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Webb Gin lines up retailers

The Avenue Webb Gin has national retailers lined up.

Gap, Barnes & Noble and Ann Taylor Loft have committed to the 390,000-square-foot open-air specialty retail center on 56 acres at Ga. Highway 124 and Webb Gin House Road.

The Avenue Webb Gin is expected to open next August. Forty percent of the first phase of retail space is already leased, Cousins Properties said. Other retailers joining the development include GapKids, GapBody, BabyGap, Coldwater Creek and the restaurant Doc Cheys.

The Avenue Webb Gin is Gwinnett's second upscale outdoor mall. The other, Forum on Peachtree Parkway, opened in 2003.

Eckerd locations to close

A few local Eckerd drugstores couldn't fight off a bout of anemic sales.

Eckerd's parent company, the Jean Coutu Group, confirmed this week it has closed three Gwinnett-area drugstores.

A spokeswoman confirmed the Eckerd closings Thursday at U.S. Highway 29 and Killian Hill Road in Lilburn, at McGinnis Ferry Road and Old Atlanta Highway in Suwanee and at Ga. Highway 20 and Suwanee Dam Road in Sugar Hill.

Michele Fortier, spokeswoman with the Jean Coutu Group in Montreal, said 25 Georgia stores have closed or will be shutting down in the coming months.

However, she did not provide a date by which all the drugstores will be shuttered.

Jean Coutu Group has more than 150 Eckerd drugstores in Georgia.

Special gas raises

Georgia prices

Georgia can no longer boast the cheapest gas in the land.

Wyoming and Utah claimed the lowest prices at the pump this past week at roughly $2.40 for gallon of regular unleaded, according to AAA. Georgia drivers were shelling out $2.59 as late as Friday.

In fact, Georgia was buried on the automobile association's list of daily average gasoline prices, falling behind 25 other states.

"Atlanta is in one of those special zones in the United States where smog is a problem, so it uses a special blend of low-sulfur, low emission, gasoline," said Jessica Nesterak, Gulf Coast markets editor with Oil Price Information Service.

"The biggest problems are that only a select number of refineries have the ability to produce that kind of gasoline, and the ingredients to make it are more expensive than ever," Nesterak said.

That means more frustration for Gwinnett drivers - but at least they can enjoy cleaner air.