Sky City: Southern Retail Then and Now was started in 2006 as Georgia Retail Memories. The original site was primarily a means to more effectively document the various malls past and present, lost local store chains and various shopping centers across the state, but primarily in Atlanta.
The origins of the site come from being a child of the 80's raised in the peak of the modern era. This was when all of the original malls were still around, and were facing a difficult fight against the newer, more elegant megamalls. My mom was a shopaholic then, and I indeed visited multiple malls on a regular basis as well as quite a few other stores. Going to these places was an adventure as well as the highways that were big, exciting and constantly under construction. Indeed, growing up in Atlanta I saw a lot of malls and stores fade away while others were being built just as quickly without any restraint. I witnessed the opening of three major shopping malls, saw others morph from their original state and watched as even more that I grew up with fade away as a child grew up in an era of unparalleled overall growth and prosperity. With this, I still watched with a bit of sadness as I saw many, many stores I grew up with suddenly disappear forever. Richway, Big Star, Eckerd Drugs and many other staples of my youth are now long gone. Seeing all this change and watching as the places that were almost like a second home fade away inspired me to contribute to the original Deadmalls.com and later to start this site hoping to chronicle and preserve the memories of all of these places whether existing or gone.
When I started my blog, I did not expect it to grow to the size it is today. My first posts were a local affair at best, and it seemed to be a lot of work at first. I had previously started the blog as sort of an extension of what I entitled the "Rich's Project" where I went and captured images of Rich's stores prior to the changeover in early 2005. My first post covering a shopping center completely outside of Georgia came in September 2006 when I covered Village Mall in Cleveland, TN. The intent of the original blog was to cover Georgia and areas outside of Georgia intrinsically tied to Atlanta such as the expanse of the Rich's department store chain in Alabama and South Carolina. Throughout the course of the blog, I still mostly covered North Georgia until mid-2009 when I began to cover stores and malls outside of Georgia in all of the surrounding states. Eventually the expanding coverage of these other states made me realize that the name needed to be changed since it was misleading to those outside of the state and reduced potential visitor traffic. I sought feedback from several of you as well as friends, and I considered several names for the site. Perhaps I could have been more creative, but I am not good with names anyway so I decided to name the site Sky City after the failed chain that was located in all of the states I covered until this year.
I have since been working on a goal to cover more of the South and Mid-Atlantic regions and hopefully a few other areas of the country. Today, the blog covers not only Georgia, but also Tennessee, South Carolina, North Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia and Mississippi. In 2014, I announced that I would be extending the coverage to more states outside of the Southeast coupled with a partial name change to "Southern and Mid-Atlantic Retail History". In all of the places I cover, this is not just a hobby for me. Much of this is personal...a way for me to remember these places I visited as a child or knew so well in a manner that I can share if with everyone. I also enjoy showing how all these existing and former chains worked together. In a sense, this site is part of the memoirs of my life.