Want to make some fast money? Get a food truck, stack it full of hot-to-go pizzas and park in front of the former home of Little Caesar’s and Great Clips on Hicks Drive off Turner McCall Boulevard in East Rome. You’ll go home happy and return the next day because even as the East Rome venue has closed — pending relocation — customers continue to arrive, looking for an easy carryout dinner.
Wednesday evening, as we stopped to get some photographs of the now-closed Little Caesar’s and relocated Great Clips, car after car drove up. The drivers asked the same question: “They closed? Where did they go?”
While the relocation has been discussed for months, the sudden move of Great Clips to maybe 150 yards away and the temporary closing of Little Caesar’s continues to surprise repeat customers.
Another store in the small retail center, Fastenal, moved months earlier to a location with more room off Dodd Boulevard. But the exits of Great Clips and Little Caesar’s were a different story. The buzz continues to be something about a larger redevelopment that would take in the Kmart and Kmart Express stores as well as the strip center.
Great Clips wasted no time in securing a spot next to Anytime Fitness and made the move this week. Little Caesar’s at one point told customers they had until September to find a new home. Apparently that changed.
There’s certainly room at Etowah Crossing, anchored by Dollar General and Aaron’s., especially with SMC Music’s jump across town to Central Plaza in recent weeks. For now, the signage at the former pizza shop directs customers to the West Rome drive-through location.
We’ll run some new checks with the city building department later this morning to see if there’s anything pending for the smaller strip center (such as a demolition permit) as well anything new on the larger Kmart footprint.
Two summers ago, the grand closing sale was under way at Kmart and the official closing was that August. We’re told the lease didn’t expire until about this time last year.
For now, all we’ve heard is the litany of retail wish lists: Target, Academy, Bed Bath & Beyond, a couple of national restaurant chains.
It’s a game of wait-and-see — and we’d be satisfied just to see the weeds trimmed along the curbs and edges while those bigger plans come together.