By Nick Ferrara
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
The closing of Mars Supermarkets after serving the Baltimore area for 73 years leaves customers and local businesses without the family owned grocery store they are used to having in their community.
Since Mars closed its doors for the final time on July 31, customers were forced to find alternatives for grocery shopping, but this affects more than just former customers.
On York Road in Timonium there is still no business that has moved into the vacant building where Mars once was.
At this same location, Dominick’s Pizza has felt the effects of having fewer people in the strip mall.
“Walk-in traffic has come to a screeching halt,” owner Eric Trockenbrot said. “A lot of customers used to come in, order what they want, then walk over to Mars and be back for their food in 15 or 20 minutes.”
Along with losing business because there are not as many people walking past the restaurant, Trockenbrot also felt it was convenient to have a grocery store next-door for his own sake.
“If I ran out of something, I would run over there and get it,” Trockenbrot said. “I also never had to order certain things that I didn’t need in bulk.”
In addition to some businesses being negatively affected by the closing of Mars stores, many other grocery stores have the opportunity to bring in customers with nowhere to shop.
According to Nancy Hafford with the Towson Chamber of Commerce, apartment complexes have been opening up in the area which increases the need for more grocery stores.
“A lot of grocery stores are coming in,” Hafford said. “Whole Foods is coming in, Safeway took over a closing store on York Road and has been very successful, and Trader Joe’s will stay in our community.”
Whenever a business has to close its doors, there is an effect and an impact that it leaves on the community, she said.
“Anytime a business closes in our community we don’t like to see that,” Hafford said. “We especially don’t like to see that happen when it is a long standing family owned business.”
When Mars announced it was going out of business, it also said that Weis Markets would be moving into five of the company’s 13 locations, two of which are in Dundalk, and one each in Essex, Arbutus, and Carney.
When customers realize that they have to find a new grocery store to shop, many of them will choose the closest alternative, like Deb Terry from Timonium.
“I used Mars more for quick items that I just had to run in and pick up,” Terry said. “I find that there are a lot of options so I was not devastated to see it go, but many of my friends were unhappy.”
One of the closest grocery stores to the Mars that closed on York Road is the ShopRite of Timonium.
According to ShopRite of Timonium assistant manager David Loayza, there has been a visible increase in customers since Mars closed.
“The store has increased in total sales since the closing of Mars by 19 percent,” Loayza said. “To put it in perspective, there has been close to 500 more total purchases per day.”