After 46 years downtown, family-run Gage Men's Wear is about to expand to the suburbs.
The Glazers, Harry and son Bill, picked a shopping center near Owings Mills and the depths of a recession as the place and time to open a second store. Bill Glazer, the company's president, thinks the new store's prospects will be as pink as the color of the 2-year-old center in the 9600 block of Reisterstown Road.
Renovations are under way on the 7,000-square foot space at the north end of the Valley Centre, which currently includes a Weis supermarket and two discount clothing stores. Bill Glazer, 38, said the new store should open March 23. The renovations are costing about $250,000, he said.
Valley Centre sits just behind Northwest Honda's dealership and occupies land once used for the old Valley Drive-In theater. Glazer said that shoppers call it "the pink center" instead of its official name because of the bright color of the stucco and masonry buildings. The flow of people attracted by the other stores and by the modern multi-screen Loew's movie complex behind the center should help business, Glaser said.
The Glazers, whose downtown store is at 200 W. Baltimore St., across from the Baltimore Arena, considered locating their second store in the fast-growing Owings Mills area or in the Timonium-Cockeysville corridor.
"From a real estate perspective, we selected Owings Mills because it's one of the fastest growing areas in the entire state," Bill Glazer said. "More motivation was the fact that 17 percent of our downtown customer base live in the northwest," he said, as do the Glazers themselves. Marketing surveys indicated their store, targeted to buyers of quality men's clothes but at sale prices, would fit in the expanding community.
Bucking the recessionary trend, Glazer said, his company has already hired 15 employees to man the new store. "Our business has never been stronger," he said.
When times are tougher, people turn to better pricing, he said. Marketing surveys showed that men in the Owings Mills area buy an average of three suits a year, he said, and tend to buy high-quality clothes at sale prices.
Although now fully involved in the business his father founded, Bill Glazer said he never intended to make it his career.
"I got an undergraduate degree in psychology and I planned to be a dentist," he said recently, but he discovered he liked the business while working part-time in a College Park clothing store while he was attending the University of Maryland.
Although Valley Centre is several miles south of Owings Mills' new town center, it is along a section of Reisterstown Road that has seen great growth of offices, fancy new homes and retail commercial stores in recent years. The giant commercial ond office park built at McDonogh Road is just south of the center, as is the new McDonogh Township housing development -- all of this while the Northwest Expressway has eased the traffic burden on commercial Reisterstown Road.
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