Wolf Camera plans to expand to region

Atlanta-based chain to open 60-80 stores in Baltimore-D.C. area

May 26, 2000|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

LAS VEGAS - Wolf Camera, an Atlanta-based photography retail chain, plans to expand with 60 to 80 new stores in the Baltimore-Washington region over the next five years, the company said yesterday.

The privately owned, 700-store chain hopes to open the first new stores in the fall, Steve Gunning, director of real estate for Wolf Camera's eastern region, said during the International Council of Shopping Centers meeting here this week.

Real estate brokerage firm KLNB Inc. is working with Wolf to find sites between 1,500 and 6,000 square feet in power centers or grocery-anchored neighborhood shopping centers.

The chain has about 25 stores in the market, acquired from Dark Room and CPI/Fox Photo. It will convert those to Wolf Camera stores.

The company, started in 1974, is marketing itself as an alternative to mass merchants. It hopes to compete by saturating the market and offering special discounts and benefits on photofinishing products and services.

The stores offer on-site, one-hour photo labs, digital imaging, alteration, restoration and scanning, video prints and graphic design. Consumers can also transfer photos to floppy disks and make reprints and enlargements without negatives. Most stores sell cameras, camcorders and accessories.

Other retailers coming to Baltimore include two new tenants at projects being developed by the Cordish Co.

The Baltimore-based developer announced a lease with Delta Grill, the first of four new restaurants planned for Power Plant Live, the entertainment-oriented project at the former Brokerage at 34 Market Place. The Cajun-style restaurant, now with one location in Manhattan, will seat 175 and feature outdoor seating, an open kitchen and some live music, said Reed Cordish, a Cordish vice president. The restaurant, selected from about 10 candidates, will open in late summer, he said.

He is working on bringing in three more restaurants and smaller food and specialty shops to add to the current lineup of bars and nightclubs - Have a Nice Day Cafe, which is open; Bar Baltimore, which will open in the summer; Howl at the Moon; and the Lava Lounge/930 Club, which will move from its current spot at the former Chart House.

"The project is very hot right now," Cordish said. "Tenants are selling us on why they should go there and why they fit into the mix."

The Cordish Co. also said it has nearly completed its Towson Circle retail center in the former Hutzler's department store.

Trader Joe's, which features upscale, prepared health food to go, will open within three months on the lower level between Pier 1 and Barnes & Noble.

The California-based chain has locations in Bethesda and Tysons Corner, Va.

David Cordish, president of the Cordish Co., said he is talking with several restaurant operators and expects to sign one to operate in Towson Circle's remaining space.

"Trader Joe's is going to generate more traffic than any tenant in Towson," Cordish said. "They draw like crazy."

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