Industry Expert Explains Importance of Grocery Store for Ashton Meeting Place
-Sustainability is Most Compelling Reason-

I understand there is much debate over the need for a grocer at Ashton Meeting Place. I’d like to shed some light on why a high quality grocer makes sense. The number one reason is sustainability.  In order for a shopping center to be successful now and into the future, a foundation needs to be built.  Grocery stores attract a steady and dependable customer base and it is a proven fact that grocery anchored shopping centers do well in all economic environments. 


Montgomery County has many old, under-performing, non-grocery anchored centers that failed when the economy waned and have not been able to make a comeback. Grocers also set the stage to attract other high-quality retail. 


The other concern is size.  Consumer demand has driven the grocery industry into bigger formats, upwards of 65,000 square feet.  There are, however, grocers who are flexible to conform to smaller spaces if they feel they can still be successful.  Grocers who are less than 30,000 square feet tend to be specialty stores that offer a limited number of products and draw customers from a wide radius. 


Our intent is to create an environment that offers neighborhood-serving retail.  It is not our vision to create a ‘destination’ for shoppers coming from miles away.   The retail portion of this development would encompass just over 54,000 SF, with the grocery store comprising of only 35,182 SF.  To put this into comparison, the entire retail at Ashton Meeting Place would fit inside the Safeway grocery store in nearby Cloverly Center.


Michael Zacharia

Senior Vice President, CBRE

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