me. I never remember it being very crowded even when it was new. It was a mall that seemed designed to outdo Perimeter, but was way too big and typical of malls built in the 90's, the older mall turned out to be a thorn in its side. I wish it would regain its luster, though: it was quite a showplace when it opened.

    I noticed the other day that they seem to have plans for the old L&T, but what I cannot tell. It did look like they were tearing out the interior of the store. I'm suspecting that the owners plan a Cumberland Mall-styled renovation where they tear down the weak part of the mall to build some obnoxious lifestyle extravaganza. The owners are General Growth, and they have done this with all of their malls. Tearing down part of this excessively large mall may not be a bad idea, but like Cumberland I just see it as a short-term treatment for a potentially sick mall.

    In terms of these other malls, though, this looks to be a bad sign of the future of them. Northlake is shaky. Stonecrest probably has something to do with Belk being rumored to be shaky about having stores in majority minority areas, but I do not know.

    That's a pretty accurate assessment on Parisian comparing it to Harris-Teeter, but Harris-Teeter is still in business in its home turf while Parisian is being wiped out. Parisian never held the sentiments to people in Alabama like Pizitz and Loveman's did. Birmingham has been the victim of slew of closures , buyouts and mergers since the 80's and if you've been there you'll notice the "Magic City" has lost a lot of its sparkle, especially on the retail front.

    Honestly, the only thing not Georgia about Belk is where it's headquartered. It seems to have quite an impact on this state and I cannot go to any town of any size without seeing a Belk with exception of a few areas. With Belk almost blockading Atlanta, it really did not surprise me they seized the right opportunity to come in and try to dominate the malls in the city.

    1. Yes! North Point was a sad place, but now that Von Maur is there it is going much better. Von Maur moved to the old Belk space. Parisian's old spot is not doing well. The White collum tops are turning yellow. Anyway Do you know by any way where the first Parisian was in Birmingham? (or anywhere) Parisian started in Birmingham and I don't know for sure where it was. I'm too young. (It started in 1860) Nobody from then is still around I bet.

    2. Actually PARISIAN was founded in Mobile Al. in the late nineteenth century and moved to Birmingham about ten years later. At the end of its run it was located in Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida. It had several stores in each state and was about to expand into Memphis and Arkansas with Dallas on the horizon. There are three stores remaining in the greater Detroit area and southeast Michigan. BON TON dept. Stores bought those and the right to only use the name on those locations with no future expansion. Having lost HUDSON'S to MACY'S, Detroiters embraced PARISIAN as their new hometown store. People in Ohio and Nashville, and Greenville S.C. still mourn the loss of PARISIAN. It was highly successful in most of its markets and did very well financially in Atlanta as well. It did pull out of a few north Florida locations near the last years. I have read here many things that are not accurate about the chain, such as it not having a large enough footprint to go national but as you can read here its footprint was larger than NORDSTROM when it start going national in the eighties. It was owned by two local families for most of its history and was sold simply because they were ready to retire and never intended to build a dynasty.It definitely met its target of being and upper middle to upscale store, it never presumed to be 'luxury' although one could drop some dough there because they had excellent selections in there best stores. It was briefly a sister store to BONWIT TELLER of New York, and SAKOWITZ of Houston. If its sales staff in Atlanta was not up to par it was no doubt due to the fact that is true across the board in Atlanta. There is great need to 'put on airs' there, your don't find that in most of the true luxury markets. I do hope that will change someday, although I most shop out west. I hope I have added a little enlightenment. Yes, I did love the store, but again, I love a lot of wonderful businesses in retail. Sad to see them go and glad to see them come. I am even warming a little bit to the BELK FLAGSHIPS. Just a little. lol

      Raj Kapoor

    3. I actually opened and worked at the Memphis location Parisians. I also helped open the Little Rock location in late September 2006. We closed our Memphis location just over a year and a half after we opened in October 2005. We were bought out by Belk in the summer of 2006. The Memphis location of Parisian was then bought from Belk by Macys, and is still currently a Macys. .

  3. So, are they not re-opening the Stonecrest as a Belk? That would be disappointing as that's the mall closest to my home. I was looking forward to getting a (nice) Belk right by the house.

  4. And also, agreeing with Matt, the Stonecrest location, specifically, is definitely not in a depressed area. South DeKalb county is one of the most affluent minority areas in the country. In fact, the Parisian there is actually the newest in Atlanta. (It's going on 6 years old, along with the rest of the mall.) I think that a Belk would be more than an asset to Stonecrest. I like Belk and they have excellent sales. That's a lot more than I can say for the Macy's (of course, a former Rich's) at the mall.

    I know this is about Parisian, but this whole Belk (or possible lack thereof) thing just shows how much of a slight disappointment Stonecrest as a whole is. It's a nice mall when you have to "run in and grab something". But it's not a shopping destination the way Lenox and Perimeter are. But it has so much more potential than retailers are giving it credit for. When My response to the mall when it first opened was "It's nice, but where's the Banana Republic, and the J. Crew, and the Abercrombie & Fitch and the Hollister? (I honestly don't expect to see A&F at Stonecrest any time soon)" Heck, they don't even have a Limited for the ladies or, even more surprisingly, an Old Navy (Not even outside the mall...the nearest ON is about 3-4 exits away in Conyers). Stonecrest didn't neccesarily solve what I like to call "The Lenox Problem": people in the area surrounding Stonecrest still have to go Lenox and Perimeter for the "nicer" stores.

    My idea is, if retailers and the developers get their act together, is to build a lifestyle center type center to all that extra not-yet-developed land right next to the mall to house the more upper-middle class stores that the Mall lacks. A separate shopping center is the best way to do this because the way the mall is set up, there's no room for expansion and it's filled to near capacity.

    But I hope that they make the Parisian at Stonecrest a Belk because I think it will be a big help for the mall.

  5. Parisian's architects from the '80s were awesome; by contrast, the stores from the '90s already seem stale.

    I hate seeing chains close down, but I'm almost indifferent about Parisian. It had a good run, and it was certainly a great store. But I never was particurally interested in it. It was like Lord & Taylor in their promotional years: classy but veneer-thin in its presence.

    Kind of suprising to hear Belk isn't staying at North Point or Northlake. I'm guessing Parisian wasn't doing so well at either location. You have to wonder if North Point is gearing up for a Neiman Marcus in one of the vacant anchors though. The other mall that keeps getting pushed back for North Fulton can't hold NM's interest for much longer.

    Stonecrest isn't quite as suprising. Belk isn't shy about closing stores in minority-populated areas, and though I'd love to think otherwise, I think their closure at Stonecrest had something to do with this...

    At Macon Mall, Belk's saving themselves some maintences and remodeling costs by moving to the newer Parisian, though I can't help but feel sad they're abandoning the Carolina Circle-clone Belk Matthews location.

  6. The North Point Mall store will be closed for 6 weeks. It will re-open as Belk in the former Lord & Taylor space. The existing, and much smaller, Parisian anchor store will then be vacant.

    I have to wonder if this is the beginning of the end for Northlake Mall. It was limping along as it is - now to lose a major anchor? How much longer will Macy's and Penney's hold on?

    How do you all feel about the fact that one of the nation's finest malls - Phipps Plaza - will be anchored by a store (Belk) that for the better part of its history was regarded as being lower than JC Penney?

  7. Ok, so here is what's going on. According to the wording of the e-mail I got from Belk, Northlake and Stonecrest's stores are unfortunately closing altogether, but they didn't say anything about North Point's store.

    Here's the e-mail:

    The Northlake Parisian (770)496-3200 and StoneCrest Parisian
    will be closing and are having clearance sales.

    The Phipps Plaza store is slated to be rebranded as Belk and will be a flagship store in Atlanta, similar to the Southpark Belk.

  8. Ok, here's my thing...I can see Belk closing the Northlake store because NL has become just pathetic and is knocking on's door. Stonecrest, on the other hand, is still a growing and fresh development. I think it would be a shame for a mall as new as Stonecrest to have an empty anchor already. Which begs the question: what are they going to do with the space after Parisian's gone? I hope they don't leave it standing derelict. (I wrote to Stonecrest concerning this. I'll let you know what they say.)

    I'm concerened about the future of SC because it seems many major retailers, not only Belk, are not interested in opening up shop in a predominately black community and, really, that's the only thing that SC has going against it. And I hope that Stonecrest doesn't become a flop because of this, because like I said, SC has much more potential than the decision-makers are giving the mall (and it's customers) credit for.

  9. First off, sorry about all these posts...I really am interested in what happens with real estate developments and what not.

    So Stonecrest is planning on bringing "one of the fastest growing department stores in the nation" there and that they'll make an official announcement soon and the store will open in the fourth quarter of 2007...wonder what it is. If it's Nordstrom (I highly doubt it), I will eat my hat.

  10. tres, the very possibly likelihood for Stonecrest is a chain out of the northeast that has been growing rapidly and energizing weaker and lower-end malls called Boscov's. Boscov's right now is no further south than Danville, VA, but it is a chain that prides itself on being a traditional department store with full departments. If they opened one of those here, I'd be pretty excited about seeing it.

    Other than that, I wouldn't be sure and God forbid it is a Burlington Coat Factory or Bealls from Florida. The South's retail landscape has been pretty much diced up and I sincerely doubt that our favorite upscale stores would want to locate there. There's already a Nordstrom at Perimeter in the same county and Neiman Marcus hasn't even located out of Atlanta yet.

    And yes I agree...I'm very disappointed on how Stonecrest has been snubbed for higher end stores. Though I am not from the area, I have visited the mall and noticed this very much. I do, however, note that the income levels in the Redan area do not average out high enough to woo many retailers, and that Lithonia itself is at poverty line according to the data I used a couple years ago. I was doing a GIS project on the demise of Columbia Mall and had to use income data for the areas around the different malls in order to analyze which factors most affected it.

    However, considering nearby Rockdale County and the large market it has the potential to serve, I do think in this case it still IS racism. Retailers have a perception that middle-class blacks are not going to spend money on name brand designer clothes and higher end restaurants. I think a walk through Perimeter Mall proves what a fallacy that line of thinking is.

  11. Hey, J.T. Again, sorry about all the posts but all this is interesting to me. Well, all told, I guess I'll have to enjoy Belk elsewhere in Atlanta. Maybe the large Phipps store since I do most of my shopping up that way anyway.

    We must have mental telepathy or something because Boscov's is exactly what I have in mind for the Parisian space. I've never set foot in one before, but I've heard so much about it. And I couldn't think of anything else to (realistically) open up there. And I'm hoping that they don't make it a B.C.F. either. The last thing that mall needs is several steps down in terms of anchor line up.

    My other idea was to split the two floors into two big boxes, like make the upper floor an H&M (another thing that Atlanta lacks...I guess if it took IKEA a while to catch on then we may have to wait a little while longer on an H&M) and the bottom floor a Macy's Furniture Store or a Kohl's or something. Anothere idea is to make the whole thing a Dick's Sporting Goods.

  12. I'm a former employee of Proffitt's, a former store in the chain of mid market stores of Saks Inc. Proffitts too was sold to Belk. I had 1st hand knowledge of the volume, & P&L of all the Atlanta Parisian stores....They were not that impressive.

    As of no surprise, the Phipps & Town Center locations were approximently $35 mil & $20 mil stores. NorthPoint could not do the volume because of the square footage limitations. Arbor Place & Gwinnett Place each volume is about the same around $10 mil. Which leaves the 2 locations that will not be converted to the Belk nameplate.

    Stonecrest, as nice as the store is, barely does $6 mil a year. Thus the limited selections of say Stonecrest Parisian vs NorthPoint Parisian even though the Stonecrest store was larger.
    The Northlake store's volume is slightly lower than Stonecrest.

    Had Saks Inc held onto Parisian, I am sure they too might have closed these locations because of P&L performance.

    As for Belk....I am sorry Belk is a Khol's store with a Estee Lauder & Lancome counter. There is nothing special about their stores, their presentations, selection or promotions.

    They have been successful by running stores in 2nd tier/rural markets. Yes, its about making money and Belk has been successful with this plan. But, if anyone has seen Belk at the Mall of Georgia vs Macys at Mall of Georgia Gee Wiz!!

    This is what Atlanta can expect out of Belk.

    Phipps Plaza with a Belk store! I cant wait to see the end results. Atleast the physical part of the store will be nice. Belk did not build it! But, they will drag in the Alfred Dunner, Koret and all the moderate priced mercandise that IS Belk into all of these converted Parisian locations.

    Belk's purchase of Saks Incorporated southern stores could be a big downer.

  13. Comment about Belk. I grew up in NC where Belk is king. They always tailor their stores to the market, so I suspect that Belk at Phipps will be like the Charlotte SouthPark store or the store at Crabtree in Raleigh. These stores can compete with the best of the best. They're much higher-end than Kohl's will ever be. Having said that, the NC chain that I still miss and wish still existed was Ivey's. The Ivey family did very much what the Rich family did, and sold the stores. They ended up being gobbled up by Dillard's. But, when Ivey's was still run by the family, it gave Belk a real run for their money by giving excellent, personalized service.

  14. Indeed about Ivey's. I was also very impressed with the stores history...I suspect Belk's expansion with those co-named stores is what made Ivey's finally give up. Ivey's did the same weird thing that Belk did: branch out to Florida. Both of them anchored Winter Park Mall in Central FL (the other Belk Lindsey).

    What impresses is me about Belk is that Belk did something no other private, family-owned department store knew how to do...expand all over a large part of the country without going bankrupt. They did that with the partnerships with local merchants. It makes me wish that the new Belk stores were Belk Gallants...largely to give the stores a bit of a local feel since we have no others now in Atlanta.

    It does at least make me feel good that Federated has lost a tremendous amount of same-store sales due to the brash elimination of local nameplates...especially in Chicago. Maybe Belk will be good enough here to give these Macy's here a run for THEIR money...I hope. Macy's themselves are largely harbingers of junk with very shoddy customer service. Style & Co., anyone?

  15. Parisian's first store outside of Alabama (or at least the first store in Georgia) was in Peachtree Mall in Columbus. As I recall, It was built around 1985 - back when Montgomery Ward and Gayfers were the only two other anchors at Peachtree. It wasn't a terribly large store - 85,000 sq. feet, I believe.

    For whatever reason, Belk decided to close the Peachtree Mall location of Parisian, making Columbus the largest market in Georgia - and possibly one of the largest markets in the Southeast - without a Belk presence. I found that to be a surprising decision.

    As far as I know, Columbus has never had a Belk location. I believe the nearest Belk is in LaGrange.

  16. know I've done the Stonecrest/Northlake update and according to an AJC article, they should be making the Parisians at both malls a Kohl's. Hmmm. I really was expecting something a little better, but with all the consolidations, I guess there isn't much choice. I guess a Kohl's will be better than a Burlington Coat Factory. I was actually thinking that a Steve & Barry's would be cool since they don't have that in Atlanta yet.

  17. Kohl's...oh I'm so excited I just am beside myself! We need more Kohl's!!! (end sarcasm) Honestly, it's hard to feel much civic pride in a city with so little unique about it. Boscov's maybe someday...sigh.

  18. Yeah, I know...Kohl's. I would take Belk over Kohl's any day. Kohl's stuff is mostly off-brand while a Belk would've offered a wider array of designer clothing.

    Can you believe that someone had the gall to refer to Stonecrest as "afrocentric"? And I don't think they meant that as a good thing. It's that kind of thinking that probably kept Belk out and now we have to settle for a Kohl's. I mean with all I've said about SC, it isn't that bad: American Eagle, Gap, Express, Victoria's Secret, Borders, Aeropostale, PacSun, Hot Topic, and Brookstone, among others all have a presence at Stonecrest. Even the Macy's there just started carrying Lacoste clothes, which is a good sign. (I used to only see Lacoste at the Lenox store) Who knows, maybe SC will get all those higher end stores that I mentioned above one day after all.

  19. JT
    I find that Belk's in Macon is sort of a Macy's with a redneck twang. At least they were when Mr. Matthews had Belk Matthews.

    The Belk kids I understand are difficult to work for compared to their father, Old Man Belk whomever he may be. Reminds you of the Sam Waltons.

    "Naw we ain't got no checkered britches. We got a sale on them golfin' shirts with a hoss on 'em though"

    Oh and don't steal from Wal-Mart; the associates have first dibs on stealing hehehe.

    And I thought the Westgate Wal-Mart had it all on internal shrinkage.

  20. ROFLMAO...well said!!! "Yew talkin' bout dem shirts wit the gatah on 'em...I don't think we got none of dem"

  21. "I am sorry Belk is a Khol's store with a Estee Lauder & Lancome counter."

    Perfectly said. I am confused as to what General Growth Properties is trying to do with North Point Mall. They're obviously tyring to jazz it up by bringing in nicer retailers (J Crew, Apple, etc), but a Belk? I am sure it was some contractual obligation.

    North Point is stragling along, but hopefully with future renovations ( on the roll it might come out of the pit, especially with heat from The Forum Prospect Park ( opening up the road.

  22. The most interesting part is, Bon-Ton bought some of the Parisian stores... and is KEEPING the Parisian name in Michigan (we've got 2 of them, plus a 3rd under construction).

  23. Not only is BonTon keeping the Parisian name on a few of the stores that it purchased, they also bought the rights to the private labels that Parisian carried in the south such as Parisian Signature and Prestwick & Moore.

  24. That is absolutely amazing! At that rate, Bon-Ton should bring Parisian back to Birmingham in the stores Belk doesn't want LOL.

  25. I have bery good memories of Belk stores from my childhood and teen years. Many small towns used to have a Belk store in their downtown and I remember getting some very fun clothes from them (my first pairs of nylon boxers from the Cedartown, GA one at age 14, 3 swimming trunks and shorts from the Toccoa one in summer 1984).

    Belk has certainly done a lot of closing and moving and reopening. I was in the Tupelo, MS "Mall at Barnes Crossing" one the night it decided to go out of business and bought a number of things 40 percent off.

    Most Belk stores had a name after the Belk, like Belk-Rhodes (Rome, Cedartown), Belk-Hudson (Gadsden, AL).

    In Huntsville, AL, where I currently live, Belk moved into the old McRaes (originally Pizitz), but after the Parisian deal, they've been remodeling the Parisian and are moving into it, which will leave the McRaes store vacant, which may start a decline of Madison Square Mall.

    I'd imagine this to be a problem in any mall already having a Belk and Parisian.

  26. Hey, JT, what's up? Thought of your blog when another idea popped up in my mind.

    I think that Kohl's has passed on Stonecrest too, which really doesn't disappoint me as much as Belk's decision. But like I suggested earlier, I think that the perfect thing for the Stonecrest Parisian space, and other malls plagued with an empty anchor, would be Steve and Barry's. Apparently, their stores have grown from having mostly college apparrel (I think they dropped the "University Wear" or whatever from the moniker). Supposedly they have great quality stuff at dirt cheap prices because everything's a private label (Think Trader Joes, but with clothes). Of course I'll have to check it out first. They've got one in Athens, so I'll check it out when school starts back.

    But that would be a great solution for so many malls with empty anchors. For example, they can also open one in the old Parisian at North Point (since Belk is using the former Lord & Taylor space) and the empty old Davison's/Macy's stores at Gwinnett, Town Center, and Southlake. The only catch is that these stores usually are only one floor, so the other will be left for something else to come in (I would suggest Filene's Basement, Stein Mart, or Macy's would be the case if a S&B would open @ Town Center.)

  27. I'm not suprised that Parisian is leaving Stonecrest. I always wondered how they made a profit, the store was always empty.

    When Stonecrest opened the mall had promise, but during the 4 years that I worked there, it has had some issues, some good and bad, but I still shop there.

    But KOHL's! They might as well put a Burlington Coat Factory there.

  28. Belk Gallant was not greatly unpopular in the Atlanta region, but Rich's and Davison's had the advantage of being ATLANTA department stores. Rich's and Davison's made the transition to suburban malls, which Belk Gallant didn't, which probably did in their Atlanta presence as much as being the 3rd rung department store player. The first discount stores arrived in the 1960's-Kmart, Zayre, Woolco, Grant's, and lastly Richway(which was more or less a modern version of what the Atlanta area Belk's had been) as the malls gained Rich's, Davison's, Sears and JCPenney. Belk kept its presence as close as Griffin, Newnan, Covington, Monroe, Winder, Gainesville, Cartersville, Carrollton, LaGrange, Rome, Cedartown, and Athens. It is these very stores that resulted in the current Atlanta mindset of Belk being a smalltown gramdma's store.

  29. IMHO, Saks,Inc tried to make Parisian their answer to Macy*s, and Parisian lost some of the panache it had in the early days of its expansion into the neighboring states. When Parisian came to Atlanta, the promise was to provide Atlanta with a truly Southern department store experience, that had been lost with Federated's acuqisition of Rich's in the late 70's and the conversion of Davison's to Macy*s in the early-80's(Macy*s had owned the chain since the 1920's, but really only began "Macyizing" the chain in the 1970's.

    With Macy*s, the Hearald Square store is the only flagship for the entire chain, with the downtown San Francisco chain serving as the second flagship. Macy*s is attempting to "market" the State Street Chicago ex-Marshall Fields as a flagship store, but has had little success-there are no flagship Rich's, Burdine's, Goldsmiths', Hecht's, Filene's, The Bon, etc. anymore. At least Belk is focusing on the South and is willing to operate flagship stores in Charlotte, Atlanta, and Birmingham, and some of their other large stores in other major Southern markets-Raleigh for instance, are well merchandised.

    Belk has steered from the cookied cutter formula used by Dillard's and the Macy's and positions the stores according to market size and demographics-Macy*s is starting to shutter some of the May Store centers and smaller market stores as their "National Department Store" philosophy seems to only be for major population centers.

  30. that's a bit of a crock because if you look at belk's site there are stores beyond va going oh i don't know UP NORTH like in maryland.

  31. I thought Maryland was a Southern state with its contributions to southern style cooking including Blue Crab, Maryland style chicken and crab cakes among others. It stayed in the Union, but like the other border states of Kentucky and Missouri, slavery was legal and still practiced and their was a strong sympathy for the Confederacy, Lincoln sent troops to Annapolis and Baltimore to quell any movement to secede. It's even possible to have grits for breakfast in Maryland.

  32. This is a bit late (or more than a "bit") but as I'm sure you probably know by now, Belk at Macon Mall did not move to the Parisian location, but kept their original location and shuttering Parisian.

    That probably ended up being a good thing. Now that the Dillard's/Parisian wing is about to be demolished, a Belk in the old Parisian would have to move back to their old location anyway.

    Some sort of big movie theatre was going to open up in the old Parisian at Macon Mall, but that fell through.