The Druck Report. Our Christmas shopping habits will change again by this time next year. A second chance for Comcast. Ending 2019 with a bang.

The Druck Report. Our Christmas shopping habits will change again by this time next year. A second chance for Comcast. Ending 2019 with a bang.

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Wright Ledbetter outlining plans for East Bend at a Rome city meeting earlier this year. Hometown photo.
John Druckenmiller, president and publisher of Hometown Headlines Inc.

>A text-only edition of our Daily Rant. Our broadcast edition returns Monday. 

More changes in our Christmas shopping habits: It struck us a couple of years ago — here was Rome, Ga., without a Sears or Kmart amid the Christmas shopping frenzy for the first time in years. That’s a considerable shift in retail buying habits even in a town with bookend Walmarts and a Sam’s on top of that.

But here’s the real kicker: Exactly where else will we be shopping for the 2020 Christmas season? We’re still getting piece after piece of what’s coming to East Bend, the 20- to 28-retail and restaurant complex rising amid the rubble of the former Kmart. We know a handful of the restaurants on the way but what about the shops (other than a tire shop)?

You know the rumors as well as we do: Old Navy, Five Below, Bed Bath & Beyond, maybe Academy and probably some smaller shops as well. We don’t expect any real game changers such as Best Buy or an even larger retailer. Still,  we’ll have a few more options open by late next fall.

We’ve been watching to see what else might come near State Mutual Stadium following the arrival of RiverPoint apartments and Lumina. From what the Rome News-Tribune is reporting, the next wave will include a convenience store, liquor store and a fast-food shop. We still remember the days in 2002 when the home of the Rome Braves were to be joined by Publix, Target and others. All rumors but we were at the point where we were being shown what would go where as the stadium was being developed.

There’s still a good bit of land ready to go.


Comcast: Uptime after the downtime. A footnote from Monday’s Comcast/Xfinity outage that swept across Rome and other parts of Northwest Georgia after — as one Facebooker commented, “A train hit our Internet.”

By chance, as of last Saturday, we were looking pretty hard at dumping satellite and returning to Comcast for the first time since we left metro Atlanta in 2002. There was a good deal to be had and we had reached a point where the satellite provider wasn’t going to be an option. So Tuesday, after all the outage chaos, we made one more call to Comcast to price a few options.

Plan B worked so we asked what’s next. Answer: Pick up the now self-install equipment on at the office on First Street near the federal courthouse. That visit took all of five minutes and we were home watching the YouTube install video when we remembered: our house hadn’t had cable in 17 years and we knew the hook-up was for Internet only. So we had to opt for a visit by the installer, and figured it would be after Thankgiving at the earliest.

How about the next day, by 8:30 a.m.? He was on time, braved a surprisingly heavy rain storm, installed some new external wiring and had us watchting the Battle 4 Atlanta basketball tournament in record time. Plus, the slick new remotes are voice-controlled. Our test, “go to ESPN,” was a snap. No more memorizing channels.

So in a week where we were among the 2,500-plus caught in the Internet outage, you’d think we’d be the last to revert to the cable outlets. Instead, we were impressed by their prompt response to the outage and great job on the TV service, from phone call to office to install to pressing a button and saying, “record Rockefeller Christmas.” We’re impressed.

And we just realized: For the first time in 17 years, we have access to all the city and county meeting broadcasts. Yup. Must-see TV.


One of the earlier construction shots from The Spires at Berry College just off the Bypass, set to open in 2020. Hometown photo.

Ending the year with a bang? Keep an ear out for at least one or two more development stories before the champagne is cooled for New Year’s Eve. We know one more option is undergoing the necessary Ts and Is right now. Another “legacy chamber” deal could be unveiled by Dec. 31 as well.

So what happens after that? We’ll see an incredible number of “openings” in 2020, from The Spires at Berry College to Harbin Clinic’s latest medical office building near The Spires to the new headquarters of Coosa Valley Credit Union (same neighborhood) and The Cottages of Rockmart senior living campus. We also hope to hear more on Warne Robinson’s $25 million “The District” project along the Oostanaula and West Third Street. Likewise the earlier-mentioned East Bend retail center should be completed in the calendar year with most assuming October openings for some restaurants and shops.

That’s easily $200 million in “grand openings” already set for 2020. The “Roaring ’20s” indeed.

We’ll save our predictions for the end-of-the-year report.


 

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