Anchor’s away: Strip mall near Mount Rainier loses Giant, raising concerns -- Gazette.Net







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After nearly 60 years as the anchor of The Shops at Queens Chillum, Giant Food supermarket is closing, raising questions about the future of the shopping center located just outside Mount Rainier city limits.

The 40,000-square-foot Giant supermarket and pharmacy, located at 3104 Queens Chapel Road, will close April 4 after being open at the site since 1954. The closure comes after Fleisher Jewelers of Maryland closed its store at the center in January after being open there since 1949. “Hopefully something will come in, because one dead storefront tends to bring in more,” said Mount Rainier resident Rick Ruggles, 57.

The center is owned by Chillum Center LLC, a group of four Montgomery County residents who united to purchase the shopping center in 2006, said Joan Weber, a center spokeswoman.

Weber said the center has 11 businesses in operation currently, with three vacant spaces, but two of the vacancies will soon be filled.

Matthews Barbering Co. is planning to open after remodeling, which could happen in the coming days, she said. Weber also said a 6,000-square-foot Mid Atlantic Seafood restaurant, a regional restaurant chain, will open at the site of the former Dollar General store.

The shopping center owners also plan on retaining another supermarket to act as an anchor, Weber said.

“We are very excited,” Weber said. “I know it sounds very strange to say that, but we believe very much in the center.”

She said the owners have already reached out to a roster of regional, national and international supermarket chains to fill the vacancy.

Officials with Giant Food LLC, based in Landover, would not comment outside of a statement released this month by the company stating that the decision to close the store was made after a review of the company’s store operating performances.

Hyattsville Councilwoman Paula Perry (Ward 4) said she did not shop at the Giant all that often, but was discouraged to see it close because she did not want to see more vacancies in the area. “Anytime any store closes down in the area it bothers me because it is one more store that is now vacant,” Perry said. “I know that [the Giant] was convenient for people in the Chillum area and Mount Rainier area. Whenever a store closes down, it’s just another vacant storefront and more people losing jobs.”