Experienced retailer revives convenience store


MUCH TO the delight of the community, the once-abandoned convenience store on Baltimore Street has reopened. Since June 25, Haresh Patel has managed the new 7 Star food store.

"I like the store," said Ray Mays of Savage, a longtime customer of the previous store, a Wawa Food Market. "It's what we wanted in the first place."

The new store closes at 9 p.m. The Wawa had stayed open all night, and disturbances sometimes erupted there. The new store sells cigarettes, candy, ice cream, emergency supplies, newspapers and pet food. Snack foods, beverages, doughnuts, coffee and hot dogs also are available. Patel is learning the likes and dislikes of the community. He keeps a running list of customer requests near the cash register.

Patel is a long way from his native India. He left in 1983, after working for Union Carbide's sister company there for four years. He married his wife, Falgun, and in the 17 years since, he has worked mostly in retail food stores and pharmacies.

In Florida, he had his own store. He moved to Maryland 11 years ago to join Southland Corp.

After working for Southland and a major pharmacy chain, he was ready for a change. His opportunity came by way of a cola vendor, who mentioned that the former Wawa's in Savage was available.

Although he lives in North Laurel with this wife and two sons, Shalin and Ankur, he was unfamiliar with Savage. He took a look around, researched the area and talked to vendors, who gave him an idea of how much merchandise the former store had bought and sold. He was hooked.

After three months of arranging the financing and the lease and ordering supplies, he opened the store at the end of last month.

He's working, he said, roughly the same number of hours as before - 60 or more a week - but it bothers him less.

"That's fine when it's my own [store]," he said.

He said that none of this would be possible without the help of his family, who helped him finance the store. "My family is supportive. Otherwise you can't do it."

Good luck to the newest member of the Savage business community.

Vacation Bible school

Savage United Methodist Church is holding its vacation Bible school for children from 6:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 7 to 11. Information: the church office, 301-805- 0891.

The church bids farewell to Rebecca Emig, director of youth ministries. She leaves her position at the end of this month to serve another congregation closer to her seminary.

Laurel Woods departures

Laurel Woods Elementary sadly says goodbye to a number of staff members who will be missed: Kelly Meyers, Kelly Callaway, Alexis Worchessky, Rebecca Oates, Lisa Katzen, Nina Birenburg, Alison Batman, Bob Schwab, Cathy McCarthy, Debbie Stvan, Susan Callaway and April Obermeyer.

A special thank-you and farewell to Joan Lerner, who has served the school for 17 years.

League intern

John Lipka a senior at Hammond High School, spent two months this year interning with the League of Women Voters. He met local politicians and attended meetings. One of his significant contributions to the community as an intern was proofreading the league's voting guide, a nonpartisan listing of the qualifications of local politicians.

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