UNIVERSITY PARK — River Club resident Cindy Snowball glances around the Atlanta Bread Company restaurant she and her husband have owned for the last five years.
Not much light trickles in through the windows on this overcast day, but it is enough to illuminate the empty chairs and tables throughout the store.
Black patio furniture sits just inside the front doorway. It’s the middle of the day, but the lights are out.
The store, which has served East County residents since it opened on University Parkway, closed for the final time after the last customer left May 7.
“It’s mixed feelings,” Snowball said, taking in the scene. “We had good times, but it’s sad, too. I really just want to thank all the customers that came and the community for supporting us.”
Although the hour is dark, Snowball remains hopeful, not yet sure of what the future holds. For now, she’s finishing paperwork and wrapping up other business that accompanies a store closure.
The store had been doing well until the economy began to fail, Snowball said. Even in the fall months, it was hitting the same numbers as previous years. But in January, sales dipped 15% and never recovered.
Snowball, who owned the store with her husband, Mike, said the restaurant lost its lease rather suddenly, and she decided not to try to renegotiate.
“It was just better to say ‘OK, now is the time to close,’” Snowball said. “It was a hard decision. I have wonderful employees. We had wonderful customers. I want to thank all our customers because they’ve made it really like family.”
Although Snowball won’t be working at the restaurant anymore, she will relish the memories that have been created there, whether mingling with guests, working the front register or providing food for events throughout the community.
Customers such as Natalie Gundrum, who got Atlanta Bread involved in charity events, are the people Snowball will miss most, she said.
“You get to be friends with them,” Snowball said of her customers. “You see some of them every day. We loved doing the charity events. We would donate the food and our time and the people were so appreciative. It’s just been a part of being in the community which I really love being. I just want to thank all of our customers, and I wish everyone well.”
Contact Pam McTeer at [email protected].
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