The Lidl grocery store in Brooklyn Park will close permanently on Sunday, the company has confirmed, dealing another blow to a community still reeling from a mass shooting in the nearby Brooklyn section of South Baltimore.
The store, at 5722 Ritchie Highway in Brooklyn Park, which is in Anne Arundel County, was “an underperforming location,” a Lidl US spokesperson wrote in a statement Tuesday. The company made the decision to close the store so it could “focus on the locations that are closer and more convenient to more of our customers and where we are seeing significant growth,” the spokesperson wrote.
The food market is located less than 2 miles from the scene of a mass shooting at a block party the weekend before Independence Day that left two dead and 28 wounded. Baltimore City Police have arrested a 17-year-old boy as part of their investigation of the shooting; he’s charged with five counts including possession of a firearm by a minor.
Many low-income communities in Baltimore are becoming “food deserts” that lack easy access to a grocery store, The Baltimore Banner has found.
Lidl, a German discount grocery chain, has opened stores across Maryland and in other states along the East Coast.
The company is offering all employees at the Brooklyn Park location a job at another Lidl store in the area, according to the statement, and is “working closely with them on the transition.”
On Tuesday afternoon, several people walking in and out of the Brooklyn Park store said the closure was upsetting.
“That sucks,” said Demore Mullins, 50, walking out of the store with his groceries. The Brooklyn Park Lidl is his grocery store of choice, Mullins said, and he shops there at least once a week.
Mullins said he likes that the store has good prices, and that it has “a little bit of everything.” In addition to purchasing groceries, he said, he’s bought a greenhouse there, as well as a rocking chair and tools.
The store is also only around five minutes from his home, he said, which is convenient because there aren’t many other good grocery stores in the area. The store is rarely crowded — Mullins likes that, but acknowledged that it might be a reason for it closing.
After the store closes, he said, he’ll probably start shopping at the Giant Food store about 2 miles away on Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie. He said groceries are more expensive there, and that for “a decent-sized family, it can add up throughout the year.”
“We’ll just have to pinch a little more pennies,” he said.
Elsa Sorto, 32, said she appreciates Lidl’s fresh food and low prices. Sorto usually shops there three days a week, she said, to buy items such as pizza, cheese, meats, fruits and vegetables. “All the stores are expensive, but this one isn’t expensive,” she said.
After the store closes, she said, she may start going to an ALDI, also in Glen Burnie. But the grocery store is farther away from where she lives and less convenient, she added.
“Don’t close,” she said as she walked into the store. “The people like it.”
Ceecee Powell, 41, said she remembers being excited when the store opened. Powell lives in West Baltimore, she said, but comes to the store often because she works in the area.
The store is always clean, she said, and the staff is friendly. She said she likes buying fruit and flowers there.
Now, she said, “I gotta find somewhere else.”