While many retailers have made the decision to keep their doors open on Thanksgiving, Avalon executives have taken a stand against Turkey Day sales.
“We’re really more interested in being a community partner and being protective of family time,” said North American Properties Vice President of Marketing Liz Gillespie. “It’s more important to us than squeezing another dollar out of consumers.”
Shortly before the holiday, the developer sent a memo to its Alpharetta tenants. According to Gillespie, the complex’s shop and store owners were in agreement — with the exception of a few non-retail services, Avalon will be completely closed for business Thursday.
Gillespie said she was horrified reading about chain stores forcing employees to work all day on Thanksgiving and malls fining tenants who refused to open. The recommended closings, she said, were emblematic of the organization’s “core values” of promoting community and work-life balance.
“While other large malls are into the business of building market share, North American Properties has been in the business of building heartshare,” Gillespie said. “We’re not simply about shopping … we believe Thanksgiving is a time to spend with friends and family.”
The cashiers, stockers and sales representatives at Avalon’s retailers, she said, were “thrilled” when they learned they got the day off.
“There are so few days left in the year were retail employees are not required to work,” she said. “This is one of the few days they do get to rest and spend time with their families … they were very appreciative.”
The complex’s movie theater, ice skating rink and several restaurants, however, will remain open. Employees at those businesses, Gillespie said, are working on a volunteer basis.
“Their business model is already built around the idea that on a day like Thanksgiving, when people are looking for things to do as a family,” she said, “that those entertainment options are available.”
North American Properties, also the operator of Atlantic Station, handed out a similar request to its retailers in Atlanta. The call for Thanksgiving closures, Gillespie said, was never really about what the developer would lose or gain financially as much as it was the preservation of their company’s principles.
“We believe that our guests will continue to visit Avalon and Atlantic Station throughout the holidays,” she said. “They can continue to shop on Friday, and the day after that, and the day after that.”
Although Avalon is giving its retail employees a full day to enjoy all the food, fun and football associated with Thanksgiving, business — quite literally — picks up immediately afterwards.
The complex will be open all weekend long, with ample retailer deals scattered throughout the development. Perhaps foreshadowing heavy early morning traffic, Avalon plans on handing out “survival kits” — with over $75 worth of complimentary goodies — to the first 250 shoppers who arrive at Concierge when it opens bright and early Friday morning.
The percentage of 11th-grade, first-time test takers meeting or exceeding the standard on the Georgia High School Writing Test increased in 2014, rising from 94 percent last year to 96 percent this year.
Additionally, each sub-group whose performance was measured — Asian, black, Hispanic, and white students, along with special-education students and English learners — saw an increase in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standards.
“Strong writing skills are needed to be able to communicate effectively in all professions, no matter where our students go in life,” State School Superintendent John Barge, Ph.D. said in a statement. “It’s very encouraging to see the achievement gap closing and writing proficiency on the rise.”
District- and school-level scores will be released at a date to be determined. This year marked the last full administration of the test. In the future, students’ writing will be assessed through the Georgia Milestones Assessment System.
“As we transition to a new assessment system, students will still be required to show their writing proficiency, but they will participate in one comprehensive testing program, rather than a series of individual tests,” Barge said.
Highlights from the 2014 test results include:
o 96 percent of all grade 11 first-time test takers met or exceeded the standard, a 2 percent increase over 2013 and a 5 percent increase since 2009
o 79 percent of special education grade 11 first-time test takers met or exceeded the standard, a 9 percent increase over 2013, and an 18 percent increase since 2009
o 71 percent of English learner grade 11 first-time test takers met or exceeded the standard, an 11 percent increase over 2013, and a 5 percent increase since 2009
o 95 percent of all students who tested (first-time test takers and those students retesting) met or exceeded the standard, a 3 percent increase over 2013, and a 6 percent increase since 2009
o 95 percent of Asian students who tested (first-time test takers and those students retesting) met or exceeded the standard, a 1 percent increase over 2013, and a 3 percent increase since 2009
o 93 percent of black students who tested (first-time test takers and those students retesting) met or exceeded the standard, a 5 percent increase over 2013, and an 8 percent increase since 2009
o 94 percent of Hispanic students who tested (first-time test takers and those students retesting) met or exceeded the standard, a 4 percent increase over 2013, and an 8 percent increase since 2009
The pet of the week is a Labrador mix who will give a reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving. Meet Gordo, a 10-month-old who loves people and will be anyone’s new best friend.
This guy can be a little shy at first, but once he gets to know you, you won’t find anyone else who will be more loyal and loving. Gordo gets along well with other dogs, is good with kids and loves to chase balls.
If adopted before the end of November his adoption is free under the Give Them a Reason to be Thankful promotion. It will include his neuter, vaccines, microchip and more. The shelter will screen potential adopters as always to ensure he goes to a good home.
Come meet him by visiting the shelter at 845 Camp Road, email email@example.com or call (404) 294-2165.
To view other animals available for adoption, visit www.dekalbanimalservices.com.
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