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Trading Center closes doors after 50 years
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Jenann and Ray Garner take a break from cleaning out the closed store. - photo by Michelle Kim

After 50 years of providing appliances and service to Conyers, the Trading Center will close its doors this week to make way for a Panera Bread restaurant to be built on Ga. Highway 138. 

Both the Trading Center, which faces Old McDonough Highway toward the post office, and Wendy’s, which faces Ga. Highway 138, are scheduled for demolition for the new restaurant early next month. 

Ray Garner Sr., owner of the Trading Center, a part of the Conyers business district since 1963, will continue his appliance service but will no longer sell appliances. 

“We wanted to be here another four or five years, but it’s just part of the city’s changes and the village look they are going for,” Garner said in reference to the new village-designed zoning district the city adopted for the Ga. Highway 138 corridor last year. “It’s just one of those things you have to do.”

Garner’s father-in-law, the late Bobby McDonald, originally opened the Trading Center in 1963 in a storefront on Center Street in Olde Town Conyers where the Old Depot Players now reside. Garner later relocated the business to its current location in 1982. Two of the family’s proudest traditions have been employing high school students who often returned to work in the summers and servicing loyal families through generations. 

“We have been through three and four generations — great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, and on down the line over the years,” Garner said. “We have had a great clientele. There weren’t but 16,000 people in county when we started. We have watched the county grow and have made a lot of new friends.” 

Now, with his company down from 10 to five employees, Garner plans to continue servicing appliances for the foreseeable future and can still be reached at 770-483-4844.