Grocery store's opening awaited

Residents in Savage elated about Weis on horse track site

January 04, 1999|By Jamal E. Watson | Jamal E. Watson,SUN STAFF

North Laurel and Savage residents will finally have a neighborhood supermarket to call their own.

The 53,088-square-foot Weis supermarket, slated to open early next month at U.S. 1 and Gorman Road in Laurel, has residents elated.

"I think it's a great idea that the market is going to open soon," said Savage resident Barbara Fourney, 39. Fourney, who has lived in the area for six years, says a nearby supermarket is long overdue.

"This will be more convenient to residents who live in Savage," she said.

For years, Fourney and other Savage residents drove several miles to shop in Laurel. Only two convenience stores operate in the small town of Savage -- a WaWa and a family-owned grocery store called Pops.

"In recent years, the Savage Community Association and the Bowling Brook Farms neighborhood association expressed interest in a convenient, full-service store in North Laurel. Now they are getting one," said Weis Markets President Norman S. Rich in a statement released from the company's Pennsylvania-based headquarters.

The supermarket, being built by the Dallas-based Lincoln Property Co., developers of the former Freestate race-track next to CarMax in North Laurel, is in its final stage of construction, said Dennis V. Curtin, spokesman for Weis Markets.

Lincoln Property announced plans for the supermarket in April, and began building on the 12-acre site in July. The property had remained undeveloped since the horse track closed in 1989.

Curtin said residents can expect a Weis supermarket with a 70-foot delicatessen, a pizza kitchen and express checkout, a large bakery and a pharmacy.

He said the Weis also will include a 400-item produce section with a fresh-cut fruit and salad bar, and an in-store bank branch.

Area business leaders say the supermarket would boost business throughout the area.

"From the beginning, we've been encouraging other retailers to come to the area. It increases consumer awareness," said Val Brown, manager of communications for CarMax, the 93,000-square-foot used-car "superstore" next to the supermarket site.

Brown said CarMax recently bought 10 acres of the Freestate property for expansion. He said a Laurel Toyota dealer several miles north plans to move its site to U.S. 1 this year.

Tom Flynn, president of the North Laurel Community Association, said the association entered into a covenant with Lincoln Property that restricted what could be built on the site: no pornography stores, carwashes, cellular phone towers, flea markets, kennels, freestanding liquor stores or bus terminals. When an agreement was made with Weis Markets, Flynn said, the association supported it.

"We wanted a very high-class business community site," said Flynn. "We're happy that we have a vital service that will improve the area and attract other businesses to Route 1."

Since 1990, the population of the North Laurel-Savage area has increased from 34,158 to 41,787. The opening of the U.S. 1 store in North Laurel will mark the third Weis supermarket in the Laurel area.

Weis Markets operates 159 stores in six states. During the next 15 months, it plans to build 11 stores, expand 11 stores and remodel seven. It is building a second Weis supermarket in Glen Burnie and is planning to build additions to stores in Pasadena, Waverly Woods and Odenton.

Pub Date: 1/04/99

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