A year after authorities seized and shut the place down in a raid on gaming machines, a convenience store at the western edge of Macon’s Pleasant Hill community will reopen soon.
The corner market once known as Bateman & Wade grocery at the intersection of Rogers Avenue and Clayton Street, between Ingleside and Vineville avenues, will be called Tom’s Mart.
The store’s business license was applied for this week. Now the once-boarded-up store is in the midst of renovation. There are soft drinks in coolers and lights on inside. Plywood that covered the front windows for months has been removed.
Some folks who live in the area won’t mind if the place sells food. They’re concerned about the store’s plans to sell beer and wine.
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Last winter after the gambling raid, a neighborhood nonprofit tried to buy the property at 2283 Clayton St. to turn it into a park. Those plans fell through when the owners turned down the group’s offer.
On Wednesday, carpenters were in the store building a checkout booth.
Tom Kim, who is helping owner Peter Yoo prepare the store for a November opening, said the new market aims to sell beer and wine -- as well as fruit and vegetables and lottery tickets.
“We listen to what the neighbors say and ... have no more problems,” Kim said. “We hopefully have a good relationship with the neighborhood.”
Macon attorney Lars Anderson, of the Vineville Neighborhood Association, said that under past owners the store has “not been a good community citizen.”
“We do not want to see beer and wine back in that establishment,” Anderson said Wednesday.
He said there were worries among residents that the store, if it sells alcohol, would attract the “guns and gangs” crowd.
“We’re going to challenge it,” Anderson said of the store’s alcohol-selling intentions.
To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397 and follow him on Twitter@joekovacjr.