Make no mistake, Baltimore's new Basics supermarket on Fort Avenue in Locust Point is aiming itself at the young, urban, professional shopper.
Tucked into a working-class neighborhood but close enough to gentrified rowhouses and waterfront condominiums, Basics has taken up residency in the new Southside Market Place -- an $11 million, 128,000-square-foot shopping plaza.
The supermarket opened Sunday, but a grand opening is scheduled for the entire plaza Oct. 9.
Combining an emphasis on low prices with such services as express home delivery and shopping by fax, Basics officials say they hope to go beyond the working-class neighborhood the store is centered in to attract upscale buyers as well.
"Yuppies" is the way Basics President and Chief Operating Officer John Ryder describes the clientele the new store is targeting.
Bryant Stark, a spokesman for Basics, put it another way.
"The [Basics] selection is definitely upscale," he said, pointing out such items as blueberry vinegar and water-sprayed, fresh fish.
"The upscale end of the market is definitely going to be addressed," Stark continued. "But also, because Basics is on the lower end of the price spectrum, it's going to appeal to the working class section also."
The store's location -- close to downtown -- puts it in direct competition with Giant Food at the Rotunda and Safeway at Mount Clare Junction. Although the city has several other supermarkets, few are as near to downtown.
"There was a definite need for a supermarket in the area," Ryder said. "This is the only store in a 5-mile radius, and a lot of people in the neighborhood said they were waiting many years for something like this."
The new store is also part of Basics' expansion plans for the area.
Fueling those plans, Basics parent corporation, Super Rite Foods Inc., sold seven Basics stores in the Washington-D.C. area earlier this year to Shoppers Food Warehouse.
"It was the best way to give them immediate working capital to build the new stores and renovate the existing stores the right way," said Stark.
The company is also opening a new store in Mitchellville in November and in Perry Hall in February. A store on Liberty Road was recently renovated.
The following leasing transactions were announced by Casey & Associates Commercial and Industrial Realtors:
* Micro Systems Solutions, a computer systems firm, recently leased 6,064 square feet of office space in the Hunt Valley Business Center, located at 10946-G Beaver Dam Road in Hunt Valley. Casey & Associates represented the tenant and W. C. Pinkard represented the landlord, Henderson-Webb.
* Physicians Choice Inc., a billing company for physicians, recently leased 1,039 square feet of office space in the Riderwood Building at 1107 Kenilworth Drive in Towson. Casey & Associates represented the landlord, Simon Construction, and W.C. Pinkard represented the tenant.
* Custom Wood & Metal Inc., a specialist in commercial cabinetry and chair manufacturing, recently leased 7,608 square feet of warehouse space at 6250 Frankfort Ave. in Baltimore. Casey & Associates represented the tenant and P.F. Obrecht & Son represented themselves as landlord.
The following leasing transactions were announced by W.C. Pinkard & Co.:
* Kluge, Finkelstein & Co., a food brokerage, has leased 25,300 square feet at the Woodside Center in Columbia. W.C. Pinkard represented tenant and landlord.
* James A. Cassidy Co. Inc., a design center and showroom, has leased 4,500 square feet at the Greiner Building in Towson. W.C. Pinkard represented the tenant and KLNB represented the landlord, Gordon R. Jones.
* Rosse and Associates Inc., and Curry Communications Group Inc., which are advertising and publications firms, have leased 4,100 square feet at 72 Loveton Circle in Sparks. W.C. Pinkard negotiated for the tenant and Loveton York Limited Partnership for the landlord.