Buckhead officials are reflecting on Aaron’s founder Charlie Loudermilk’s announcement that he will retire in mid-September.
Loudermilk is synonymous with Atlanta and made decisions that define what Buckhead is today. In 2009 the city renamed Buckhead Triangle Park as Charlie Loudermilk Park to honor him.
Aaron’s, started in 1955, is a nation-wide rent to own retail business, with nearly 2,000 stores in 48 states and Canada.
He is one of the founding members of the Buckhead Coalition. Coalition President Sam Massell said Loudermilk will continue to be a presence in the community.
“He could well afford to retire,” Massell said. “He could’ve retired many years ago if he’d chosen to do so. He will continue to be active, I’m certain both in the Buckhead community and in the larger metro area as well.”
Jim Durrett, who is executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District and the Buckhead Alliance headed up by Charlie’s son Robin, said he hopes Charlie Loudermilk will continue to work with his son in the real estate development business.
“Charlie has been a very important icon in Buckhead …,” Durrett said. “For Charlie to announce he is retiring completely from Aaron’s is truly the end of an era.”
Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, said Loudermilk’s long-term support of the area has been a valuable asset.
“He’s got the history and knows where it came from and knows where it’s headed,” Starling said. “I think that continued family commitment is one of the great things about the community.”
Jim King, chairman of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, said Loudermilk is a “mainstay in Buckhead.”
“He’s an institution,” King said. “He’s also bridged the racial gaps in the community with his relationship with (former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young.) He’s just a tremendous asset. I don’t know that you could replace Charlie Loudermilk.”