Baltimore magazine unveils new designA report on Maryland...

CONSUMER MARKETPLACE

August 29, 1992|By Michael Dresser

Baltimore magazine unveils new design

A report on Maryland racing rides the September cover of Baltimore as the venerable city magazine's new format gets out of the gate this week.

The magazine, founded in 1907, was sold in May to ESS Ventures, a group headed by Susan Souders Obrecht, whose resume includes a stint as owner of the Towson Times, the Owings Mills Times, the Baltimore Messenger and the Jeffersonian.

The revamped magazine is sporting a new logo and a stable of new editors and writers, led by Editor Jonathan Witty. Ms. Obrecht is promising expanded cultural and business coverage and a more sophisticated design.

Baltimore is going to need all the editorial horsepower it camuster, because it will be jockeying for advertising dollars with Style, the recently expanded, repositioned and thoroughly secular magazine published by the Baltimore Jewish Times.

Style, edited by former Baltimore magazine Managing Editor Kay Hudgens MacIntosh, is making it clear that it's aiming to eat Baltimore's oats. The former Jewish Times supplement will be mailed free into some 60,000 high-income homes. Baltimore lists a paid circulation of 50,000.

Don't be surprised if Nordstrom, the Seattle-based chain of department stores with a reputation for superb service, comes to Columbia Mall sometime in the mid-1990s.

Dave Mackie, the chain's vice president for real estate, said in a recent interview that the retailer plans to "look at the opportunities" between Baltimore and its store at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda.

That doesn't leave much choice except the Rouse Co.'s center in Columbia. Given Nordstrom's preference for high-income locations, it would be hard to envision it opening along U.S. 1 in Laurel. Any other regional mall is close to an existing or planned Nordstrom location.

Rouse executives said they would wait and see how the company's new Towson Town Center store performs after it opens Sept. 11. But there is little doubt among retail industry people here that the Towson store will be a roaring success.

Kathy Lickteig, Rouse's corporate spokeswoman, said the tw companies are not actively negotiating, but she added that "every time we're in Seattle, somebody stops by" Nordstrom headquarters.

And on the Nordstrom side, Co-President John Whiteacre made it clear that Howard County might be a nice spot for a rendez

vous. "Columbia could be a great location, depending on how we do in Towson," he said.

Will the two get together? Well, Nordstrom has a big distributio center in Upper Marlboro that is operating at less than one-third capacity. And a Columbia store could piggyback its advertising on that of the Towson and Washington-area stores.

Menswear retailer branches out for boys

Gage Menswear is tired of separating the men from the boys. The Baltimore clothier is bringing them together at its Valley Centre store at 9616 Reisterstown Road.

Gage's new boys' department, which opened Aug. 21, is a departure for the company, which has been selling brand-name menswear at discount prices since Harry Glazer founded the business in 1946.

The new venture is the brainchild of Harry's son, Bill Glazer, who is now president of the company. Harry Glazer is still serving customers at the downtown store.

The Glazers are betting that there's a healthy market out there for confirmation, graduation and bar mitzvah outfits for boys from 8 to 18.

Diaper war's generals mix up their orders

What effect is Wal-Mart having on its competitors since it opened its Glen Burnie store early this month?

It certainly isn't Pampering them. One indication: At Kmart's Pasadena store one day this week, standard packages of Pampers disposable diapers were selling for $8.26 under a sign that said the same product was $8.36 at Wal-Mart.

That same day, at the Kmart at Dobbin Center in Columbia, zone pricing was running amok. The Howard County store was selling the same size Pampers for $10.68 -- more than the $9.99 you'd pay at Giant Food in Columbia or in Glen Burnie.

This is risky business, as Hechinger found out when Home Depot decided that no law prevented it from taking out an ad comparing its Glen Burnie price with Hechinger's Columbia price. Hechinger wised up fast, bringing prices at all of its Baltimore-area stores into line with those at the nearest Home Depot.

Clothing chain uses World War II theme

Seen in Seattle: the Cockpit, a specialty clothing and gift store built around a World War II aviator theme. The background music is Big Band and Andrews Sisters; the merchandise is a mix of flight jackets, cavalry boots, World War II aircraft models and military clothing and insignia.

It's a classy presentation, with a good blend of nostalgia and high-quality merchandise. So far, the Long Island City, N.Y.-based chain has four stores around the country, but this could be a Banana Republic in the making.

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