Richway

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Richway Department Stores
Former type Department store
Industry Retail
Fate Reopened as Target stores
Founded 1968
Defunct 1988
Headquarters Atlanta, Georgia
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics and housewares.
Website None

Richway was the discount department store division of Atlanta-based Rich's.[1] It was originally part of Rich's, and was later bought by Federated Department Stores when they purchased the Rich's chain.[2] It was originally known as Richway, a Rich's Company with a more bluish logo than the later orange and black theme under Federated ownership. The sunrise logo means "Everything Under The Sun", the slogan used in advertisements from that period. The official name of the chain was later Richway Department Stores. A long tagline on commercials was "We don't look like a discount store, but our price tags give us away."

History[edit]

Beginning[edit]

Richway first opened in 1968 in metro Atlanta with suburban locations in Smyrna, Sandy Springs, Tucker and College Park. A location in Forest Park opened soon thereafter. These original locations were known for their distinctive raised-wedge skylights that are still found today, yet many were boarded up, covered up and hidden by a drop ceiling in subsequent conversions to other uses. Richway stores were unusually large for their time, and ahead of their time with larger selections of merchandise than most discounters offered, but with a similar, more upscale line like Target.

The former Richway in College Park, Georgia. It was converted to a Target in 1989 and closed in 1995.

1970s and 1980s[edit]

Throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, the chain spread across the Southeast U.S., with known locations in Georgia, North Carolina (Charlotte/Gastonia), South Carolina (three locations in Columbia), Florida (where it was added as a discount division of Burdines), and two locations in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The three locations in Columbia were part of three malls that opened on the same day in 1977 known as Decker Mall, Woodhill Mall, and Bush River Mall. Of these three malls, Decker Mall is now home to only an ExtraSpace storage facility in the old Richway/Gold Circle/Target building, Woodhill Mall was redeveloped as "The Shops at Woodhill", and the site of Bush River Mall, demolished in 2006 after being closed for seven years, is now home to a Walmart supercenter and a new strip mall. Richway also anchored the now-redeveloped Roswell Mall in Roswell north of Atlanta, which opened in 1974, another store with the retro skylights (now removed).

Gold Circle and Target[edit]

In 1986, Federated Department Stores merged Richway with their discount division, Gold Circle, but retained the Richway name in some markets. Federated by then was in financial trouble and as a means to boost the company's profits, sold all Richway and Gold Circle stores to Kimco which in turn sold 31 of those stores to Dayton–Hudson Corporation (now Target Corporation) in 1988.[3] Target closed all of its new purchases and stripped them of everything, including the store fixtures. They all later reopened in May 1989 as Target and all continued to operate as such until Target began to replace the older stores in the mid-1990s. The 1991 movie Career Opportunities was filmed at a Richway converted into a Target store located at 4000 Covington Hwy in Decatur, GA (location T378). That store closed in 1999.

Sunshine Market occupies a former Richway in West Palm Beach, FL.
Target located in Deerfield Beach Florida which was also a Richway rebuilt in the early 2000s.

Today[edit]

Today, most of the former Richway stores either sit abandoned or have been converted to other uses. In Georgia, three former Richway locations in Jonesboro, Riverdale, and Roswell became Value City locations after Target left for newly built stores, with all but Jonesboro (and a non-Richway/Target in Doraville) closed again since early 2008. The Richway in Forest Park is now the Scott Antique Market. The Richway in north Marietta is today an office for Wellstar (which owns nearby Kennestone Hospital), since the Target moved a few miles northeast on Sandy Plains Road, not long after the Town Center at Cobb store opened in 1995. The Richway in College Park was converted to a Target in 1989, and closed in 1995 after store #0778 in nearby Fayetteville opened. Today a new redevelopment is planned for the store. The store northeast of Austell has been vacant for years since a new Target opened just slightly further southwest on Austell Road at the East-West Connector, after that road opened in the late 1990s. The former Richway/Target store on Johnson Ferry Road in Sandy Springs, GA was purchased in 2009 by the newly formed City of Sandy Springs; the city has not announced specific plans for the building, but the purpose in purchasing the property is to build a city hall and municipal center. The former store in Decatur, GA at 4000 Covington Highway was converted to a non-denominational church, Total Grace Christian Center.

The Smyrna Target store on Cobb Parkway south of Windy Hill Road is the only one still operating. The building was renovated for the second time in 2005 after an earlier renovation in the 1990s. It still retains the old Richway skylight triangles on the roof, with the left (north) part still bearing the CompUSA sign since its closure in mid-2007. The Sandy Springs store, closed in early October 2008 for a new one farther south on Roswell Road, also still has the skylight units, with the left (east) half of the building housing a Goodwill Industries thrift store.

Other Richways are sitting vacant where the surrounding area was in decline and no reinvestment was made in the former buildings, the two Richways in Chattanooga (one at Northgate Mall and the other at Lee Highway) were converted into office/retail space while the Lee Highway store (which was also used for a flea market) has been demolished to make way for cargo space for the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant.

Several of the former stores located in the Charlotte area are still in use. Two stores on Charlotte's north side, at North Park Mall and Freedom Mall, have since been consolidated into a larger store in the University City area. The former North Park Mall location has sat abandoned for more than a decade, while the Freedom Mall location was demolished as part of the mall's conversion into government offices. The former Independence Boulevard location was demolished after the Target store relocated to Matthews. The site was rebuilt as a BJ's Wholesale Club but is vacant as of 2013; another on Tyvola Road was torn down after the Target store relocated to Carolina Pavilion. The site is now a Costco. The Gastonia location was used as a Target until 2011, when Target relocated to a newly built store nearby.

In addition to the above mentioned, two former Richway locations in Palm Beach County, Florida were also purchased and turned into Target stores. The Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. location was completely demolished (t-391) and a brand new state of the art Super Target now sits on that land. The location in Plantation, Florida was converted over to a Target store and had the façade updated in 2005 to reflect Target's changes in marketing approach, and to also expand the parking lot to include a parking garage. The Richway store in Conyers, GA became a Target store and stayed in the old Richway location until October 2006 when it moved to a bigger location on GA 20 south. It was subdivided and part of it is now an LA Fitness center.

The Richway store in Tamarac became a Target in 1989, but relocated in 2000. This store operated as a furniture store called Furniture Power. As of 2012 the building was converted to a charter school.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Richway: The Discount Division of Rich's". Retrieved 2009-08-07. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Federated Department Stores, Inc.". Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  3. ^ Barmash, Isadore (1988-09-08). "Kimco Buys Campeau's Gold Circle". NYTimes. Retrieved 2009-08-07.