Bel Air Super Fresh plans new store

July 25, 1993|By Frank Lynch | Frank Lynch,Staff Writer

The Super Fresh grocery store in Bel Air Plaza will be replaced by a 45,000-square-foot supermarket.

Demolition of the 22,000-square-foot store will begin late this year when the entire shopping center begins extensive renovations, said William Vitulli, vice president of A&P Super Fresh Stores.

The company plans to open the new store within a year.

Mr. Vitulli said the 25 employees of Super Fresh will be reassigned among the other 27 Super Fresh stores in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

L Mr. Vitulli said he wasn't concerned about losing customers.

"Our customers will return once they see the new store," he said. "Over the years, we have found them to be extremely loyal to our product line."

Bill Magness, manager of the Bel Air store, agreed.

"Most of our customers have been shopping with us for years," he said. "You couldn't get them out of here for anything.

"I've seen the type of store that will be built here, and it is beautiful. In fact, it is more than holding its own against a nearby Giant Store."

Giant is the leading food retailer in the state, recent industry surveys show.

Mr. Vitulli said a major marketing campaign will be launched before the new store opens.

"People in that area will definitely know we are back with a great deal more to offer customers. We are confident our old customers will return and that we'll attract many new ones."

*

Tom Mitchell, who has more than 36 years of food sales experience, has opened a 10,000-square-foot supermarket in the new Manorwood Shopping Center on Route 23.

The opening of Jarrettsville Market, just west of the village center, culminates a year's planning.

Mr. Mitchell, his wife, Catherine, and son, Tom Jr., operated a convenience store in Whiteford for about 11 years before selling it last year.

Mr. Mitchell also had worked 16 years for Pantry Pride and 10 years for Mars.

The new store's main wholesale supplier is AWI of Pennsylvania, whose private label is Sure Fine.

The shelves will be stocked with brand name food and consumer products as well.

The new store employs 30 people.

Customers will find a complete meat department and delicatessen, a fresh seafood section, a fresh produce section, a salad bar, an in-store bakery, a prepared foods section and a gourmet food and cheese section.

*

Sears' outlet store in Bel Air Plaza is expected to close by September.

The move follows the company's recent closing of its catalog stores in Bel Air and Havre de Grace.

The nation's second-largest retailer has hired a liquidator to sell all the merchandise from its outlet stores across the country.

The chain has never had a full-service department store in Harford County.

Sears is closing 67 outlet stores nationally, including three in Maryland -- Bel Air, Dundalk and Waldorf.

The Chicago-based giant announced in January that it was sacrificing its 97-year-old general merchandise catalog, along with 50,000 employees, as part of a $1.7 billion effort to restore its crumbling retail empire.

*

Bryan Myers, former owner of the Myers Catalog Showroom in Forest Hill, has put the building on the market for sale or lease.

The selling price for the 22,400-square-foot building, which occupies 2.28 acres and offers parking for 140 cars, is $1.25 million.

The leasing price is $5.50 per square foot but is negotiable, Mr. Myers said.

Mr. Myers, whose father, William H. Myers, started the business as a candy and tobacco distributorship in 1956 in Carroll County, said the Forest Hill showroom opened in November 1982 and closed nearly nine years later.

"Our first three years in Harford County were excellent, but then customers seemed to have a change of attitude about catalog stores," he said. "We hung on until it became obvious that business would not return."

*

Stephen Homes, a county-based residential builder, will move its headquarters into a 9,200-square-foot office in Riverside before the end of the year.

H. Carl Stephen, developer of Greenridge, one of Harford's first housing developments, started Stephen Homes in the 1950s.

The company is owned by Mr. Stephen, his wife, Mary, their sons, Donald and Dale, and their wives.

Stephen Homes employs about 40 people and sells single-family houses in Greenridge II and Grace Harbour in Havre de Grace.

*

Capt. Michael Labbe, owner and operator of the Subway in the Festival at Bel Air, is talking expansion -- but not in Harford County.

Captain Labbe has been selected Subway's development agent for Kuwait, where he spent seven months during Operation Desert Storm.

Since he opened the store in 1990, sales there have outpaced all other Subways in Maryland, rising 34 percent. The store serves about 1,200 customers a week.

Subway, started in 1965 by 17-year-old Fred DeLuca, is the nation's fastest-growing franchise. It has nearly 8,000 restaurants worldwide and plans to open 1,200 this year.

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