Speakout

June 17, 2007

ISSUE: -- Wegmans Food Markets Inc. has submitted site plans for a 160,000-square-foot store that could open as early as 2009 at Snowden River Parkway and McGaw Road. Are you happy to see this mega-supermarket coming to Howard County?

Grocery competition will help consumers

Are you trying to stir up trouble? What possible reason could there be for not welcoming Wegmans to Columbia? I've been hoping for years that a new grocery store would break the choke-hold that Giant has on the Columbia area. Giant's high prices, poor inventory control and limited selection have increasingly frustrated me. I wouldn't mind paying a little more for my groceries if they were from a store with the extensive selection of Wegmans or Whole Foods. I say, "Bring `em all on!" The competition will be good.

Laurie Gift

Clarksville

Store's proposed location a concern

As the parent of a young child with several food allergies, I am very pleased about the prospect of both the Wegmans and Trader Joe's coming to the area. I look forward to the increase in food choices for my son, and I've heard many good things about Wegmans from family members who have visited the Hunt Valley store.

The proposed location for the Wegmans is a concern, though, since traffic in the area of Snowden River Parkway and McGaw Road seems to snarl easily already. Many tractor- trailers come southbound on Snowden River to turn left into the businesses located adjacent to Snowden Square shopping center, and there's heavy traffic bound for the box stores in that shopping center.

The traffic light for drivers attempting to turn left from northbound Snowden River onto McGaw isn't long enough for the traffic, and I have many times seen drivers still making the turn even after the light turns green for southbound Snowden River.

I hope that county planners are able to work closely with the developers of the new Wegmans site and the existing businesses to ensure that McGaw Road, Snowden River Parkway, and especially the intersection of the two roads are able to handle the increase in traffic in an area that is inadequate to handle the traffic load it already has.

Heather Tom

Ellicott City

It's about time we have a choice

I am extremely happy that Wegmans is coming to Howard County. With the upcoming additions of Trader Joe's, Harris Tweeter, and now Wegmans, citizens in this county will finally have a real choice of supermarkets. It's about time!

Teri Harrison

Columbia

Wegmans favored overwhelmingly

I have been to Wegmans stores, and they are wonderful. You can't help but love the abundant selection of top-quality products along with great service. Other stores will improve as a result, and our elected representatives need to understand that the consumers want Wegmans overwhelmingly. There is no need for protectionism.

John McGonigal

Columbia

Let us not forget the planning

I feel it is a great idea to have Wegmans come to Columbia, but again we are forgetting about planning. We must get back to being a planned community and the predictability it brings for residents and small businesses..

We see another big business getting the rules changed, and many in the community ask why. I think Calvin Ball, chairman of the County Council, was right when he said we must not welcome a big business, then lose lots of small ones. We are told that the villages centers have to reinvent themselves. That's OK, but we need to do this within a plan for downtown, the rest of Columbia and Howard County. Then we will be back to being a planned community.

Brian England

Columbia

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