It's Coming and Augusta Can't Wait!

illustration by Shirley Bass

One of the most charming things about Augustans is the enthusiasm we show when a new business comes to town. I remember years ago when the very first Super Kroger opened. The excitement was insane. Rain showers and thunder in the produce section! Cute pigs made out of ground beef! Free samples of banana chips!

And do you remember when we didn’t have a single Starbucks, and we had to limp by on plain old coffee instead of a Venti Iced White Chocolate soy-milk Mocha? Now we have six Starbucks. And they’re even building a Starbucks plant here. In fact, one day Starbucks might actually take over Augusta and we’ll be known as Starbucks, the second largest city in Georgia. And instead of the Garden City, we’ll be the Grande City. (Best to hang on to those “Save the A” signs; they’re liable to come in handy.)

New restaurants are almost always mob scenes. Several months ago when Farmhaus Burger first opened, my husband and I camped out with sleeping bags on Broad Street just so we could get in. When the doors finally opened, we drifted inside, dazed and exhilarated. We were seconds away from building our own 100 percent angus burger and sipping on a boozy Gorilla Milk shake, but then, disaster: My husband discovered he’d forgotten his wallet. We never actually tasted that burger and shake, but I still get a little shiver when I think about how close we actually were.

And what about Costco? I’m sure everybody in Augusta remembers exactly where they were when it was first announced the store was coming to town. Revelers took to the street, confetti filled the air, fountain water was dyed in the Costco colors of blue and red. Augustans held “Costco Is Coming” parties and visions of Kirkland brands and bulk-packages of paper towels danced in their heads. And I can’t count how many people I know who named their children Costco in homage to the retailer. (Okay. Just one. And it was not a child but a goldfish, but still….)

Along with the triumphs came disappointments. Who will forget the thrill of learning that Bass Pro Shop was coming to the CSRA? Just the thought of that iconic big mouth bass sign being displayed in our area was enough to make many Augustans go out and shoot something in celebration. God only knows how many squirrels gave their lives in the wake of the announcement. And yet it was all for naught. We had the Bass Pro Shop on our hook and just as we were about to reel it in, it wriggled from reach. Thank goodness we have Cabelas as consolation or we may never have recovered.

And now the wait begins for one of the most exciting events of all: the opening of Whole Foods Market. Artisan breads! Organic everything! More quinoa than you can shake a stick at! I’ve already staked out my camping spot. How about you?

Karin Gillespie is the author of five novels and the owner of the cutest dog in the world, Jackie “Whole Foods” Beester. She is hoping an Anthropologie will come to Augusta but isn’t sure she’d survive the anticipation. Visit her www.karingillespie.net

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