PTC Council to Coweta businesses: ‘Don’t use city’s name’
Official letter warns Fischer Crossings businesses in Coweta not to identify themselves as located in PTC
The Peachtree City Council is upset that two new businesses across Line Creek and inside Coweta County are marketing themselves with “Peachtree City” in their names.
And the developer of the Fischer Crossings is politely accusing city officials of a double standard with their own airport name, contending Peachtree City could have had the same development inside its city limits subject to city taxes had the council been more receptive to large retailers.
Mayor Don Haddix uses phrases like “fraudulently convincing,” “false representation” and “damages” in describing the emerging Fischer Crossings commercial development just inside Coweta County on Ga. Highway 54 in the official Nov. 23 letter to developer Scott Seymour.
Signed by Haddix and endorsed by others on the City Council, the letter said Sam’s Club and NCG Cinemas inappropriately reference Peachtree City in their statements describing their geographical proximity to the city.
The new entrance to the cinema being prepared now is four-tenths of a mile from the county line bordered by Peachtree City. The Sam’s Club store, located down the street at Ga. Highway 34 and Fischer Road is seven-tenths of a mile from Fayette County and Peachtree City.
Developer Seymour responded to the letter, questioning the city’s rationale in the matter.
The Nov. 23 letter to Seymour stated, “We are writing to ask for your help as both a Peachtree City resident and as the owner and developer of the center. As you know, the City of Peachtree City receives a significant portion of our operating revenue from the shared Local Option Sales Taxes generated in Fayette County, and we receive supplemental taxes from businesses in the city limits.
“While the Fischer Crossings will certainly serve our residents, the tenants will generate taxes for Coweta County, rather than Fayette County or Peachtree City. Due to Fischer Crossings’ location on our immediate western border, the active promotion of the center and its tenants as being in Peachtree City is a false representation with the specific intent of fraudulently convincing our residents that they are supporting the local business community and local economy. This false representation will result in damages to the City of Peachtree City,” the official city letter said.
The letter proceeded to note that while the city recognized that successful businesses and shopping centers reflect well upon and serve an entire region and that Peachtree City residents will be among the development’s patrons, Haddix and others on the council maintained that “deceptively advertising the establishment as part of Peachtree City does not give residents the opportunity to make an informed choice on the expenditure of their tax dollars.”
Contacted about the letter, city Public Information Officer Betsy Tyler said that while Haddix signed the letter there were others on the council that agreed with its statements and wanted the issues addressed.
The letter also requested that Fischer Crossing and its future tenants not use the city’s name in any signage and that directional signage or ads be limited to descriptions such as “near Peachtree City,” “through Peachtree City” or “just outside Peachtree City.”
The claims of “fraudulently convincing residents” and “deceptive advertising” and “false representation” stems from the use of Peachtree City’s name in flyers and on the website of NCG Cinemas and from a Sam’s Club communication with The Citizen more than six months ago when the retailer referenced its “Peachtree City store.” Both NCG Cinemas and Sam’s Club were sent letters similar to the one received by Seymour.
Asked about the letter, Seymour had a number of comments that questioned the rationale that generated it.
“I am not sure what he is talking about. My website is www.fischercrossings-ga.com and refers to the site as ‘Sharpsburg’ not Peachtree City,” Seymour said. “None of my signs indicate the site is in Peachtree City. But I do imagine that most people will call the development Peachtree City because of the close proximity to the city limit. I do not believe that our shopping center will directly compete with any of the Peachtree City stores.”
Seymour also called into question yet another aspect that potentially accompanied the letter. It is one that has linkage to the attempt of Kohl’s (which has signed a letter of intent to open a store at Fischer Crossings) and other retailers, including a theater, to establish a presence in Peachtree City in the now defunct Capital City Development site along Hwy. 54 West. The site would have been approximately 1.5 miles from Fischer Crossings.
“Basically, Peachtree City helped create Fischer Crossings,” Seymour said. “Peachtree City has set their ordinances in such a way that a Sam’s, theaters, Kohl’s or any other large store can not come to the city because of their square footage maximum building sizes. All these stores would have liked to be in Peachtree City but Peachtree City did not want any of them.”
”Early in the game we tried to include Peachtree City in the Fischer Crossings development,” Seymour told The Citizen. “We offered to buy sewer from the city and they declined. I am sure that good portion of the employees from this development will live in Peachtree City. And that’s beneficial for the city. Retail markets have a lot of synergy. I believe the Fischer Crossings and Peachtree City shopping areas will compliment each other.”
Finally, Seymour questioned the marketing aspects reference by the city, noting that Peachtree City, too, had used essentially the same marketing technique as it claims is being used deceptively by NCG and Sam’s Club.
“This is similar to the Peachtree City Airport [Falcon Field] being called the Atlanta Regional Airport even though it’s not in Atlanta. But I did not name my center Peachtree City Crossings,” said Seymour.
NCG Cinemas Vice President of Corporate Development Jeff Geiger told The Citizen that the reference to Peachtree City on the company’s website and in a flyer advertising the 50 jobs that would be available at the theater was meant to be a convenience for patrons and potential employees to know that the new cinema was in close proximity to the city. Geiger added that NCG uses no signage referencing Peachtree City. Geiger also said that NCG will remove all uses of NCG Peachtree City Cinemas and will advertise the theaters as being one mile from Peachtree City.
“We hope this eliminates anyone’s concerns,” Geiger said. “Our end goal is to provide all our customers with something they’ll be proud of.”
Answers to questions posed to Sam’s Club on the matter were not received by press time.