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Ask The Times: Smaller grocers serve Athens Highway area for now
09012017 ASK grocery
There are no major grocery stores in the Athens Highway area of Gainesville, but there are two Dollar General stores and a Family Dollar between the Monroe Drive and Gillsville Highway intersections. - photo by Clark Leonard

If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following question was submitted by a reader and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

Why aren’t there any grocery stores or restaurants on the Athens Highway side of Gainesville? There is new development everywhere else but here.

Tim Evans, vice president for economic development at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, noted two Dollar General locations and a Family Dollar between Athens Highway’s intersections with Monroe Drive and Gillsville Highway.

“Convenience grocers thrive serving sparse population areas throughout Georgia, rural America and Hall County,” Evans wrote in an email.

He also pointed out that the Marketplace on Limestone and the Kroger Marketplace at New Holland are the closest grocery stores serving much of northeast Hall and East Hall, with the Kroger being the largest grocery store in the state.

Evans said the internet and stores like Aldi and Lidl have quickly changed the grocery scene.

“With all these industry changes, the fundamentals of locating brick-and-mortar grocery stores are still influenced by population concentrations, rooftops and commuting patterns with a preference toward the ‘going-home-side-of-the-road,’” Evans wrote. “As the Athens Highway area population grows, we do expect larger grocery stores will follow.”  

Evans said growth in South Hall and west Jackson County should be headed north.

“In the near term, commercial retail growth and residential growth will benefit from expanding sewer further on Athens Highway,” Evans wrote. “Also, the current widening project from Gillsville Highway through Talmo will greatly improve commute times, safety and capacity on Athens Highway.”

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