Thursday, September 22, 2011

Howard Park Super Pride: The End of an Era

On Saturday September 10th, the Howard Park Super Pride Pride Sign came down signaling the end of the Local Chain's tenure in Baltimore. Actually, the store has been closed for 11 years, it's just that it's taken that long to remove the sign. I don't see what the big deal was, it was done in a matter of hours. I just happened to be there at the corner of Liberty Heights and Hillsdale Road as it happened.
The fate of the Super Pride was sealed as "Neighborhood" Supermarkets began to expand to sizes that were up to three times that of the Super Pride. The Supermarket mentality has been go big or go home. I guess Super Pride swallowed its Pride and went home.
Howard Park began as a few estate homes that lined Liberty Heights Avenue at around the turn of the Century. Back then this was still the County. I believe Howard Park was part of the 1918 annex (correct me if I'm wrong). Howard Park acted as a flight to the suburbs before there were real suburbs. Howard Park, to the naked eye looks like a Suburb being that it's located on the extreme outskirts of the City.

Between World War I and the Great Depression Howard Park saw unprecedented growth. The stately Victorians that line Howard Park's Main Streets were joined by small bungalows, duplexes, and a few row homes and Apartments. Liberty Heights Avenue quickly became the Neighborhood's Make shift Main Street. The Retail has always been Liberty Heights and Gwynn Oak and the blocks immediately surrounding the intersection.
The Grocery Store located at the corner of Liberty Heights and Gwynn Oak showed that Howard Park was indeed a suburb. Although located in the City, the Corner Store that to this day so many Baltimorons depend on were absent. Instead what was then a large suburban style Grocery Store was built. As cars became the norm, this new Grocery Store became a magnet for all of Northwest Baltimore.
I couldn't find much information about Super Pride itself so I pieced together what little information I had in hopes that someone who reads this has more info and can fill me in via the comments field. Super Pride was the Grocery Store by the 1970s. The little building that housed the Super Pride has three spaces. Eventually the Super Pride had expanded into all three spaces. This was the beginning of the go big or go home mentality. Business had slowly begun to dwindle as newer and therefore bigger Grocery Stores and Northwest Plaza (Food King) and Reisterstown Road plaza (Giant) had opened.
The Super Pride had become compromised as Convience Stores and large Drug Stores that were almost equal in size begun popping up along Liberty Heights Avenue. Eventually in 2000, the Super Pride shut its doors and pulled down its metal latch for the last time. The once proud suburban Grocery Store that was Super Pride had become a vacant eyesore although the sign remains. At least one interim business took space in the old Super Pride. Around 2008-2009 a Tennis Shoe Warehouse took the space and there are still signs advertising it although the business is shuttered.
Howard Park Residents in the first part of the 21st Century worked tirelessly to get a new Grocery Store and redevelop the site of the old Super Pride. Sadly there were no takers. During the O'Malley years a Strategic Neighborhood Neighborhood Action Plan (SNAP) that includes Howard Park and a redevelopment scenario for the intersection of Liberty Heights and Gwynn Oak that calls for a new Grocery Store and additional Retail Space as well as the demolition of the Super Pride.
Well here we are in late 2011 in the middle of the worst economy since the great depression. Against all odds Howard Park has landed a new Grocery Store. Up & Comer Shop Rite has decided to open up shop at the site of the former Super Pride. The announcement came just three days before the City Primary Elections in a very public spectacle with City Officials including the Mayor. Congressmen Elijah Cummings even showed up and spoke. How do I know? I was there. The highly puclicized event inluded the demolition of the Super Pride sign (that had still been up 11 years after its closure) and the unveiling of the Artist's rendering of the Shop Rite.
The demolition of the old Super Pride sign signaled the end of an era although said era ended in 2000 when the aforementioned store actually closed but with addition of Shop Rite it also signals the beginning of a new one.


Anonymous said...

Perceptive post, funny how the grocery store reveals the health of a neighborhood

Gary said...

Welcome back!

Dan Clements said...

Store originally opened as a Schreibers market. ( I think I got the spelling correct?) Schreibers was bought out by Penn Fruit. After that???

Anonymous said...

What is taking so long for the super market and drug store to be built? Concerned neighbor

Anonymous said...

i think it was brown's market in the 70's