The old Best Buy grocery in Flowery Branch is about to be reborn as Best Food Mart.
Workers are putting finishing touches this week on the store at 5415 Atlanta Highway. And Flowery Branch City Council is set to vote Thursday, July 19, on whether to grant an alcoholic beverage license for the store.
“I think next week we will be open,” owner Zafar Ranjha said during a visit to the store on Monday.
The store’s reopening is one of the most highly anticipated business moves in Flowery Branch.
The topic has come up occasionally at City Council meetings and people have stopped at the store to see if it was opening soon.
“One day we were (putting) groceries inside the store and about 50 people came up,” Ranjha said.
During Monday’s visit, one woman pulled up to one of the Texaco gas pumps in front of the store and tried to fill her tank.
“We’re not open yet,” Ranjha told her.
For decades, the corner of Atlanta Highway and Phil Neikro Boulevard was the home to Best Buy Quality Foods. The store never modernized its appearance — inside or out — but thrived even as growth sprang up in South Hall and major grocery chains came to the area.
Ranjha, who has moved from Ohio to run the store, is familiar with the old store.
He said a local teacher recently told him “at one time, it was the only store in this area, and the meat (department) was especially very good.”
Best Buy operated until a July 2007 fire heavily damaged the store. After a major renovation, the store reopened in February 2009, retaining some of the old look, as well as the name.
But customers had moved on and the new store eventually closed. The property later was abandoned.
With new owners, heavy renovation got underway again in 2016 to remake the old grocery into a convenience store. The front of the store has been particularly rebuilt.
“The foundation is original,” Ranjha said. “Basically, (the store’s) backside is the same.”
The store’s interior looks like others of its kind, with a counter for coffee and hot biscuits, a walk-in beer cooler and aisles of foods, snacks and other groceries.
But another big change may be coming to the property, which extends to Myers Street and is
bounded also by Mulberry Street.
Ranjha is planning to add a strip shopping center with three or four stores. He said he hopes the expansion project can start next year.