A bid on the Ellicott City store by Supervalu Inc., which owns Shoppers, was accepted by the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., which owns Superfresh, in May and was upheld by a New York bankruptcy court on June 14. Superfresh has sold a dozen of the 25 Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C., stores that it is closing in July, garnering about $40 million.
"We are excited to become part of the Ellicott City community," Shoppers president Tim Lowe said in a statement released Tuesday, June 21. "We're looking forward to serving our new neighbors and friends with a special local focus."
According to Shoppers spokesman Steve Sylven, the company will offer employment to existing Superfresh employees at the Ellicott City location. Additionally, Shoppers plans to remodel the store. Located at 3301 North Ridge Road, the Shoppers will be open daily 6 a.m. to midnight.
Meanwhile, the Superfresh store in Elkridge, at 7280 Montgomery Road, was not successfully auctioned off in May, said A&P public relations representative Scot Hoffman.
That store will close by mid-July, a fact that worries Elkridge residents who have relied on the location for convenient grocery shopping.
Dave Grabowski, a board member of the Greater Elkridge Community Association, said the loss of Elkridge's main food store will be a blow to the community.
"We're going to have to go further for a grocery store," he said. "It's an inconvenience for all of us. Now I'll have to go from a mile away to six or seven miles away."
Currently, a Giant at Lynwood Square, about four miles from the Superfresh, is the only other grocery store that serves the Elkridge area. Though Columbia Gateway Overlook shopping center, which houses a Trader Joe's and Costco, has an Elkridge address, it is located near the edge of Columbia and is more than six miles —or approximately a fifteen minute drive down Route 1— from historic Elkridge.
Grabowski surmised that the loss of the Superfresh, which anchors the Elkridge Corners Shopping Center, might be a sign of what is to come.
"Will we lose more stores because of it?" he said. "If we don't have an anchor in that shopping center, will we start losing some of the other stores that depend on that anchor to bring people into the shopping center?
Elkridge resident Ro Douglass was at the Superfresh on Thursday, June 16, with her three children.
"We're disappointed," she said of Superfresh's closing. "It's unfortunate, because a lot of the other Superfresh stores have been bought out. It's surprising that nobody has been assertive and bought this one because the location is so good."
Nancy Couch, who has lived in Elkridge for 25 years, said the "convenience" of a nearby grocery store will be missed. She said that with the high price of gas, "it's going to be a hardship" to travel further to get groceries.
"We'll do the same thing we did before the Elkridge Corners Shopping Center came; go to Glen Burnie," she said. "There's nothing around here, this is it."
Couch said that while the location is convenient, the store is deteriorating, which might be a reason buyers haven't shown interest.
"It needs to be fixed up," she said, standing outside the store. "They put it in here and I don't think they've ever done anything to it since."