Aaron's Leaving Buckhead After 50-Plus Years
In what may be a history-making move, Atlanta-based Aaron's is packing up its longtime Buckhead headquarters to head to the Cumberland/Galleria submarket.
The furniture and electronic rental retailer is in talks to ink a deal to move to the Atlanta Galleria Office Park with Childress Klein as the landlord. Officials with Childress Klein did not return calls seeking comment, and The Wilbert Group's Tony Wilbert—who represents Aaron's—declined to comment. The deal means the company will leave its headquarters at 309 East Paces Ferry Rd (here) for the first time in 55 years. Aaron's announced earlier this year it would sell its Buckhead HQ building, but Tony says no sale is imminent.
Formerly known as Aaron Rents, Aaron's was founded by Charlie Loudermilk (on left with former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young at an Atlanta Press Club event) in 1955, when Metro Atlanta's population was nearing 1 million residents. Charlie borrowed $5k and then rented out folding chairs to auction houses for 10 cents a piece, according to information in his biography at the time of his 2012 retirement. Aaron's grew right along with the Atlanta population, and then beyond. Today, the lease-to-own company has some 2,000 stores across the nation with 1.5 million customers. This past year, Aaron's purchased Progressive Finance to help it expand further into the virtual rent-to-own business, catering to "credit-challenged customers" with furniture, appliances and electronics. Company officials say going forward Aaron's plans to focus on same-store revenue growth and further online market share grab with a new e-commerce platform.
The Loudermilk family has been focused more on commercial real estate in recent years, especially since Charlie's retirement. The family controls parcels in Buckhead, and most recently filed a permit with the City of Atlanta to begin redeveloping 359 East Paces Ferry Rd into a 12-story, 125k SF spec office (here) in Buckhead Village.