A day after reports that Giant Food Inc. wants to open a supermarket at Mondawmin Mall, Henry Baines, president of the competing Stop Shop and Save grocery store there, pledged to stay at the West Baltimore shopping center "for another 23 years."
Baines said that despite what he called the Rouse Co.'s attempts to force him out to make way for the Giant store, he has a valid lease that will keep him at Mondawmin, which Rouse owns, well into the next century.
"They said that they wanted to put another supermarket there," Baines said. "I have a lease to be there another 23 years. The lease says they can't put another supermarket there bigger than the one we own.
"So of course they want me to leave. All of a sudden, for 21 years no one was interested in the city. Then all of a sudden, it's like David against Goliath."
In an article in The Sun yesterday, sources said Landover-based Giant Food was planning to build two stores in Baltimore, one at Mondawmin and the other on 6 acres in the 4600 block of Edmondson Ave., at the former home of an A. D. Anderson automobile dealership.
A Giant spokesman said yesterday that his company was not interested in getting into a spat with Baines.
"Giant is interested in the site, but only if the Rouse Co. and Mr. Baines reach some type of agreement," said Barry F. Scher, Giant's vice president of public affairs. "Giant will not force anyone out of a site to open a store."
Scher also said it was Giant's policy not to open a store in a shopping center that already had a supermarket.
Anthony Hawkins, a Rouse vice president, declined to comment, saying he wanted to talk to Baines.
The Stop Shop and Save at Mondawmin was one of five Farm Fresh stores Baines bought last year after they went into bankruptcy. Baines' chain includes 16 urban supermarkets with more than 800 employees in Baltimore. With more than $100 million in annual sales, it is thought to be the largest minority-owned supermarket chain in the country, company officials said.
Baines said no one should question his commitment to doing business in the city. "We have over a $10 million payroll in Baltimore City," he said.
Baines said that if Rouse tries to force him to leave Mondawmin, the company will have a fight on its hands. "They cannot do anything to put me out as long as I pay my rent," he said.
"We're not afraid of them. They're trying to push me around, but I know my rights. I have a legal lease, and I have a legal right to be there, whether they like it or not."
Pub Date: 5/30/97