Showing posts with label grocery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grocery. Show all posts

Friday, May 25, 2018

MOM's Organic Market in Upper Rock to open June 1

The long-awaited opening of MOM's Organic Market at 10 Upper Rock Circle is almost here. It will open June 1, 2018, and the local chain will be holding an opening weekend celebration at the store from June 1 to June 3.

Officially designated as MOM's Gaithersburg store, the market is located in JBG Smith's Upper Rock development, which is within the city limits of Rockville. A historic office building was torn down to clear the way for this new retail center, which is convenient from both the adjacent Gables Upper Rock apartments and I-270 (just take the Shady Grove Road exit and head east, and it's the first thing you see on the right past the interchange [you'll see the CVS Pharmacy, which is in the same shopping center]).

Opening weekend will include tastings of local foods, kids' activities and giveaways. You'll also have the opportunity to meet representatives from environmental organizations like Waterkeepers Chesapeake and Trash Free Maryland, and staff from Montgomery Parks' Brookside Gardens.

The new MOM's will feature only the highest-quality organic produce, an all-organic vegetarian eatery called Naked Lunch, sustainable insect proteins, a Backyard Beekeeping section with everything you need for this important environmental activity, free car-charging stations, only sustainable seafood (including canned tuna), a wide selection of GOTS-certified organic and sustainable clothing, a liquid bulk section featuring goods like vinegar and honey, a recycling center that can handle household items like cell phones and household batteries, and a large Health and Wellness department, where you can find everything from bulk organic herbs to bulk soap, bath salts and body scrubs.

MOM's does not carry any products that use cartoon characters to target children, and this location will be no exception. 5% of the grand opening sales will be donated to Waterkeepers Chesapeake. MOM's is one of the more on-target tenant choices in Upper Rock, considering that the city envisioned the development as a community for the "creative class" of young professionals. It sounds like they have a wider variety of merchandise than Whole Foods, as well.

Monday, September 28, 2015

New York Mart opens in Rockville (Photos)

It's been a long road, but New York Mart has finally opened in the College Plaza shopping center at MD 355 and College Parkway. I was out of town for a large part of Saturday when it opened. But Rockville City Councilmember Tom Moore was among the first day's customers, and sent several photos (below). I went by yesterday and found the parking lot had many more cars than it has had on a Sunday since Magruder's closed, and quite a few people going into the store.

Hours will be 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM, and as you can see in the bottom photo, there will be a prepared food section in addition to groceries.

Top: Robert Dyer
Bottom 3 photos: Tom Moore

Monday, January 21, 2013


The local media - with the latest example being a Washington Post article I read online this morning - is doing what it does best: controlling the narrative.  In this case, the issue is the closure announcement by local grocery chain Magruder's, including their Rockville store.

The "official" narrative promoted by this article and others, is that the demise of Magruder's was simply a matter of time and a "failed business model."

Can I take a moment to debunk the bunk?

First of all, these arguments are applying a national phenomenon of "big box vs. Mom-and-Pop" that simply doesn't apply in Montgomery County.

The Montgomery County Council has done everything in its power to keep big box stores - grocery giant Walmart above all - out of Montgomery County. There are only a handful of Target stores in the county.  And I believe the Wheaton Plaza Costco will be only the second in the county when it opens.

Snider's Super Foods in Silver Spring is still operating, and is in a similar business position to Magruder's. So if it's just a matter of big box stores, why is Snider's still going?

The facts are that the biggest pressures on smaller companies in Montgomery County are coming not from big box stores, but from developers and our own elected officials.

Property taxes are the highest in county history. As I mentioned the day Magruder's confirmed it was going out of business, the Rockville Magruder's was one of the specific businesses most demonstrably, and memorably, hurt by the devastating county Energy Tax. Does anybody think a 5¢ bag tax helps grocery store profits, and encourages customers to buy more?

As I also mentioned, the chain's flagship county store in Rockville Town Center was condemned and demolished - for private developer profit - by the City of Rockville a decade ago.  Personally, I don't believe the chain ever fully recovered from that blow.

Our county's congested roads are no secret.  But what you rarely hear from local media is the real impact the costs of driver hours, and fuel burnt, have on the price of goods you buy in Montgomery County. Our elected officials' failure to build the highways planners put on the books decades ago is directly responsible for the resulting costs and gridlock.

Compete on price with bigger chains? Try doing that under the county-specific financial burden described above.

But wait, there's more.  The shopping centers where most Magruder's stores are located are now eligible for rezoning for mixed-use redevelopment, under the new zoning code the council rammed through over citizen objections last year.

And, of course, Rockville rewrote its own city zoning code in recent years, making it more developer-friendly.

In fact, while Snider's is still in business in Silver Spring, the county and state have already quietly drawn up plans to redevelop the shopping center and neighborhood around it.

What happens then?

Rents go up and lease terms shorten. Magruder's is not commenting publicly, so I don't know the specific terms of its leases in Rockville and elsewhere.

But I do know that a Giant in Bethesda that once held a 99-year lease on its store signed a new one that expires a few years from now.

Did they do that because of big, bad Sam Walton? No. They did it because Ahold bought the Giant chain, doesn't have the emotional attachment to the brand Izzy Cohen did, and the store's shopping center was bought by Capital Properties. What did the new owner want to do? Redevelop the site as mixed-use under the then-pending zoning rewrite. So they did what? You guessed it - raise the rent, shorten the terms.

You can't tell me the College Plaza shopping center isn't being considered for future redevelopment by every developer in town, much like every strip mall up and down the Pike, Veirs Mill Road, and even Woodley Gardens. Didn't Giant quietly close at Wooten and Hurley a few months back? Does anyone really believe that site will be a grocery store 10 years from now?  Much like Woodley Gardens shopping center, developers are already rubbing their hands together at the thought of the unlimited possibilities.

Finally, there's the fact that Montgomery County forbids grocery stores from selling beer and wine, cutting off a significant profit engine for smaller grocery chains in particular.

The local media spin is understandable. Divert attention to a tired punching bag like Walmart. Divert attention away from the developers and politicians actually responsible for the demise of so many local chains and businesses.

No diversion in the world can mask the pathetic business environment in Montgomery County, nor the tax burden, failed leadership and crippled transportation system that ensure it stays that way.