After 53 yeas in business, Steven Hardware closed their doors in December. For the past 8 months, the building has sat vacant much like it’s beleaguered neighbor–the Market House. However, pending permit approvals, Royal Farms may be taking over the building later this year as we have mentioned several times over the past few months on our Facebook page.
The Stevens family has a signed lease agreement with Royal Farms, based in Baltimore. The only glitch is that the City Code does not allow a “convenience” store in the downtown historic area. Royal Farms is reportedly using the spot to test out a new concept which will enable it to be classified as a deli or a grocer. Of course, if permits are not issued, all bets are off.
The Market House
If this does go through, one needs to wonder if it will do more harm than good. What impact will a convenience store/deli/grocer have on the Market House? The prime investor in the Market House, Harvey Blonder, has plans to open a raw bar, a deli, and a chicken wing stand–all standard fare in any Royal Farms. And what about The Big Cheese who was thrown out of the Market House nearly a decade ago and now occupies a space with a common wall with Stevens Hardware? And Mangia who thrives on the late night bar crowd?
With the City allowing the Amsterdam Falafel shop to remain open until 3am on weekends, I suspect they will be hard pressed to deny those same hours to the Royal Farms.
Save Annapolis Silent
This move by Royal Farms has been a poorly kept secret. While the coalition Save Annapolis was worried about losing valuable boat show space on Compromise Street, this deal has kept the group silent–perhaps because it does not really impact the boat shows one way or the other.
Royal Farms has an existing location at the corner of 6th and Chesapeake in Eastport which is an easy walk. That store was recently renovated and there is speculation that if the downtown location is approved, that store will shutter. We have learned that another convenience store, Wawa, is aware that the store may become available and may have an interest in expanding their footprint in the Annapolis area.
What do you think?