The first two images at various levels of detail show the strip with the interior mall/office portion. Note that the entrance to the mall "courtyard shops" portion and the unknown smaller anchor tenant (shown here as Refugee Family Services) has arches like a Kroger. These arches used to match the Kroger store itself.
Detail of the long-vacant Kroger from two angles. The greenhouse addition was added at an unknown date, but it replaced an older superstore design that was still intact in 1979 per the footage provided.
The strip to the right of the "courtyard shops" looking west with the junior anchor visible in the background.
Access to the upper level offices is through these stairs, but it doesn't appear that anything is up there any longer. With plenty of space on the lower level, why would they go to that trouble? It appears it may be completely closed considering that no elevator was visible to the second story.
Village Square originally opened in 1973 as just a Kmart (coupled with Kmart Foods). In 1975, it was joined next door with a mixed use center that was a hybrid of a strip mall and open-air mall. Likely this design was chosen due to terrain and lack of space. When the addition opened, it featured anchor tenant Kroger with a SupeRX drug store, which was later absorbed into Kroger itself. The open-air mall in the middle that included among its tenants a Piccadilly Cafeteria and a club named "The Stone Pony" referencing the "Stone Poneys", a band fronted by Linda Rondstadt in the late 1960's and the shopping center's proximity to Stone Mountain. On the second floor were offices, but the offices were not aligned with the mall area itself, instead running perpendicular facing the parking lot also overlooking part of the "courtyard shops". It appears one other small anchor tenant was in the center, but it is unclear what exactly that was. My guess would be either Turtle's Record Shop or a five-and-dime type store like McCrory's.
Walking under the offices to reach the "courtyard shops". The courtyard is a T-shaped center with access to the back parking lot on the left side.
Looking back from two vantage points at the second level office promenade from the courtyard. It looks like it was blocked off with bars at some point on purpose
Vacant shops/offices to at the corner of the inner courtyard facing northeast. It appears there were no stores/offices on the east side of the courtyard with the wall of Kroger making up most of that area.
A look back to the front parking lot from the courtyard.
Despite the two year gap between the opening of Kroger and Kmart, Kroger and Kmart were typically partners building shopping centers throughout the 1970's, and this holds true in many shopping centers across the state. Indeed, the center had a solid 20 year run before things went south. Kmart was the first to leave departing in 1994, Kroger hung on longer, but left in 1999 relocating just down the road to a former Big Star that originally was built in 1988 at the junction of Memorial Drive and N Hairston Road. The Village Square store was made even more interesting when compared to the footage in the link above in that the Kroger there was originally a superstore design with the arches clearly removed with the store updated to the famous greenhouse design: a transition that likely occurred around 1984 or 85. The update suggests that Kroger initially had no plans to relocate from the center for many years, but the planned departure of Kmart apparently spurred the store to eventually relocate to a more competitive location at the intersection of two major roadways. Village Square is located about a mile west of N Hairston Road, which is a major four lane belt highway on the east side of Atlanta.
At one point it was possible to lounge in the courtyard next to a well-tended planter. Today you're sitting on rotten benches next to a weed-filled hole. Also note the "Stone Pony" in the background.
A bit more detail of the courtyard. It is unclear what the original tenants were except for Stone Pony, which was apparently a bar or club that opened there in the 1970's and was never replaced with anything else.
Detail of the "Stone Pony" inscription which today looks to be stone dead. A peek inside would have likely uncovered vintage wonders untold.
A view of the entire courtyard including the front entrance and upper level terrace to the right from the back entrance. It must have been fun back in the day, but today it's a scary place.
The cloudy pictures were a return trip in July (two trips were included in these photos). Note the very tall weeds that filled the planters in the previous images. You know when that passes for landscaping the place is basically dead.
The three photos shown here show the American Fare that is located on Mountain Industrial Blvd just south of the Stone Mountain Freeway (US 78). Mountain Industrial Blvd becomes N Hairston Road connecting to Memorial Drive. This three-store hypermart concept owned jointly by Kmart and Bruno's opened in 1989, but was later downgraded to a regular Kmart replacing the Kmart at Village Square in 1994. It converted to Super Kmart in 1995 and closed for good in 2002. It was sold to the DeKalb County School Board and today is an alternative school.
The original Kmart still stands as "Value Mall". It is not clear if there were any other tenants in the store between 1989 and present.
Kmart and Kmart Foods. Action Sports Academy fills the former Kmart Foods. The former Kroger is a short ways to the right of this photo.
Detail of Kmart Foods. It is curious how long this operated being less than a block from Kroger. Was it converted to regular Kmart space before it closed? Perhaps Bruno's operated the Kmart Foods location at this store thus spearheading the American Fare concept.
While the forces that killed the center were based on its major anchor tenants seeking more competitive venues, the fact remains that the complex today is only partially occupied, and most of those tenants are service-oriented and not retail uses. Thus, the story is that although competition initially killed Village Square prematurely, it was the continued declining fortunes of what was once a prime retail corridor that have made the shopping center difficult to fill. The entire center is ripe for redevelopment today, but so far no interested parties have swooped in to occupy the partially vacant center. Perhaps in the future Kroger will relocate back to the center taking over the old Kmart as yet another location of its "Kroger Marketplace" concept helping to spur a redevelopment of the adjacent center that it left behind many years ago. For now, Village Square remains as a decrepit monument to 1970's sprawl that has only survived the wrecking ball because nobody cared enough to do anything about it.