Perry Hall Square Anticipates Giant Food Foot Traffic

The return of a large grocery store could bring more customers to surrounding businesses.

For more than a year, the former location at remained vacant.

That's expected to change this week, as the plans to open its doors to customers, as well as more than 100 employees. For some surrounding businesses, it's a long-anticipated improvement, accompanied by the hope of more foot traffic.

Are you planning to shop at the new grocery store? Do you plan on shopping more at Perry Hall Square Shopping Center? Tell us in the comments.

"I still have customers coming in and asking, 'When did you open up?'" said Gregory Dopkowski, manager of on Ebenezer Road, around the corner from the new Giant. "This store has been open six years."

Dopkowski said make it even harder to draw new customers.

To compensate for the Superfresh vacancy, businesses at the shopping center had received temporarily discounted rent—which will end with Giant's grand opening.

"We're hoping the new store helps. We'll see," Dopkowski said, adding that he plans to add "Ace Hardware" signs to the loading dock doors, within view of Giant's entrance.

Maurizio Illiano, owner of , adjacent to the Giant, describes his business as "steady, but not great."

"We hope people stop by and get to know us," Illiano said, adding that several Giant employees in training have already visited his restaurant for lunch.

on Belair Road, in front of the Giant parking lot, has also already experienced more traffic from Giant employees, according to marketing director Valerie Wilson.

"We definitely have a good relationship with the people who work over there, and we've given them a lot of coupons," Wilson said.

Giant management was not immediately available to comment on the anticipated impact of the new store. Company officials, however, confirmed the planned grand opening celebration was on schedule for Aug. 23, between 5-8 p.m.

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Mike Fisher August 21, 2012 at 08:39 PM
We don't need more food stores and the history of attempts in the area proves that. You want to bring people back to this shopping center, it needs something no one else nearby has or, in the case of movie theatres, cheaper prices than the Avenue. I only know of one Go-Kart track around here and it's on Pilaski Highway. Perry Hall has tons of kids, so if you want to bring people back, I think the answer is family fun, not food stores. A lot of kids around here, so why not take advantage of that instead of trying repeatedly to force another food store down people's throats?
Mike Fisher August 21, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Why not turn that area into a recreation type center? Go Kart track outside and maybe a batting cage and a pitching game where you see how hard you can throw a baseball. This is taking advantage of the resurgence of the Orioles which will bring all those O's fans back to life? Inside, you could even have a batting cage or two. An indoor tennis court, racquetball courts, hell people still love to play badminton, so throw that in too. A medium sized video game arcade with a lot of new age video games that require a lot of movement such as with the Wii home video game system. People will build up a sweat and an appetite there which will bring more business to Chick-Fil-A, Outback and that italian store you guys were talking about. The place needs an uplifting and you do that by making it FUN! Especially in these times, people need a place in Perry Hall to go and have fun, kids and adults alike. What has happened to people's creativity when it comes to this shopping center? This stubbornness is why nothing catches on there anymore. Perry Hall needs more fun places. Think outside the box for once and then, you will see that shopping center come back to life again. Food stores aren't going to do it. It never has before and it won't now. Outside the box! Be creative! Something new and exciting!
Tracey August 21, 2012 at 09:25 PM
I don't know Mike, not everyone has disposable income to spend on go karts and movies. Everyone needs to buy groceries. If Giant has something different/better to offer over Safeway and Weis, I will gladly switch. I love the scan guns at the White Marsh Giant... that would be a big selling point for me. I'd much rather pack up my own groceries as I shop then just glide through the checkout.
Mike Fisher August 21, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I think people will spend money on fun. That Go-Kart track on Pilaski Highway has been there for decades and seems to be doing just fine. What's stopping such a rec center from being affordable? We shall see how this Giant does, but people will spend money on fun and entertainment especially family fun and entertainment. Perry Hall doesn't have any places like that, at least not that I'm aware of. The concept of "fun" seems to be fading away in society. People pay money to go to the very expensive movies at the Avenue, do they not? Movie theatres with lower prices that offer the same things will be attractive to people. People will always spend money on entertainment and fun. I don't think people have enough fun anymore. I think places like this are one big thing Perry Hall is missing. If this Giant fails, it's time to try something new.
dot bucharewicz August 21, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I have shopped at this center for years -- mainly, Ann Marie's Hallmark (rearly nice employees!) Rite Aid and Ace Hardward-so helpful as soon as you walk in the door. I am very happy to see a good quality food store in the center.
dot bucharewicz August 21, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Good News -- don't like seeing empty stores -- not good for business!
Mike Fisher August 21, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I don't know, Evets. Why reply to your posts when you just delete them? That's a better question. I'm not rich and I guess I give people too much credit to think someone would try to do something different for once. Anyways, don't bother replying to me if you're just going to delete your posts afterwards. All it does is confuse people reading the replies to your posts that aren't there.
Paul Amirault August 21, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Mr. Fisher, with all due respect for your opinions, a small business person or other investor has to put their money on the line. It is easy to be a backseat driver or Monday morning quarterback, but when it is your families future you are gambling with, we tend to fold a lot of hands.
Mike Fisher August 21, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Sure, I get it, but no one ever seems to fold their hand when it comes to grocery stores despite their continued failure one after the other. Doesn't seem like too wise of a business move to keep putting their money on the line for stores that fail over and over and over again, does it?
Paul Amirault August 21, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Mr. Fisher, a chain like Giant does not walk willy nilly into a decision like this, most small business people do, that is why they fail at very high rates. Does that mean Giant will succeed, of course not. But I will bet on Giant before I bet on a Go-Kart track. Especially if my money is on the line. Giant can stay the course for quite awhile.
You August 21, 2012 at 10:25 PM
The problem with Ace is that they are very expensive. I refuse to go to Ace unless it is a dire need and it is rush hour which makes me stay away from White Marsh. Example of over pricing: I bought a 12"X18" plastic container with little compartments for sorting nuts, bolts, and screws. At Ace it was $13.99. The day after I was in Loews and found the exact same container for $8.99. That is just one example of many I have found.
Mike Fisher August 21, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I mean, how many grocery stores have failed in that shopping center? At least three, right? Metro and there were two others at the Giant location that failed, right? So, how is it wise to keep investing your family's future in a type of store that has done nothing but fail in this location? Mostly, of course, due to the overwhelming popularity of Weis.
Paul Amirault August 21, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Also, unless one has put their family's future on the line, one has not walked in those shoes, you don't sleep well, I know.
Mike Fisher August 21, 2012 at 10:28 PM
..besides, I proposed much more than just a Go-Kart track. It's obvious that grocery stores do not succeed in this shopping center which tells me someone has to do something different. Maybe this Giant will be different, who knows?
Evets August 21, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Metro closed because the chain had financial problems. They closed all of their stores and restructured as Shopper's Food. SuperFresh is the only store that was where the Giant is opening. They also closed because of financial problems (I believe they closed all of their stores in Maryland) No need to reply...
Paul Amirault August 21, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Mr. Fisher, the difference is Giant is a huge machine, they have calculated exactly what this store will do in revenue. Do they make mistakes, yes. But they are not risking their families future, only corporate dollars.
Mike Fisher August 21, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Fair enough, but if Giant goes the way of the dodo as well, someone is going to have to step up and be brave who has the money to do it or this shopping center will be dead in 5-10 years. Perry Hall Lanes is probably going to be moving out of there in a couple years too because there's not enough business. I remember when that shopping center used to be full of stores and was always packed. Seems like a long time ago now. Someone is going to have to be brave and try something new or the shopping center won't survive.
Evets August 21, 2012 at 10:34 PM
I agree with you, Mr. Amirault. I have been in a position to invest what I consider to be substantial money as a partner in a small business. However, I just do not have the fortitude to do that. As a result, it is unlikely that I will ever be wealthy, but also unlikely that I will be poor. As you say, I would rather be able to sleep soundly.
Paul Amirault August 21, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Mr. Fisher, there is no question that Giant may fail. Behind the scenes, commercial centers like this give very favorable rent terms to the "anchor" stores in an attempt to fill the rest of the center. Terms that would not have been available to others. The owners know the rent will be paid and that is worth a discount to the owners.
Mike Fisher August 21, 2012 at 10:54 PM
I see. Time will tell as it always does, but if something other than Rite-Aid, Perry Hall Lanes and Outback doesn't pop up to start bringing more people around, it will be a sad day when there is no more shopping center there. Just a bunch of empty stores. I really don't see how a grocery store is going to bring people to that shopping center. The smaller one near Weis where blockbuster used to be doesn't get very much traffic, Weis gets it all and despite their continued success, it's not filling up the small cluster of stores next to it. Of course, the Liquor store isn't going anywhere and that Chinese food place seems to be doing ok, but other than that, it's mostly vacant over there. I don't know, there has to be something in demand in Perry Hall except grocery stores, right?
Mike Fisher August 21, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I've mentioned it before, but the biggest thing, IMO, that is destroying small businesses are stores like Walmart, BJ's and any store that decides it's going to sell everything and undercut everyone else. These superstores are the worst thing that could have happened to small businesses. Some survive, most don't, it seems. They get a lot of their goods made cheap in China, underpay their employees and treat them like crap described in one article on this page as "enslavement." http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/ Without superstores, small businesses would be doing just fine, but they are a monopoly at this point especially Walmart. Lower prices, but at what cost?
Stacey Schantz August 22, 2012 at 12:49 AM
I'll be shopping there. I love Giant, love the gas savings with Shell, and not having to deal with the White Marsh Mall parking lot/traffic will make it much easier for me. I have been so frustrated with grocery stores that I've been shopping in Abingdon. Pathetic, there should be a good grocery store near your home. We live in a huge community with many stores, all of which fail in comparison to Wegman's. Hoping that Giant lives up to its reputation at this location, if they do, they will gain me as a regular customer. We were at Brian Bunce today for haircuts for my boys. They were both excited abuot the new grocery store!!! Hope they are running good promotions for their opening weekend!
Tim August 22, 2012 at 03:13 AM
I do agree that the competition for grocery stores is, let's say tight. It's not that Giant can't grow a major share of the market, but they are going to have to really, really deliver - and consistently. Perhaps this is why the location is a test site for their new store designs. If it works here, it'll basically work just about anywhere.
Tim August 22, 2012 at 03:15 AM
I won't set foot in a Walmart. Well, maybe around Christmas time to buy cheap replacement lights, that's about it.
Tim August 22, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Yeah I'm impressed you schlep up there all the time. We get up there MAYBE once every 5-6 weeks.
Honeygo Hal August 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM
IMO, the biggest argument against "family fun" at that location is the rent. That is a main location that commands a premium rent and like it or not, the go-Kart track will just not generate the income-per-square-foot of a grocery store. That's why the one we have is on Pulaski Hwy. Beyond that, it is a prime location for Giant to test themselves against the Weis. That Weis is one of their premier stores in the area with items they do not carry in any other store. Personally, I like both Weis and Giant, but my wife frequents Giant because of the gas points - She usually gets enough points to get $1.50 or more off on gas. Bring it on - the competition will be good for us!
Mike Fisher August 22, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I was thinking more than a Go Kart track, just that in part outside. I think people would go to a rec center there that had indoor sports, a video game arcade and hell, an indoor pool too along with a Go-Kart track outside. At any rate, we'll see how Giant does against Weis. I expect Weis will do something to counter their arrival. They already give out lots of coupons, gas points and discounts for loyal shoppers. Weis will be hard to take down and I personally don't think they will let it happen. Giant should, at the very least, last longer than Super Fresh did.
Jeanne August 22, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Mike the Metro is where the YMCA is now on the other side of theparking lot. There is a Minature Gold course next to the M&T bank if you like golf.
Tracey August 25, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Well the parking lot was completely full today. No room for Go karts. The only reason I ever went to SuperFresh was if needed something I knew Weis didn't have and I was doing a quick-forgot-something trip. I just didn't like Superfresh, it seemed 'low end' to me, sort of like Food Lion. I really only use Weis to pickup one or two items a trip because of its convenient location to our house. We do the bulk of our shopping at Wegman's and Safeway. Giant will definitely take our business away from those two stores. Weis will probably still be the "stop and get a gallon of milk" store.
Tim August 25, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Yeah, Giant did themselves pretty well with the property/infrastructure they had to work with. They had some peppercorn bacon too, I hasn't noticed that anywhere in a while (or maybe my memory is bad) so that's what I'll be eating with my everything bagel tomorrow morning :)


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