Gourmet grocer to set up shop in downtown Catonsville

More than two decades ago, downtown Catonsville’s only grocery store closed, leaving no replacement in its wake.

Today, Catonsville residents Patrick Baldwin and Dan Zakai are working to bring groceries back to downtown with a new gourmet grocery store called 818 Market.

Named for its address, 818 Frederick Road, the market is scheduled to open sometime later this year. Construction will start in March, Baldwin said.

“I think everyone who lives in Catonsville has said, ‘Wow, it would be really nice if there was a local marketplace I could go and get the best foods,’” Baldwin said, noting that people now drive to Route 40 or to Wegmans in Columbia.

“We did used to have a grocer on Frederick Road,” said Teal Cary, director of the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce. “I know people have missed it.”

The new store will feature groceries and fresh produce, a butcher, a cheese shop and grab-and-go sushi offerings, Baldwin said.

The store’s concept is modeled after Graul’s in Towson, Santoni’s in Glyndon and Eddie’s in Roland Park, Baldwin said in an email.

“There’s a market niche here,” Baldwin said. “If you fill it, people will come and support local brands, as opposed to big national chains.”

Baldwin and Zakai, a veterinarian who also owns the neighboring Frederick Road Veterinary Hospital, bought the building in the fall of 2017 for a price of $1 million, property records show.

818 Market will occupy the whole building, a space of around 9,000 square feet.

“We love the building,” Baldwin said. “It’s an old, historic building and it’s beautiful.” Records show the building was constructed in 1935.

It previously housed Agent Upcycle, which closed before the two bought the building, as well as JAMs Attic, a consignment boutique that closed its doors at the end of January.

In late December, the shop announced on its Facebook page that it would be closing because “the building was sold in October and the new owners have other plans for the space.” Another post said the shop is seeking a new space.

JAMs Attic owner Juanita Marquess said that she was forced to leave the space “with little notice,” saying in a Facebook message that it “has not been the best of experiences.”

“I think Juanita has a great business and I wish her a lot of success,” Baldwin said in response to her remarks.

Baldwin said 818 Market will require a staff of “several dozen people” to operate, and that they hope to put together a team of employees over the next six months.

Parking will be available and will be combined with space outside Zakai’s veterinary building next door, he said.

Though it is billed as a “gourmet” market, Baldwin said they hope to keep prices low by sourcing goods locally.

Cary said she hopes that the store will complement, rather than compete with, Rooster + Hen, a small local grocery store on Frederick Road, about two miles west of downtown Catonsville.

Cary praised the owners of 818 Market for investing in their home community.

“I think Catonsville should always be excited about Catonsville residents who turn around and invest right here in the Catonsville community,” Cary said, praising Zakai for investing in a second business.

“He continues to invest here — that’s huge,” Cary said. “He will take pride in it because he lives here.”

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