Eddie’s Market Owner Concerned About Possible Hopkins Grocer

The developer for the university owned lot at 33rd and St. Paul streets wants to include a grocery store in its plans.

(UPDATE 3:57 p.m.)—The developers of the Johns Hopkins University owned lot at 33rd and St. Paul streets are interested in including a grocery store in the planned development—an alarming proposal for a locally owned grocer across the street.

Jerry Gordon, owner of Eddie’s Market of Charles Village, said he recently learned during a conference call with Hopkins officials that developer Armada Hoffler was considering including a grocery store in its plans for the lot.

"If a big store came in there it would be very detrimental," Gordon said.

Eddie’s Market has been in Charles Village for 50 years, and Gordon said he’s worried that run could come to an end if a new store is developed across the street.

But Gordon, along with Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke and a group of Charles Village residents, are making their objections known to the university.

A letter from Gordon, residents and Clarke is expected to be delivered to Johns Hopkins University’s President Ronald J. Daniels office, explaining their concerns that including a grocery store in the proposed development could harm a neighborhood institution.

"I’m very optimistic because I’ve been assured by the people who live in Charles Village that they’re standing behind us 100 percent," Gordon said. 

Clarke said that she was surprised that Hopkins would even consider including a grocery store in that development because residents made it clear when Struever Bros., Eccles and Rouse initially proposed a mixed-use development on the site several year ago they did not want any retail that would hurt local businesses.

"[Gordon] realizes that he has to reach out to and fight for his business now, before anyone signs anything on the dotted line," Clarke said. 

The university announced earlier this month that it has selected Armada Hoffler as the developer of the lot, which has sat vacant for years since the university purchased the land after Struever Bros. was unable to bring the development to fruition.

In an emailed statement from Dennis O'Shea, a Hopkins spokesman, said the announcement of the project's development team was less than a month ago and that they will begin to discuss with the community project directions.

"The developer is exploring a wide variety of possible uses. These options will be discussed with many stakeholders, including the community, before decisions are made. All of us want this Charles Village site to be an asset to the community," O'Shea's statement reads.

Sean Tully February 22, 2013 at 08:19 PM
How come business owners are all for competition until it comes knocking at their door?
Bill Tiefenwerth February 23, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Jerry Gordon has been more than a business owner. Eddie's has been a great supporter of the community, as well as his student customers. Jerry has supported the JHU Tutorial Project year after year (just one example). He needs to be seated at the table when these matters are discussed.
Sean Tully February 23, 2013 at 01:23 PM
I am not saying Eddie's isn't a great place to shop or that the owner isn't a great guy. All I am saying when government tries to raise taxes or the minimum wage, business owners cry foul in the name of competition. Now, when the free market is running the show, they seem to by crying foul in the name of no-competition.
Baltimore Matt February 23, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Competition is good for the consumer and in a major city your should have a plethora of competition...If the existing businesses do what they are supposed to: make their prices competitive, improve their products, improve their shopping experience, they will stay in business and it will be a win-win for people in the area (if not they will be out of business and that is just the way things work in a capitalist society). We screw up by trying to protect our existing businesses...this is one reason why we often pay more than those outside the city even though we have a more concentrated population. My hope is that we can get a large, extensive grocer like Wegmans to open in Charles Village to put all of the local grocers on edge.
Bill Tiefenwerth February 23, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Eddie's is within scale of Charles Village. Wegman's is a great chain, but would overpower the St. Paul & 33rd footprint. A Trader Joe's might be a better fit, if it was determined that additional grocery options were deemed necessary. What's wrong with the Giant on 33rd for big box grocery shopping?
Baltimore Matt February 23, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Bill, what is wrong with the Giant at 33rd is that it is completely mis-managed and understaffed...it's the same for the Safeway at 25th. When the lines go back into the aisles (completely disrespecting my time and dollar), the prices are mismarked, and the management at the store doesn't seem to care, I don't want to shop at those particular stores. In fact if I go check out and the line is very long and there is only 1 or 2 check out people working, I have in the past, just left entire carts full of groceries because I feel if they do not hire enough people who can work, they don't deserve my money (which has happened to me a few times at the Waverly Giant and at least 3 times last year at the Safeway on 25th Street). What I want is a large, well managed, well staffed grocer. The Giant in Hampden is well managed but the area needs another well mangaged, large, competitive, grocer.
Bill Tiefenwerth February 23, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Matt--Yes, I do shop the Hampden Giant. The management seems to care, and the crowds attest to that success. The success has its downside, when you see more than a few out-of-stock shelves of advertised items. You're right about the Safeway. Pricey and poorly-run. . .I don't see how they stay in business.
Stephen Gewirtz February 24, 2013 at 03:42 AM
Eddie's fills its niche well, particularly in serving seniors, Johns Hopkins students, and people who want just a few items. Parking in the area can be horrendous, but Eddie's is more dependent on those who walk to the store. Will a new grocery try to fill the same niche, or will it create a huge parking mess? Look at Towson. Towson Commons Mall, where you have to go into a parking garage and get a stamp on your time receipt, has had just about no successful businesses. Compare it to Towsontown Mall, where you can park without the hassle and which is very successful. Why would a grocery dependent on customers from a larger area want to locate in the new development?
Sean Tully February 24, 2013 at 06:59 PM
I think it is silly to allow any business to dictate how much a community can or can not grow. I say build a Giant or whatever it is. I think the area will grow even faster which will benefit all the city and not just those living around the college.
Haakon Maxwell February 27, 2013 at 03:21 AM
How would Eddie's be able to compete with yet another grocer, right across the street? Today, Mr. Gordon vies for business with the Waverly Giant and the Charles Village Super Fresh, not to mention the Giant in Hamden, the convenience mart up the block, or the planned Graul's at the Rotunda. I'd say he's got enough competition already without a big money newcomer rising up literally at his doorstep. Furthermore, the store is not just Mr. Gordon. I don't know how many people Eddie's employs--35?--but I do know that many of them have been with him for quite a long time. These folks are hard workers and locals, and a pleasure to see on a daily basis. I for one do not want to lose the old-school, hometown grocer who's employees know their customers by name because megacorp developers plop a shiny new Whole Foods across the street. That's not competition, it's bullying. Moreover, the neighborhood doesn't need another grocer. We could use a drug store, or perhaps a department store. We don't have anything nearby that sells household goods. Charles Village is not renowned for its restaurants, either. We have good standbys but fewer than we could support. I'd be delighted to have several more options for eating out. In fact, a grocer is just about the last thing we need in Charles Village. When the time comes, I'll be sure my voice is heard in support of Eddie's of Charles Village.
Gordon Steen March 08, 2013 at 03:11 PM
McDonald's competes with Burger King, Eddie's can compete with Whole Foods. Just because you are small doesn't mean you can't be creative and fill the needs of the community.
Baltimore Matt March 08, 2013 at 03:16 PM
I think we should have a Food Lion in North Baltimore. Those stores are typically smaller than a Safeway or Giant and they are pretty competitive with prices. Furthermore, isn't it strange that Food Lion advertises in Baltimore but does not have any stores here?


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