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Eddie's of Roland Park turns 70, announces plans to renovate grocery stores

The 70th anniversary of any business is cause for celebration, especially for a small chain of neighborhood grocery stores competing in a supermarket world.

Eddie's of Roland Park isn't missing the opportunity to throw a party for the public — and to announce plans for renovations.

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The family-owned grocer, which started with the old Victor's market and has grown into two popular neighborhood stores on Roland Avenue and North Charles Street, is commemorating its milestone with special tastings and other events Oct. 12-18.

The late Victor Cohen opened Victor's in 1944 in the Roland Park Shopping Center, where the restaurant Petit Louis is now, and moved it in 1954 to be part of the original Eddie's store, 5113 Roland Ave. The name Eddie's came from Cohen's association with Eddie Levy's buying and advertising cooperative. The cooperative eventually dissolved, but the name Eddie's stuck.

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A second Eddies, 6213 N. Charles St., opened in 1992. Both stores, which are among the last independent grocery stores in Baltimore, are promoted as gourmet markets, with an emphasis on customer service and prepared foods.

Although Eddie's 70th anniversary is based on Victor's opening, that's a technicality to Cohen's daughter, Nancy, one of the few female supermarket CEOs in the mid-Atlantic region, who runs the two Eddie's stores with her son, Michael Schaffer.

"I always say we've been in Roland Park for 70 years," she said at the Charles Street store Sunday as she sampled chicken cacciatore made with Rao's of New York tomato sauce, one of the longtime brands carried by Eddie's.

"We're here to help Eddie's kick off its 70th anniversary," said Erik Schnaar, regional sales representative for Rao's, who made the dish for shoppers at a cooking stand with balloons. "They've been a very good trading partner. They've carried our products for years."

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Eddie's is promoting its anniversary with free anniversary cake and in-store events, including live music, sparkling wine and hors d'oeuvres on Friday at the Roland Avenue store, as well as an event featuring vendors including Zeke's Coffee, Gifford's ice cream, A Kirchmayr Chocolatier and Stonewall Kitchen on Saturday in the Charles Street store.

Eddie's isn't just celebrating its past, but its future. Cohen said she is planning to renovate the Charles Street store, hopefully starting early next year. The store will remain open, with renovations being done in sections, she said.

Longer-range plans are for renovating the Roland Park store, she said.

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