Metro to open 5 stores in region in two years Expansion into area puts chain in head-on rivalry with Giant

Food industry

March 21, 1998|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Metro Food Markets, continuing its expansion into the Baltimore region and into a head-on rivalry with Giant Food Inc., is planning new grocery stores in Timonium, Ellicott City and Glen Burnie.

Those locations, plus a store under construction in Columbia and another slated to open in Lutherville in April, are part of an expansion over the next two years that will bring the chain's store count to 22, John Ryder, Metro's chief executive officer, said yesterday.

Metro, a division of Richfood Holdings Inc., the Richmond, Va., wholesale food distributor, is now the second-largest supermarket chain in the region after Giant.

"I would anticipate in Baltimore that, over the next two years, their market share is going to grow," said Dave Callahan, editor of Columbia-based trade journal Food World. "They're constructing stores in Baltimore faster than the industry average."

A 58,200-square-foot Metro store will anchor the Broad Street Market, a new strip shopping center to be built on West Padonia Road in Timonium. The developer, Hill Management Services, expects to break ground this spring. The supermarket, a dry cleaner, restaurant and video store are expected to open six to nine months later, said Kristyn L. Harvey, the leasing representative.

In Ellicott City, another 58,200-square-foot Metro market will open in a shopping center to be built on Route 40 near Wal-Mart by Pennsylvania developer Harrison and Grass.

A store under construction in Oakland Mills Shopping Center in Columbia will open this fall or next spring, after major renovations to the village center.

Metro also hopes to move into Glen Burnie this year or next, but has not finalized a site, Ryder said.

The chain seeks to open stores primarily in shopping centers in densely populated areas, said Marc Katz, executive vice president of H&R Retail, the brokerage firm representing Metro.

Known for unusual promotional gimmicks, Metro will open its next store, at York and Ridgely roads in Lutherville, next month as 26 high school marching bands perform in the new store's parking lot.

In October, Metro sponsored a wedding for 14 couples on a red-carpeted stage during the grand opening of its Essex store. The newlywed couples each got $1,000 in groceries and a free honeymoon.

Pub Date: 3/21/98

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