Atlanta's most dubiously nicknamed grocery store will host a ceremony next week to kill off its unsavory moniker once and for all. Can't-miss improvements to the Kroger store at 725 Ponce de Leon Ave. are complete, and officials have planned a "re-grand opening" next Wednesday to recognize these killer alterations and officially rebrand the retailer as "Beltline Kroger." This particular Kroger has operated at the confluence of Old Fourth Ward, Poncey-Highland and Virginia-Highland for nearly 30 years, and for as long as most Atlantans can recall, it's been dubbed "Murder Kroger," which doesn't exactly beckon soccer moms or promote nighttime shopping. With the ever-popular Eastside Trail next door and a swelling local customer base, investing in a public-relations overhaul made sense for Kroger brass, who slayed a checklist of improvements in only a couple of months. "The excitement of customers and associates surpasses anything I've experienced in my nine years at Kroger," Aaliyah Barton, store manager of Beltline Kroger, said in a press release. You have to applaud highly visual enhancements to such a prominent business, but whether the rebranding will work remains to be seen.
The most noticeable change at Beltline Kroger is a huge, happy mural facing the Eastside Trail. The mural, officials explained, was created by Savannah College of Art and Design students — Jing Li, Hanrou "Hannah" Li and Sena Kwon — who won a design competition last month. It depicts the former Sears distribution center (Ponce City Market), a skyline and plenty of hunky-dory people shopping for fresh vegetable. It does not pay homage to the parking lot's inglorious past, which we chronicled a few months ago and found to be no laughing matter. Possible reasons why the nickname has endured — mysterious blood in the bathrooms, a guy allegedly peeing in the ice cream aisle, et cetera — are more worthy of chuckles.
Enhancements to the Kroger begin at the very core of the building. Expect to find a raised ceiling (so much like an urban loft!), an expanded pharmacy and natural food section, improved lighting and full restroom remodel, sans mysterious blood. Outside, you'll find new curbs and sidewalks, pretty landscaping, a water-quality pond and repaved parking surfaces. From a functionality standpoint, the most significant change is the new bicycle/pedestrian ramp connecting to the Eastside Trail. Because, let's face it, climbing up and over that muddy little hill to grab a Powerade was murder.
· How 'Murder Kroger' Got Its Nickname & Why It Won't Change [Curbed Atlanta]
· Coming Soon: Less Sketchy Beltine, Murder Kroger Link [Curbed]