When Weis Markets signed on as a tenant for the former Super Fresh location in Towson Place in June, Director of Public Relations Dennis Curtin said the company took over a building "with a roof, four walls, and a floor."
After nine months of renovations, Weis' 15th Baltimore-area location is nearly complete with a grand opening scheduled for the morning of Sunday, March 3.
"This is our biggest weekend ever in Maryland," Curtin said Monday before a tour of the new store. "We're going to open two stores, here in Towson and the second one in Woodlawn."
Curtin said the company invested $7 million in each location, where he said they plan to bring the company's signature mix of service, variety and value to a Towson area they believe is a good match for the company's value.
"The Baltimore metro area isn't exactly a new market for us," Curtin said. "As far as this market goes, this is the best retail location in Towson. It's been a great retail location for about five decades. It's familiar to people. It's a densely populated area. It's very diverse. It's just a great place to open a supermarket."
The new Weis location at 1238 Putty Hill Avenue in Towson was vacated in 2011 by Super Fresh, which closed several stores in the area after filing bankruptcy. The Super Fresh location in Dulaney Plaza across from the Towson Town Center mall now houses a Fresh Market grocery store.
By the time the store is ready for its unveiling Sunday, Curtin said several aspects will be in place that customers in Towson will find attractive.
The store will cut its own meats, prepare its own baked goods and roll its own sushi — all of which distinguish it from some local competitors, Curtin said. Additionally, the store will feature locally grown produce and its own quality store brand, which Curtin said borders on gourmet but costs 20 percent less than name brands.
Curtin also said Weis will seek the EPA's GreenChill certification, a designation given to stores which reduce the amount of refrigerants needed to cool food and thus, reduce greenhouse gas output.
Curtin said this certification could be achieved within six months with the use of the most up-to-date storage and display systems and the practice of keeping dairy products department such as cheeses and yogurts in closed-off cases instead of cooled open-air displays.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which begins at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Towson location, Curtin said $62,000 will be donated to community organizations from the two stores. The Maryland Food Bank will receive $50,000 total from the two stores, and the Towson location will make donations to Calvert Hall College High School, Loyola Blakefield High School and Immaculate Heart of Mary School, among others.
"If you're going to do business in a location, you need to give back to the community," Curtin said.
Charles White, center store manager for the Towson location, said that community engagement is central to Weis' mission.
"We really put a big emphasis on customer service, and really driving the community relations, and bringing the community in as part of our family," White said.