Magruder's supermarket in Rockville is closing, perhaps at the end of the month. Both Rockville Patch and Gaithersburg Patch are reporting store employees have told them Magruder's Rockville and Gaithersburg locations will close.
The corporate headquarters of the longtime, local grocery chain has not publicly addressed the issue as of press time.
If true, this is a sad day. As a lifelong county resident, I have memories of several Magruder's stores, including the one in Northwest Washington.
What caused this? It sounds like a companywide problem. But with Rockville customers so critical to the chain, it's worth considering its Rockville-specific troubles in recent years.
I think the condemnation of the Town Center location played a role. The City never was able to relocate Magruder's in the poorly-designed supermarket space in Rockville Town Square. In fact, no chain wanted the space until Dawson's Market finally agreed to move in.
But there was also the county's ill-advised, punitive Energy Tax. Magruder's actually had to reduce its interior lighting at one point (so did Target) to save money. Like many county businesses, the Energy Tax devastated stores during an already-difficult recession.
As disgraceful as the County Council's Energy Tax is, there are also the factors of the newer Giant nearby on the Pike, and increasing costs.
Perhaps the company will explain the cause, but these are just some of my thoughts.
If Magruder's indeed closes, it is yet another Hot Shoppes, G.C. Murphy, Chuck E. Cheese, Century Ford, etc., etc. loss for Rockville - and the DC area in general.