More than 15 years after landing at 2925 Manchester Expressway to sell everything from televisions and stereos to computers and appliances, retailer Best Buy has made the decision to leave the property adjacent to Peachtree Mall for another shopping area in Columbus.
The Richfield, Minn.-based retailer confirmed its plans Wednesday, saying it will be moving to the former hhgregg store, 2499 Whittlesey Blvd., at Columbus Park Crossing within a few months. It was in May 2017 that Indianapolis-based hhgregg closed the Columbus location as part of a companywide bankruptcy liquidation.
“The new store will be much easier for shoppers to access and will be near other popular retailers in a more vibrant retail area,” Best Buy public relations specialist Katie Huggins said. “It’s early in the process, so we don’t have an exact opening date right now. But we expect the new store will open in early summer.”
Best Buy has done business at the Manchester Expressway property since Sept. 19, 2003. That’s the day it opened the 45,000-square-foot store on property formerly home to Kinnett Dairies and then Parmalat USA, which bought out Kinnett in 1998, ultimately closing it and auctioning off the equipment.
The former hhgregg building, which is 39,705 square feet of space, was constructed in 2004. It is situated in the heart of Columbus Park Crossing, adjacent to a 15-screen AMC movie theater complex and Ashley Furniture and Hobby Lobby arts and crafts stores. Like hhgregg, Sears and Toys R Us both have vacated space in the center within the last couple of years due to financial troubles, with both of those properties still dark.
“It will be a slightly smaller space as you mentioned, but we’re keeping all of our employees, and everything you would see at the Columbus store right now you would also see at that new location, too. We’re just being smarter with that new space,” Huggins of the former hhgregg space, noting Best Buy is always evaluating store locations to determine if changes need to be made.
An interesting element of the current Best Buy property is the 20-foot Holstein dairy cow replica on the site. Columbus residents have long had an affection for “Kadie the Cow,” which has graced the grounds atop the hill off Manchester Expressway since 1967 when Kinnett Dairies was there.
The black-and-white bovine was placed on the property originally as a simple attempt to market the local dairy as an important part of the community, retired Kinnett executive Jim Prescott told the Ledger-Enquirer in a 2001 interview as the closed milk plant was undergoing an auction of its equipment .
“It became a focal point when schoolchildren came here to take a look at the plant,” he said. “One of the first things they wanted to see was Kadie the Cow. We knew the publicity from that would be invaluable to the company.”
Huggins said Wednesday she doesn’t know what the fate of Kadie the Cow might be moving forward. There has been discussion in the past of relocating it another area of the city, perhaps adjacent to Kinnett Stadium in north Columbus or possibly downtown near the Chattahoochee Riverwalk.
“We definitely understand the importance of Kadie the Cow in Columbus,” she said. “But I do not know what is going to happen at this time.”
A real-estate website that currently lists the 2925 Manchester Expressway location “for sale” does not mention Kadie the Cow or have an asking price for the overall property. City records show Best Buy Store LP purchased Farmland Dairies LLC at the address in January 2003, paying $2.7 million.
“Former retail box with high ceilings, excellent visibility, abundance of surface parking and in front of a major mall,” the sale listing says. “There is an additional 2.5 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the building for future development.”