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Jiffy Grocery Store Closing

Store owner gets foreclosure letter from bank, which is seizing property.

, the grungy, dilapidated Ormewood Park bodega that had its share of detractors and fans over the years, is closing.

The store's owner, Harpreet S. Makkar, told East Atlanta Patch on Wednesday he received a letter from the bank telling him it is foreclosing on the property at 731 Moreland Ave.

It's unclear what will happen with the site in the near-term.

Jiffy Grocery's closure announcement comes just days after another longstanding southeast Atlanta business — in East Atlanta Village — announced .

Makkar, doesn't own the Jiffy Grocery building; Gobind L. Madan, an accountant who runs and owns the Liberty Tax Service directly behind the Jiffy Grocery on Ormewood Avenue, owns it.

But in December of 2010, Madan sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's Northern District of Georgia.

In the filing, he claimed total assets of between $100,000 and $500,000, but debts of between $1 million and $10 million.

Madan did not return a telephone call seeking comment Wednesday, but Makkar said he was not surprised at receiving the foreclosure notice because he knew Madan was in bankruptcy court.

Even without the bankruptcy, Makkar said he would likely close the Jiffy Grocery — which he's operated for about a decade — because it wasn't very profitable.

"We weren't making money there any more, we had to close," Makkar said, adding it needed new coolers and other equipment.

Long seen as eyesore by some due to its rundown exterior — and an hommage to Moreland corridor's scrappy past by supporters — Jiffy Grocery was at the center of a controversial proposal to bring a of Moreland and Ormewood avenues.

After several months of back and forth meetings and discussions with QuikTrip Corp., Madan, city leaders and adjoining neighborhood leaders, Atlanta .

At the time, Madan told Patch he agreed the conditions of the building were deplorable, but that he didn't spend too much money reinvesting in the properties because developers were always courting him to buy the property.

He also said Ormewood Park residents should have been in support of the project because QuikTrip would bring much needed aesthetic improvement to the site vs. what's currently there.

Many Ormewood Park residents cried foul, saying the run-down look to his building is because he didn't maintain the property's upkeep.

Had it been built, QuikTrip would have erected a 24-hour, 5,700-square-foot convenience store with 14 fuel pumps. Dubbed Gen-3, the store would have been 1,200 square feet larger than traditional QuikTrip locations.

While many QuikTrip opponents said they did not have any personal dislike of Tulsa, Okla.-based gasoline company, they opposed the project for two key reasons.

City planning regulations say if a commercial site is to be used for a filling station, there has to be a 100-foot buffer between it and any adjacent residential property.

And Ormewood Avenue is fronted by several single-family homes to the west of the property that fall within that buffer zone.

But Madan sought to get around the rule by splitting his property in two commercial tracts. The end result, another commercial property sandwiched between the QuikTrip land and the nearest residential home.

Because that second commercial strip would exist between the QuikTrip site and the nearest residential tracts, the buffer rule would not apply.

Opponents said if allowed to stand, that would set a dangerous precedent all over the city for developers to circumvent the city's intent.

The other reason it received a lot of opposition is because several Southeast Atlanta community leaders identified a number of sites further south along Moreland Avenue that could accommodate QuikTrip's space requirements and not abut residential neighborhoods.

Péralte Paul June 20, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Some of our peeps in Ormewood Park will not be happy about this news. Jiffy Grocery may have been an eyesore but at least its a functioning business. When it closes, are you guys afraid it will be a magnet for crime?
Urban Dweller June 20, 2012 at 09:22 PM
I wonder if the owner of the retail center next door would purchase it? It might be in his best interest to keep it safe over there for his tenants. Not to mention, it would improve the curb appeal of that retail corner for that building to be removed, replaced or renovated. I think if it is abandoned and not removed or improved it will be a magnet for crime.
Péralte Paul June 20, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Hi, Urban: At some point the owner of the Ormewood Square shopping center, wanted to buy that site, but both sides could not come to an agreement.
Bruce Garner June 20, 2012 at 09:38 PM
I worked at the Jiffy Grocery during my years as a student at (the now closed) East Atlanta High School. The store was owned by the Mann family and I was classmates with two of the Mann kids. I was saddened to see the building looking so bad over the last few years. The owner really had no excuse for not investing in at least an exterior renovation. I'm afraid, like so many others. greed overcame community responsibility. That intersection was once a hub of activity. Woodland Pharmacy operated across Ormewood with Simpson's grocery a few feet beyond that. I worked at the pharmacy during summers between college years. A dry cleaners operated behind Jiffy on the same side of the street. It would be dishonest to ignore what caused the changes that began in the late 1960's and early 1970's: White folks running from black folks. I never understood the fear that so many of my parent's neighbors had about having black neighbors. Unscrupulous realtors milked both sides of the fence. They played on the fears of whites to get houses sold at lower than market prices only to turn around and sell them to blacks at higher than market prices. For a number of years, we were on the "no call" list that was established to combat the block busting by realtors. Fear does wierd things to folks. Bruce Garner
Chris Murphy June 20, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Bruce: was Roe, the previous owner, one of the Mann's? The building is at an angle to the intersection because the trolley made its turn off Moreland there.

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