This one is not a "real" closing, but I thought it was kind of odd, so I'm going to note it.
I had noticed Bruster's Real Ice Cream in a few locations before ever stopping by, and it seemed to me that there was always a crowd standing around outside for some reason. When I finally did stop by, I found that the reason is that there is no "inside", at least for customers. All the business is done through walk-up windows, even though the buildings are plenty big enough to have counters inside. The ice cream is pretty good, but certainly not noticably better than Baskin Robbins, Ben & Jerry's, Coldstone or Marble Slab, all of which operations have counters and seats inside. I can't really think of why the chain would adopt such a concept, except to "be different". It's a concept I can see working well in resort areas, but it seems ill-suited to year-round markets. If you get a hankering for ice-cream in November, are you going to go somewhere warm, or stand outside Bruster's?
I noticed a month or two ago that the store on Beltline at Forest had been dark a while, and I stopped by to see what was going on. There were signs in the windows saying that they were closed for "renovations & training" and would be open again early in 2008. Well, it is now early in 2008, and they are still closed. Since it is a brand-new building, and I have seen no work trucks at the site, the renovations angle is puzzling, and I have to wonder what kind of training the staff at this store needed that isn't needed at their other locations, especially since it was a going operation. If I were to speculate, I would say that their business model just doesn't work in the winter at non foot traffic sites. But I would never do that.
UPDATE 27 March 08: Looks like the place is for sale, but for sale as a Bruster's franchise, not as just a building:
I wish him(?) luck, but those "loyal customers" the "for sale" sign references have had half a year to find other creameries..
UPDATE 31 March 09:
Well, they backed a truck up to the place and loaded all the equipment and took down the signs. That was in January I think and so far nothing has gone in there.
UPDATE 8 June 2010 -- Well, it's going to be a Hibachi Express "soon", though it seems like the "soon" sign has been up a month or so, and there doesn't look to have been any interior work done..
UPDATE 23 Dec 20-- Hibachi Express is open: