It has been half a year since Nancy Schaffer's company bought the long-vacant supermarket building in the 6200 block of North Charles St. for $1.95 million, and the opening of a new Eddie's market there is still another half-year away.
But, when the store finally opens, Schaffer says, "it's going to be good."
Schaffer is president of Roland Park-Victor's Mkt. Inc., better known as the Eddie's Super Market in the 5100 block of Roland Ave. Several other Eddie's markets in the area, once part of a chain, are owned by other people and aren't related to Schaffer's operation.
She's bubbling over with ideas and possibilities for the vacant former Acme market, north of the city-county line, that closed in May 1982.
The problem is that the building is really just a structural shell. Schaffer has had to start from virtual scratch to design a whole new facility. Work under way there recently has been merely exploratory, she said, to judge from the extent of the rot and damage so repairs and renovations can be planned. Norwood Construction is the general contractor on the job.
"The roof had holes in it," she said, and virtually every aspect of the building must now be stripped away and repaired or #F replaced, starting with the roof; the electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems; heat and air conditioning; flooring, wall coverings, shelves, refrigerated cases and the front facade.
She's considering reducing the amount of glass front to cut down on afternoon sunlight glare and perhaps install a peaked roof, to blend in more with the homes in the well-to-do neighborhood.
Although the first priority is to open the store as quickly as possible, she also is considering adding a small addition to house a drug store, and perhaps an alcoholic beverage outlet too.
Eddie's in Roland Park, she says, has a liquor license.
She's now shooting for a February opening, but says that's an "aggressive" goal.
The 16,850-square foot building is much larger than the 9,500-square foot facility her company runs in the city.
Schaffer is planning to use all that new space, and the 127-parking space lot, to provide a full-service market sporting everything from home delivery, gourmet food and fresh fish counters to catering and customer charge accounts.
There also is to be a delicatessen counter, a bakery and specialty stands for candy, flowers and coffee. Hours will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. six days a week, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Although some workers will be part-time, the new market will provide up to 50 new jobs, including a full-time manager.
The cost of all the renovations will be well over $500,000, but Schaffer says she hasn't gotten firm estimates yet because decisions are still being made on design and equipment. She's also been in touch with neighborhood improvement associations, who are anxious, she says, to see improvements to the long-vacant building.
The funny thing, she says, is that she wasn't really planning on expanding from her one store. "The building just came on the market for a week or two and I said, 'I just have to have it,' " she recalls.
Long owned by Giant Food, the old Acme store was finally sold to a development company, which put it on the market. With a location in a wealthy county neighborhood and with no competition closer than Graul's in Ruxton or as far east as York Road, chances are Schaffer has made a good gamble, she thinks.