mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, July 21, 2008

OMG, a Giant closed somewhere. The economy is screwed...

It's weird when you read a blog post from a reasonably big-time blogger that mentions an area that may be familiar to you, and you are trying to figure out where it is. But Megan McCardle's recent post claiming that the suburbs are doomed based on her discovery of a recently closed Giant supermarket somewhere north of Baltimore, is just that.

On our way home from the beach, a friend and I decided to put the GPS through its paces and have the thing find us a grocery store close to our route. It put us at a Giant slightly north of Baltimore. Or rather, the ghost of a Giant, with the outline of the logo still visible where it had been ripped away. We passed through spectral scenes of shiny, empty office parks nestled between country bars and thriving tattoo parlors. For some reason, the eeriest most melancholy sight was the boarded up IHOP. When IHOP has left you, you really have been abandonned.

The first thing I thought of when I read her post was the former Giant at the corner of Perring Parkway and Joppa Road in Parkville, across from North Plaza. I don't think that's the one, however - there isn't an abandoned IHOP that I know of, and the area is actually bustling, with a new Chick-Fil-a and some other stuff. The Giant closed mostly because it appeared to not have been touched since 1973, while a new, huge Safeway complete with Starbucks opened right across the way.

A number of other Baltimore-ons chimed in asking for the location, but Megan has yet to grace us with that info. Giant has been doing some restructuring lately, and closed a bunch of stores, so I wouldn't infer a whole lot from a closed Giant.

I am really curious where it was. As several other commenters pointed out, there are a number of Baltimore suburbs that have been somewhat shaky for years, that have less to do with the popping of the housing bubble and more to do with crime, the decline of low-skill manufacturing jobs, and a host of other issues local to those areas. The area I live doesn't fit her profile, and not just because the Giant near the White Marsh Mall still does a good business (despite there being about 10 other supermarkets in a 2 mile radius. Most of the housing stock near me is circa 1975-1985, and most of the new construction farther north from me is larger single-family homes, not small starter townhouses like mine - which is what you would expect to be built in an area that having tough economic times.

My guess is that Megan may be guilty of a bit of having a hammer and figuring everything is a nail - that while there are probably exurbs hard hit by the housing bubble, I can't think of any "just North of Baltimore". Without knowing where she's talking about, i can't really say, and as a Maryland transplant I'm not the expert on the history of areas. But I don't think the suburbs are going anywhere anytime soon.


At 7:58 PM, Blogger tralatrala said...

I wonder if it's the one on Bel Air Road right off of Putty Hill/Rossville, across the street from the nasty KMart(there was an iHop in that shopping center at one point) I haven't paid attention enough to notice if that Giant was still open, but it was really old and there is a new one just a little further down Bel Air just past the beltway.

At 8:30 AM, Blogger mad anthony said...

That one was open as of a couple weeks ago... I stopped in there because my credit union is in the same mall. There is an IHOP across the street, but I thought it was still open....


Post a Comment

<< Home