The Inevitable Death of Department Store. 

A $60,000 GoFundMe for Department store is essentially an attempt to resuscitate a decapitated person. 

My name and identity don’t matter, but my message does. I am well known around this city and I saw the implosion of Department Store before it even happened. 

See, the thing is I know Louis, the owner. The first night they opened I stumbled in there drunk as shit with about 20 people and we were the only ones in there. Ever since then it was our spot. We called it department store because there was no sign except the chipped paint on the bricks that read the aforementioned. 

 Louis had a clean ass 750i BMW. A few months in, a fine ass thick ass Cuban started standing by the door. Her tongue ring glistened as the words “hey boo” flicked off her tongue. She was Louis’ “wife.” Very nice and very flirtatious. I knew he was paying for it. That was sign number 1. Then the drinks started flowing way too easily. Sometimes I wouldn’t even order a drink n a double shot of Evan Williams would appear in front of me. It was the cheap stuff, so I didn’t pay much attention to it, but that was sign number 2. 

As department store grew in notoriety, the demographic of the crowd changed. The cute hipster chicks and recent college grads started to fade out and the locust-like “scene niggas” started to flood in due to word of mouth. Accurate stories of fine chicks doing coke in the bathroom and everybody leaving Edgewood with some ass that at least ranked a 7 on a 1-10 scale. That’s enough to bring any nigga out. This was sign number 3. The demographic then evolved to literally drug dealers, drug buyers, and first timers who were late to the scene. The crowd grew in size but the ratio of men to women grew to about opposite that of the AUC. Sign 4.

As time progressed, I noticed that now of all the people in this tiny ass, hot ass, dark ass bar were mostly male and all high on something but no one had a drink in their hand. I constantly had to fight through the crowd just to order a drink from the bar. Usually when someone has to do this it means there’s a long line to buy drinks, but not in Department Store. The bartenders were bored and desperate for customers. So much so that if you did find your way to buy a $5 drink, you could get two drinks if you just followed the bartender’s simple directions: “throw me something.” Sign 5. 

By this time I had sunk my proverbial fangs into one of the bartenders and would ravish her insides on occasion. I got the inside scoop on how much money they would count in the basement (also used for vip drug use area) every night. A band or so on a slow night. 8 or 9 bands on a good night. Sign 6. Not too much longer did I get word that the same bartender I was laying the pipe to got fired for stealing. Sign 7. Then the manager who fired aforementioned bartender gets fired for reasons unknown (probably stealing). Sign 8. Meanwhile, Louis, the owner, buys a brand new Maserati. The crowd at department store keeps growing in size. So much so that the whole Edgewood avenue has increase foot traffic exponentially and 4 new bars opened to get their piece of the action. Also, I get word that resident DJ and well known coke head (who happens to still owe me $180 for some finely crushed up eggshells 👀) is crashing at Louis’ spare crib. Sign 9. 

Now, suddenly signs that read “DRUG FREE ZONE! NO DRUGS” are being PLASTERED on every door and window in department store. Literally, sign 10. All of these were the signs that led up to the eventual demise of department store. You can’t run a BAR (establishment that makes money from alcohol sales) with customers that don’t buy alcohol. They aren’t even customers, just space takers. Eventually whatever funds loaned by the bank to front the start up AND operational costs of department store had to run out. Without turning a profit the only result was clear. Shutdown. But did Louis even try insurance fraud and burn the place down? Nope. He just rode it out til the wheels fell off. Sad story. But hey when your pay for stay “wife” leaves you and your first instinct is to buy a new car, something should tell you that either you got everything handled or you can’t handle anything at all. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that that fine ass thick ass Cuban who I SWEAR woulda let me hit if I said more than hi, brought her mom and aunt one night to survey department store and make sure that everyone paid to get in. A tactic that could only arise from Louis telling her that he ain’t got her shopping money. All in all, the moral of this story is, if it’s too good to be true then that motherfucker is a bold face lie. 

-Anonymous Champion 

3 thoughts on “The Inevitable Death of Department Store. 

  1. Tried to go in there a couple of times. Impossible to get to the bar to buy drinks. Was approved to go upstairs by one guy, before being told I couldn’t go upstairs by another, upon reaching the top. What a mess of what could have been a cool place. Bad management. A damn shame.

  2. If you have read the article by Anonymous Champion as written above. I want you to know it is a personal perception and totally lacking the whole story and any real inward view of what happened to the Atlanta staple that Dept Store became.

    A perception by someone who cared about how he viewed things should go on as an early or “original” Dept Store attender. There were many who were valued and loved, appreciated and club family. But over time complained like Champion because the business grew and changed as all businesses should hope and work to do. Instead of thinking back on those days for the special ones that they were. No it was not possible to provide the same “it’s just us right now, us 30 or so guys” personal v.i.p status type treatment.
    I’m pretty sure I know this guy as I know them all or anyone who stuck around at least until this little club exploded as a force of musical, creative and turn up attraction. I am a former employee of Club Erosol aka Department store so I know from the inside out.

    Some of what Champion says is of truth in his club going observations, but his view due to lack of actual insider intel of the in’s and out’s of a club or nightlife business protocol, beyond what the bartender supposedly told him is limited, making any factual or actual parts of his view off base grossly and ultimately irrelavent as to the Dept Stores demise.

    First of all Louie which I also know personelly. I also of course knew his lovely wife, who was like any family member who cares about their family business. Mrs. Carreras was hands on in the business which she co-owned and helped fund and start her self. So gold digger she was not. She was part owner according to the supervisor Mr.Maurice or Mo.

    Secondly I have seened the behavior of Ms.Carerras as it was my job to observe everyone as pertaining to guys trying to holler* or get action from her. Iv’e witnessed the coolest guys, well dressed, celebrities and so forth attempt to approach and “push up” on Ms.Carerras were totally ignored with an “I have something to do demeanor” As most times I bodyguarded her upstairs or to the basement or exit of Dept Store. Moving on.

    Thirdly Department Store was an unpredicted phenomena. Nobody knew out of all 3 hard working day and night G.M.’s that it would become such a loved and diamond gem for music culture, and upcoming artist. It was a go to spot for any known artist who was in the know to go and release his new album, or project. If he wanted the streets, hipsters, and new we are coming talent to keep them relevant.

    The likes of Missy Elliot, Ludacris, T.I., Young Jeezy, David Banner, O.g Maco, Dj.Esco Futures DJ. 2 Chainz..the list gos on and on.

    I could go on and on about the packed weekends and the artist who would pop up and just hang out. It wasn’t just unknown talent taste maker spot alone.

    Bottom line is that nobody could have predicted with accuracy the burst of energy and demand that the club had and figure how to ride and guide this wave it produced. As the club would be packed out on trap music and hip-hop. Which was a success but lacked the diversity that Louies vision intended, as Louie was an award winning percussionist and producer and art lover. He wanted a more diverse at tentative atmosphere for Erosol and Atlanta.

    We all knew Hip Hop was a staple and needed, but we also knew that too much would invite the excess riff raff and potential trouble.

    The club ultimately got over popular and less homegrown and organic as intended. Even when “drank and paint” nights and other creatively fostered ideas were a success. The Original ideas were not enough an attraction to keep continuing, as they didn’t generate enough income.

    Dept Store due to just life and the fleeting arch of popularity became a product. With the fact that art and music left on its own will blossom and foster may be true. Dept Store was a business that started out as just a bunch of incredibly talented people who wanted this place to be different and special and really “pop” for all the musically inclined from the geeks and painters to hot spitting emcees as well as poets and Hip-Hop.

    It attracted the goals it sought but those legendary weekends that were the only steady times that Dept Store charged brought in all the money but also things that came with a common club. Overpacked nights, the random physical skirmishes, which we were blessed and equipped to diffuse before they became serious, the club drug use…etc etc.

    What people don’t realize is the advice panels, the music insider guest and stars who gave incredible useful priceless nuggets of information you couldn’t pay for and didn’t have to really 5 bucks maximum, the art exhibits of all kinds, the Playlist Parties* where we’ll known stars and hometown musical heroes and producers came to play all their own hits and the music they personelly loved to the crowds from the DJ booth ad they spoke between each song.

    Along with typical club owner behavior as Louie shook hands and poured drinks catering to his patrons the business side of things was not neglected. But manipulated by certain ppl around Louie and the Landlord. As Dept Store became too big of a stand out for certain competitive forces in the neighborhood.

    Along with the creep up of a new club owner learning the nightlife business. Not mis-management,but under management of books and business being noticed too late by us newbies. Staff theft. (they all got found out and fired) Lastly attracting the whole city and all the eventual downward arch that would accompany it.

    Department store helped everyone who was trying as hard as they should it gave the city and its creative a platform, a hangout, and a party every weekend. It’s success became it’s failure. Once anything gets to public. It’s a matter of time before it declines.

    The meaning of Dept Store though being the stage and heat beat and meeting place for creative though should be saved. Absolutely or it would be like taking the Dungeon itself from Goodie Mob and Outkast right when they were developing their magic.

  3. You kinda have to disregard folks when they state that they can “hit it” in reference to a woman they don’t know. I’ll take this with a grain of salt. But the second (long) reply here from an alleged former employee seems more vaid. It is what it is. People claim want an atmosphere to be black but it gotta be their kind of black for it to be relevant or useful. Forget those people. ERASOL probably should have done a better job getting paying patrons in there that bought at the bar on Friday nights. But if there was drug use at the spot? Guess what: It’s a night club atmosphere in a major city. Good luck attemptimg to curb drug use. Meh. I liked the energy when the spot opened. Life happens. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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