Valu Food Supermarkets, a Baltimore-based grocery store chain, has hired 180 workers in the past three weeks as it gets ready to open its 17th store Saturday, continuing its rapid expansion.
"We are always looking for opportunities," said President Louis Denrich, adding there are plans to open two more stores within 18 months.
The store at the North Plaza Mall at the intersection of Joppa Road and Perring Parkway is the fifth store that Valu Food has opened in the past two years, Mr. Denrich said. During that period, annual sales for the chain have grown to about $180 million from $130 million, he said.
Mr. Denrich said the chain's low prices and tight controls on costs have allowed it to cut into competitors' business. "It really is a flat market," he said. "When you open up new stores, [new business] has to come from somewhere."
The new North Plaza store, which boosts the company's employment to 1,300, has 41,000 square feet and cost about $2 million to renovate and expand, Mr. Denrich said. It takes the place of a Basics food store that had left the center, he said.
The store will feature a fresh bakery department and a delicatessen. The store will also be practicing "mass merchandising," which involves using large displays and stacking products up to the ceiling, Mr. Denrich said.