The Publix that opened no more than two and a half months ago is now closed. The neighborhood association and many others are wondering when it will reopen.
“We had been waiting for years for the Publix to open up so it’s disappointing for this to have happened,” Organized Neighbors of Summerville (ONS) President John Helton said.
On Saturday, Sept. 4 a crane truck fell through the parking lot of the Publix supermarket at 572 Hank Aaron DrSE in the heart of the Summerhill neighborhood. The only person injured during the collapse was the crane operator. There have not been any updates on his condition as of the publication of this story.
The Publix has been more than just a supermarket to Summerhill residents, says Helton, who has been allowed to host ONS meetings in the upstairs lounge area.
“In the short time it’s been here it is amazing how accustomed we’ve gotten to it being here,” Helton said.
The supermarket remains the only one in the neighborhood and surrounding neighborhood for miles. Its closure will once again keep Summerhill’s residents, some of whom have been there for generations and attended the opening ceremony in June.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens released a statement on the parking lot collapse. In the statement, which was released Monday, Dickens stated, “Our administration is concerned about the impact this incident will have on the safety and the access to food and pharmacy services in the community.”
He continued, “While there is no exact timeline for full resolution, I have been told several options for full or partial re-opening of the store and parking garage are under review by the companies involved and relevant government agencies.”
Summerhill, a historically Black neighborhood downtown, was considered a food desert prior to the Publix opening June 21. The recent influx of high-end apartment buildings within the neighborhood is changing the demographic of the neighborhood and brought companies like Publix and Piedmont Urgent Care, which opened a clinic on the grounds of the supermarket in June.
Assessments and inspections by multiple companies are “underway with more to come over the coming days,” according to the mayor’s statement.
The 48,000-square-foot store is the first major supermarket chain to come to Summerhill in generations. This particular Publix employs 125-150 associates of all levels, according to Publix media relations manager Nicole Krauss.
Publix has 150 stores in metro Atlanta.
District 1 councilman Jason Winston also released a statement on the parking lot collapse. Winston said, “The recent incident at the new Summerhill Publix understandably alarmed our community. This location has quickly become an important resource for the surrounding neighborhoods, especially since it was without a nearby grocery store for so long.”
In front of the Pubix there are signs that say, “Publix Closed reopening to be determined”. Early Tuesday morning a delivery truck backed into one of the freight bays to the right of the entrance and parking garage on Fraser Street. Deliveries are expected to continue so maybe the store will reopen sooner than later.
The monthly ONS community meeting will take place via Zoom at 7 p.m. Thursday and Publix officials have been invited to join in order to update the public on plans to reopen, according to Helton. “They have been good neighbors,” he said of the Florida-based national supermarket chain.