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Anne Tyler

From familiar to fancy, Baltimore's retail landscape shifts

Now I really feel old.

A friend of mine used to call the grocery store at the Rotunda the "Flirt Giant." And it was true, back when I moved here about 25 years ago: You got the sense people were trolling the aisles there for more than Lean Cuisines.

It was bad enough that over the years the Flirt Giant aged out — if there were still shoppers on the prowl there, they also were probably on walkers. The Rotunda itself was sagging a bit, slowly some of its smaller shops, but as long as the Giant anchored one end and the movie theater the other, the mall seemed to still have a heartbeat.

But then, a week and a half ago, even the Giant left, and it feels like...