Highway is a landscape covered in these re-vamped chain stores and this
section attempts to document this recent architectural / cultural phenomemon.
On Buford, a newer, more fast-foody Pizza Hut Express sits a few blocks
from an older model that now houses a Korean BBQ Restaurant. A lone
Taco Bell continues to operate in the midst of dozens of authentic Mexican
taqurias: a situation not neccecarily seen as ironic by the diverse
local population. Enterprise is the name of the game in an area where
a Bengladeshi-operated Dunkin' Donuts franchise operates down the road
from a Dominican Republic restaurant utilizing the remains of the last
Dunkin' Donuts shop in the neighborhood.
And yet, aside from the shared desire to make money, there is a more
subtle difference in the nature of these transfigured chain stores.
While they are fulfilling the same fundemental goals as their corporate
counterparts: providing food and services to their intended demographic,
the appropriation of cookie-cutter architecture provides a concrete
representation of what a friend calls "the outer limits of global
capitalism". The saavy creation of the closely-guarded corporate
identities that resulted in the uniform and highly recognnizable franchise
buildings is at once undermined and inverted. The symbols of rock-solid
corporate identity backed and renforced by multi-million dollar marketing
campaigns suddenly become ghosts of short-term profit and yesterday's
homegeniety, now reincarnated for a New South suburbia.