Royal Farms, a 'fixture' in Campus Hills neighborhood, closes after three decades

The Royal Farms store off Providence Road in the Campus Hills community of Towson closed Monday.
The Royal Farms store off Providence Road in the Campus Hills community of Towson closed Monday. (Rachael Pacella/Baltimore Sun Media)

A Royal Farms convenience store along Providence Road closed Monday, after 30 years in business, and some residents are wondering what will replace the "fixture in the neighborhood" of Campus Hills.

The closure comes after the building's owner, DeChiaro Limited Partnership, and its tenant, Royal Farms, failed to reach a long-term lease.


"We were not able to negotiate that new lease with them so that's why we ended up having to close the store," Royal Farms spokeswoman Brittany Eldredge said.

Royal Farms was renting the location, which was small compared to most Royal Farms stores, on a month-to-month basis, she said.


Eldredge said the Baltimore-based chain wanted to make improvements to the location in Campus Hills, but was unwilling to do so without a multi-year lease.

Towson's representative on the Baltimore County council will introduce a resolution for a contested development at York Road and Bosley Avenue this October.

Drake Zaharris, an attorney for the building's owners DeChiaro Limited Partnership, said his clients are selling the property, which they have owned since 1965.

"They don't want to enter into a long-term lease because they're selling the property and a new owner might not want that store there," he said.

The property is being offered privately, Zaharris said, adding that the Royal Farms building is being sold jointly with an office building that is also on the half-acre site.

For some Campus Hills residents, the sudden closure has been a disappointment, and has also raised concerns about the property's future.

"It's just such a fixture," said Wesley Wood.

People would frequent the store on their way to a nearby pool, Wood said, and the store seemed to be busy.

According to Eldredge the store was one of the first 25 operated by Royal Farms, which now has 175 stores in the region. Eldredge did not have an exact opening date for the location, but she and several community members said the store was there at least three decades.

Tamee Bollinger, a former member of the Campus Hills Community Association board, said the store is already missed by residents who needed to make quick stops for items such as milk or snacks.

"There's no other store on the way out of our community, and it was such a convenience," she said.

"It's just such a fixture in the neighborhood, and a lot of people are very sad about it," said Susan Goodman, the communication representative for the Campus Hills Community Association.

Councilman David Marks, who represents the neighborhood, sent DeChiaro Limited Partnership a letter March 6 asking for a meeting to discuss the property's future.


"There is considerable apprehension about what might replace the convenience store, and I believe the community prefers a lower-impact use that is sensitive to neighbors," Marks said in the letter.

About two years ago, Royal Farms explored the idea of building a larger store at the site, Marks said, but nothing ever came to fruition. Marks said adding a gas station to that site would require a special exception because the site is not zoned for fuel pumps. He is against making such a change, he said.

"I will not support a gas station at that corner," he said.

Goodman said residentshave said they would like the Royal Farms to be replaced by a similar convenience store. She added that she was surprised by the store's closure, and heard about the possibility less than a week before the location closed.

"Nobody knew this was going to happen, and we suddenly turned around and it did," she said.

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