Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Be Careful What You Wish For . . . Bottom Dollar Food Coming to Chesterbrook

Back on July 30, I wrote the following article about the Bottom Dollar Food grocery store chain coming to the Philadelphia area and opening a store in King of Prussia. In the article, Discount Grocery Store ‘Bottom Dollar Food’ Coming to Philadelphia Area. I commented on the differences between the newly opened Wegmans vs the ‘no-frills’ discount grocery chain, Bottom Dollar.

Wegmans opening this summer, fell on the heels of the closing of Genuardi’s in Chesterbrook. There are other empty stores in the Chesterbrook Shopping Center and those that have remained since Genuardi’s closing have struggled. I heard that since the closing of Genuardi’s that the Hair Cuttery is loosing an average of $600/wk in revenue. The emptiness is particularly noticeable at lunchtime. Many in the community have speculated and wondered as to the future of the real estate.

We don’t have to speculate any longer. Today, I received news that Bottom Dollar Food has signed a 5-year lease with Centro Properties and will open in the old Genuardi’s location. (Not sure of the opening date). When reviewing the location plans for Chesterbrook’s Bottom Dollar, I noted they will subdivide the Genuardi’s space. Originally, Genuardi’s had approx. 38,500 sq. ft. of space but Bottom Dollar is only leasing 26,000 sq. ft leaving a space of 12,500 sq. ft. (next to Fitness Together) still available. The original entry of Genuardi’s is now in the ‘available space’, suggesting that Bottom Dollar will move their entry location.

In the last paragraph of my July 30th post, I asked the question, ” . . . would people rather see an empty anchor store in the Chesterbrook Shopping Center as opposed to some kind of discount store?” And here we are 3 months later, with Bottom Dollar discount food chain coming to Chesterbrook!

In catching up on some of the local business news, I was reading about the local grocery market and was interested to read about a new grocery chain coming to the area, Bottom Dollar Food.

We know that Wegmans next step on their expansion plan is King of Prussia (I think the old golf course off Swedesford, correct?) so I was curious if our area would be getting one of these discount grocery stores. Bottom Dollar Food is a discount grocer that’s part of the Food Lion store chain and has said that it will open 21 stores in Philadelphia and surrounding areas, creating 600 jobs. A friend recently visited our new Wegmans and asked management how many employees in that location — yes, 600.

This is a significant expansion for the Salisbury, N.C.-based Bottom Dollar Food, which has 28 stores in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. I did a bit of research on the company – they opened their first store in 2005, 5 years ago! They seemed to have discovered a niche market-place by keeping their stores very simple in design. One of the ways they are able to drive the prices down to bargain-basement level is by removing the fancy, expensive displays. Interesting concept given Wegmans over-the-top approach! They keep the isles wide, displays simple and have a color-coding system showing the various levels of mark-downs. Special ’bargain’ areas in the stores are indicated with color-coded signage. Kind of reminds me of the Syms approach – you read the price tag and the date determines the price. The longer the item remains at Syms, the lower the price.

Bottom Dollar Food will open their first Philadelphia area store in the fall. The president of the Bottom Dollar Food Meg Ham, reports that “Bottom Dollar Food has great potential in the market as we believe it is underserved in the soft-discount grocer arena”. Interesting.

However, the most interesting point of the article was the list of new store locations, including 197 E. Dekalb Pike, Upper Merion (King of Prussia). Short of driving up 202 north and looking for the address, I’m wondering if that is the Genuardi’s store on 202? I looked at all the stores on the list and unfortunately a Chesterbrook location was not on the list. But that poses an interesting question, would people rather see an empty anchor store in the Chesterbrook Shopping Center as opposed to some kind of discount store?

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  1. I am very glad to see a grocery store going in to replace Genuardis.. But as a senior living close by to the shopping center, I am concerned about this type of discount store bringing people in from outside our area.

  2. I really don’t see much of a market for this store here in Chesterbrook – Walmart is nearby and they seem to have the low-cost grocery concession locked up. Within a year we will have a Wegman’s across the street from the Walmart, and both ends of the spectrum will be covered.

    If Bottom Dollar Food brings customers to Chesterbrook, that should have a positive impact on the other stores in the shopping center, so I will give it a try. Let’s just hope their commitment to service is an improvement over that of Safeway’s “Genuardi” store.

  3. Chesterbrook senior… what kind of people from the outside? it seems to me that no matter what goes into that space, it will be dependent on “outsiders”. Are you concerned lower income folks will come in and in some way lower the real estate values? Increase crime? Blockbust some of the pristine Chesterbrook communities? Is section 8 not far behind?

    1. flyersfan, I am dismayed by the sarcastic comments directed at Chesterbrook senior – are you certain that there was a racial or economic factor in his/her statement? Is it possibly a reference to more traffic in the area?

      I am very tired of all of the Chesterbrook bashing – the simple solution to those who dislike our community is to stay away.

      However, you should be aware that Chesterbrook is one of the most ethnically diverse areas in Chester county. There is also a very wide range of housing values (under 200K to over 700K), so I imagine that correlates to a wide range of income and assets.

      Your comment about blockbusting “pristine” communities is offensive.

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