"I can fully understand the need for some kind of anchor tenant," even if it would be a grocery store near Eddie's, she said. "I would hope there would be a way we could support both."

Like family

Above all, the meeting pointed up how beloved Eddie's is and how much a part of the firmament of Charles Village it has become since it opened in 1962.

"Everybody here is like family," longtime employee Charles Lucas told the developers.

"It's like being in Mayberry. You know everybody," echoed store manager Ron Fader.

Jerry Gordon, owner of the family business, said he doesn't want to move to the planned mixed-use development, because his store is a fixture at its current location and has its own identity.

"Our market is the neighborhood," Gordon, 65, said after the 90-minute meeting. "We're there for the people who want the Village, the walkers."

He said the store has survived other supermarkets opening in the area in the past two decades, including a Safeway in south Charles Village and a Giant Food store in Waverly. But he said a grocer on the nearby lot would be too close for comfort. and is grateful that the community agrees.

"I think the developers got an earful tonight that they weren't expecting," he said.

Handing a cashier her debit card two days later, Gudenius questioned the need for a competing grocery store so close to Eddie's.

"They could open a drugstore there," she said. "A pharmacy would be fine."

Meanwhile, retired builder John Griffin, 74, was standing on line at the crowded deli counter.

"This store is wonderful," he said. 'It's so convenient. It's got every little thing."

"Hi, how are you?" retired Hopkins employee Selma Preston, 67, asked an employee, whom she recognized.

"I come here because it's really close and they five a 10 percent discount to students," said Burcu Atay, 20, of Turkey, who is majoring in International Studies at Hopkins.

Steady business

Eddie's draws 1,000 customers a day on average, said general manager Howard Glazer, who was taking inventory of bakery items.

He said many regulars come in the morning to eat bagels and drink coffee in a small cafe area by the front window.

"It's a great store for discussion," Glazer said. And he said store owner Gordon and his wife, Darlene, are very involved in the day-to-day operations, even sleeping there during 2010's twin snowstorms.

Despite shoulder surgery the day before, Gordon called briefly March 15 to check in with Glazer.

Glazer, who was worked for Eddie's for 16 years, said he realized how much of a family the store is after he had heart bypass surgery.

"Customers would call me at home and send me cards," he said. "It helped me recover."