I had the opportunity to attend "Premiere Night," for the just opened Giant Food in Perry Hall. As I wandered the aisles of this new, well-designed and provisioned grocery store, I couldn't help but think back on the excitement I felt when—as a very young child—my mother took me to our local supermarket. As adults, grocery shopping has become just another chore on our list of things to do, for the most part. For youngsters however, supermarkets are a world of excitement.
Growing up in Fallston, Maryland during the 1970s, our closest grocery shopping options were located in nearby Bel Air. Of these, my mother's favorite choice was the Pantry Pride store. Located behind Harford Mall (where today's Best Buy is situated), the Pantry Pride was one brand within a larger grocery store company that had been in existence since the 1920s. Many folks will also remember "Food Fair" as the initial brand for most of the stores in this chain. My family had a long connection to these stores, since my father worked as the produce manager for the Food Fair on Harford Road in Parkville during the time when he was going to college and right after marrying my mom.
I vividly recall making the trip to Pantry Pride with my mother. The store had a classic green and white linoleum tile floor, and an extensive produce section. We would go up and down each aisle working through mom's grocery list. Eventually, I was allowed to help her reach for items off of the shelves and put them into the cart. At the end of each shopping trip (if I had behaved), a highlight of the day was the chance to play on the coin-operated kids rides in front of the store. I believe one was a horse and another was a fire truck.
As time went on, we finally got a grocery store of our own. Acme Markets opened a store in the Fallston strip mall right around 1980, as I recall. As of last year, the Acme store closed and was replaced by local chain Harvest Fare. While I remember this store quite well; going there even up to weekends at home from college, it doesn't hold the same special memories for me. Perhaps by the time it opened, the idea of going food shopping with mom didn't hold quite the same appeal for someone either approaching or in their teenage years.
Of course now that I'm older, I have a renewed interest in food shopping. This probably has something to do with the fact that I always seem to decide to go to the store when I haven't yet had a meal. For a hungry person, everything looks good while on a grocery shopping trip! My son Alex is still at the age where he seems to enjoy grocery shopping with me and my wife. Given how great Perry Hall's new Giant Food has turned out, I'm looking forward to having the chance to take him there for the first time, and add to his childhood memories of grocery store shopping.