Norman’s Landing officially closes its doors - North Atlanta Business Post
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Updated Nov 14 @ 1:05PM
 

Norman’s Landing officially closes its doors

Restaurant served more than 3 million people over 22 years

KATHLEEN STURGEON/Herald
For 22 years, Norman’s Landing restaurant has been a staple in Forsyth County and on June 19, it shuttered its doors one last time. Bill Norman spends the final day of business at Norman’s Landing thanking every customer and holding the door for all who enter.
KATHLEEN STURGEON/Herald
Bill Norman and his staff have fed more than three million people since the restaurant opened in 1995.
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What: Bill Norman will auction off the items inside the restaurant to the public, along with the log cabin

When: June 22 and 23, viewing at 1p.m. and auction from 2—6 p.m.

Where: Norman’s Landing, 365 Peachtree Parkway

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Even on the final day of business at Norman’s Landing, owner Bill Norman waved hello and goodbye to every customer, opened the door for all who entered and visited every table full of hungry visitors.

That personal touch may be part of the reason he’s been so successful the past 22 years at owning and operating his seafood restaurant at 365 Peachtree Parkway.

In March, Norman said he has “signed papers” for the property and it’s a great deal, but he wouldn’t say to who, for what and how much.

Norman, who has been in the restaurant business for 50 years, and his staff have proudly served over 3 million customers with the motto, “let us spoil you.”

But on March 13, Norman announced the Forsyth County staple will close its doors June 19, citing debt and maintenance issues.

“It would take $400,000 to get this restaurant back in the right direction,” Norman said in March. “I’m talking about new floors and tile. I can’t take another payment book. I owe friends, family, banks and everybody. I have to get them off me so I can sleep at night.”

Since that announcement, Norman said the days leading up to the “last supper,” as he called the final day, were an emotional roller coaster.

“We felt the love from the community from our great customers,” Norman said. “People have written and given us stuff.”

Often, the public have asked Norman where they’re going to get “great food” like they can at Norman’s Landing, so he recommended other restaurants for a while.

“They said, ‘it’s not as good as yours,’” Norman said. “And I’d say, ‘I know. That’s by design.’ If you find anything good, call me.”

He credits his employees with doing an “outstanding job” and helping with the extra sales the restaurant has seen since the closure announcement.

“My employees have stuck with me and done an outstanding job,” Norman said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Those employees will also be what he will miss the most. He’s worked with some for more than 40 years.

“The food has never been better,” Norman said. “My staff was everybody’s biggest concern when I said I was closing the restaurant. They told me they’d stick it out with me and finish it out the right way. I feel like I’m breaking up a family, and I am.”

Raising money for charity has been a cornerstone for the restaurant, as it has raised more than $2.3 million for the community over the years.

Even on the last day, Norman was donating half of the proceeds from that day to four local churches. Those churches were selected because Norman said he drove past them during the recession and would pray for his business to succeed. Now that it has, he wanted to give back to them.

“We were losing $20,000 — $30,000 a month and were minus $80,000 a month in sales during the recession,” Norman said. “I would drive by and say, ‘please God let this $30,000 payroll check written on Friday be good on Monday.’ He doctored me up about 85—90 percent of the time.”

He hasn’t completely written off the idea of getting back into the food industry.

He’s sold some of his recipes to various clients, but isn’t planning on making a cookbook.

“If I make a recipe book, we won’t have any customers because everyone will be too busy cooking the food,” Norman said. “That doesn’t fire me up right now.”

He is toying with the idea of opening another restaurant sometime in the future. However, he won’t start his next venture until he takes a well-deserved break to relax.

“I’ve been doing this for 50 years, so I’m taking five months off and not doing anything but vacuuming at home and cleaning the pool,” Norman said. “I’m going to go on the lake and enjoy it, play golf and travel. I’m also going to go out and eat lunch instead of being lunch.”

An auction will be held June 22 and 23 starting at 1 p.m. for a viewing and sale from 2— 6 p.m. It is open to the public and most items in the store will be for sale, along with the log cabin.

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