Harford Ames stores not among 10 in state to close

December 13, 1992|By Frank Lynch | Frank Lynch,Staff Writer

The Ames Department Stores in Bel Air, Edgewood and Havre de Grace are not among the 10 the discounter plans to close in Maryland.

The Connecticut-based company said the Maryland closings were part of a new round of cuts as part of a bankruptcy reorganization that will shut 60 of the 369 Ames stores nationwide.

About 620 employees will lose their jobs in Maryland.

The closings bring to 373 the number of stores Ames has closed since it filed for Chapter 11 protection in April 1990, listing $1.44 billion in debts.

The Maryland stores to be closed next spring are in Odenton, Annapolis, Hampstead, Westminster, Reisterstown, Chestertown, LaVale, Pocomoke City, Prince Frederick and Temple Hills.

Ames said that each of the stores would be open during the holiday season.

Value City Department Stores Inc. said last week that it had acquired the leases of three Ames locations. Terms weren't disclosed.

The stores are in Annapolis, and Newport News and Virginia Beach, Va. The company said it expects to open the stores next summer.

Once the nation's fourth-largest retailer, Ames ran into trouble after its 1988 acquisition of the Zayre chain burdened it with debt as sales plunged.

According to Ames spokesman Bill Roberts, the closings would be the last under the reorganization. Creditors will begin voting on a reorganization plan next month, he said.

The on-again, off-again joint venture use of Phillips Airfield at Aberdeen Proving Ground is in a holding pattern.

The idea was proposed to the Army by a group of county businessmen in 1981, then again in 1988, said Warren Hartenstine, chairman of the Harford County Economic Development Advisory Board.

Mr. Hartenstine, who is a member of the Maryland Distribution Council -- a state-appointed panel that tries to attract air cargo business to the region -- said Phillips Airfield is strategically located and has some of the longest runways in the state.

He said the plan called for Phillips to be used for limited passenger service. He noted that small regional carriers were not in great financial shape but the addition of 16 daily flights -- eight incoming and eight outgoing -- would boost their revenues substantially.

The Army signed off on the plan and, although nothing has been done since 1990, is still receptive to the venture, an Army spokesman said.

All five committees of Harford County's Economic Development Advisory Board will be studying the latest Rural Plan proposal put before the county council Tuesday.

"Our board must be aware of the economic impact of the plan," said Warren Hartenstine, the board's chairman. "We must be made aware of land available for economic growth. The tax base in this county needs the boost that can only be derived from commercial growth.

"I believe that farm land must be preserved and that the farmers in this county must be allowed to continue to operate profitably. I also believe there is a growing need for industrial land."

Mr. Hartenstine spoke of a longtime friend, a farmer, who has never taken more than $18,000 a year income. "This man has sacrificed a great deal," he said. "He has two children in college and has literally plowed the rest of his income back into the operation of the farm. His land is his legacy to his prodigies. It must be preserved."

The board agreed to discuss the rural plan at its January's meeting.

The attorney representing Paul V. Thompson, co-owner of Souvenirs restaurant, said that the first hearing in the bankruptcy case will be held Dec. 23.

Howard Meyers, of the Baltimore-based Howard Meyers and Associates, filed for Chapter 11 protection for Mr. Thompson on Nov. 18. He said that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court will review papers submitted as part of the reorganization plan.

The restaurant, on Main St. in Bel Air, is open.

It is co-owned by by Holly Thompson, Mr. Thompson's former wife.

Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc. announced that earnings rose 11 percent in the third quarter of 1992.

The Joppa-based apparel chain showed earnings for the quarter ending Oct. 31 of $10.5 million compared with $9.6 million for the third quarter of last year.

Michael D. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer of the company, cited improved inventory and expense control as reason for the rise in earnings.

@4 Merry-Go-Round operates 970 stores in 38 states.

BIZBRIEFS -- Merrell and Dorothy Grafton, owners of the Carvel Ice Cream Bakery at Tollgate Mall, have bought the Carvel store in the Edgewater Shopping Center on U.S. 40 in Edgewood. . . . Linthicum-based BTR Realty, Inc., which owns the Harford Mall, is contemplating changing from a corporation to a real estate investment trust. . . . The board of directors of Harford National Bank recently approved a 100 percent stock dividend to stockholders of record as of Nov. 5, 1992 to be distributed Dec. 15, 1992. . . . Thompson Automotive Group, which owns Thompson Toyota in Edgewood, has bought Kilduff Motors Jeep Eagle of 2301 Pulaski Highway.

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