Fri, March 01, 2024

Revitalizing the Downtown Augusta/Medical District area

A building on one of Augusta’s main thoroughfares has been re-purposed and was re-opened for business on Feb. 9, while work is underway at a well-known building on Broad Street.

Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA have converted the former Rite Aid/Eckerd Drug store on 15th Street at Walton Way into its newest Goodwill Retail Training Store and Donation Center.

“We commend the Goodwill organization for their work and workforce development, job skills, training, and hospitality, all of which are represented in their retail stores and their donation centers,” said Angie Martin, Executive Vice President of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce. “We’re thrilled that Goodwill has given this space a new life and we know that they will be touching the lives of all those who are employed here, all their staff, and all those who are shopping here, as well.”

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Mayor Garnett Johnson reminded the crowd this is the latest step in Goodwill’s commitment to Augusta after several other centers have been built.

“Here we now have this center in the middle of the great medical district. It tells me that they are doing the Lord’s work and making sure that anybody who lives in Augusta has accessibility to centers and opportunities in clothing and jobs to make our community better.”

Three art students from Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School and their instructor created a mural on the Walton Way side of the building, to show what beautification looks like in an important part of town.

Kayla Jackson, Jacey Lariscey, and Saniyah Newton, supervised by Franklin Delgado, painted the “New Lives” mural featuring the faces of people who were empowered by Goodwill services or Helms College education.

Shoppers wrapped around the building waiting for the grand opening to get their first look at what is available for purchase. This is the 18th such store in the 35 county district that stretches from Augusta to Macon.

While that ribbon-cutting was celebrated, work was underway just a mile or so away, on one of Augusta’s favorite restaurants. Sunshine Bakery and Deli on the 12-hundred block of Broad Street, famous for its soups, breads, and pastries, closed in 2020.

As ABD first reported last November, it is now part of the Fatman’s Hospitality Group, owner of Fatman’s Mill Café in Augusta and the Sno-Cap Drive-In in North Augusta.

It will become the home of Bradley’s BBQ, currently offered as a catering service for Fatman’s.

“We had done a lot of the branding and development and we were like, ‘Hey, let’s just use the smokers we have at Fatman’s’ because we needed to at least come up with ways to utilize the brand,” explained Havird Usry, Vice President of Operations and Development. “We purchased the building several months back and since then, we have been working through plans, engineering, more menu development, and bar development.”

Usry said the exterior of the building will retain much of its familiar look. They also plan to preserve some Sunshine Bakery signage and décor to incorporate into the new restaurant.

Since acquiring the building, Usry said they have been receiving special requests from people asking them to bring back some of their favorite menu items. He said they are working on a way to incorporate items either as daily specials or a menu section for those customer favorites.

A firm opening date has not been set. Usry anticipates it will be late summer or early fall, near the dates of Arts in the Heart of Augusta and the Ironman triathlon.

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