Safeway opens Eldersburg store at site formerly owned by Giant Grocery chain expanding its presence in Carroll

October 28, 1998|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Safeway, the second-largest grocery retailer in the mid-Atlantic region, is making inroads in Carroll County, opening a new store in Eldersburg today, building another in Westminster and expanding an aging outlet in Mount Airy.

In Eldersburg, the chain that operates 123 stores in Maryland, Virginia and Washington is moving into a 63,223-square-foot space on Londontowne Boulevard occupied by Giant since 1996.

"It just happened that we had a nice store that met our guidelines at a good location," said Craig M. Muckle, Safeway manager of public affairs. "This is essentially a store Giant had to divest and we sought it. It is a great business opportunity and we think Giant was quite successful here."

When international food retailer Royal Ahold NV purchased Giant Food Inc. for $2.7 billion, it agreed to sell 10 stores in Maryland and Pennsylvania to keep supermarket prices competitive.

Richfood Holdings Inc. is buying the Westminster Martin's, which will become a Metro Food Market. The sale of the Eldersburg Giant to Safeway Inc. became final Friday and Giant ran the store through the close of business Saturday.

The Eldersburg store will employ about 100, about a quarter of whom will come from Giant. Hiring interviews began Monday.

Employees were restocking the store for its opening today, said Greg Ten-Eyck, spokesman for Safeway's Eastern Division.

"We will be making it look like a Safeway, with our signages and decor package," said Muckle. "The layout will be largely the same."

The grocer will immediately launch its Tapes for Education program in Eldersburg, helping schools purchase computers and other supplies. Safeway will accept receipts from the Eldersburg Giant, dated between Sept. 13 and Sunday.

In Mount Airy, the grocer plans to expand at its location in Mount Airy Shopping Center. The 18-year-old store is more than 20,000 square feet shy of the chain's 55,000-square-foot prototype, said Muckle.

"After 20 years, a store really needs upgrading," he said. "Sometimes, it is aesthetics and other times it is more significant, such as redesign."

RTC Safeway might tear down the Mount Airy store and rebuild in the same shopping center, he said.

"We are still very interested in the Mount Airy market and commited to the area," Muckle said.

Plans before the town planning commission detail an 18,000-square-foot expansion for the store, but have not received approval.

In Westminster, Safeway broke ground Oct. 21 at College Square, a shopping center at Route 140 and College Drive. Safeway will occupy about 55,000 of the 90,000 square feet in the $8 million shopping center set to open in late spring.

Safeway will be the first supermarket to open in the Westminster area in six years. Ten years ago, Safeway closed its east-side store in Crossroads Square on Route 140. Since then, Westminster's west-side population has grown. Its residents account for roughly half of the city's population of more than 16,000.

Pub Date: 10/28/98

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