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March 25, 2014

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Josh Friedman

I will confess, I wasn't there. What I find frustrating about what I am hearing is that there is a huge emphasis on what the villages can and cannot support, and not enough on what the villages need to survive. Could a village grow economically at the same pace as the rest of Columbia without a major retail anchor, like a grocery store? I also wonder how much attention is being paid to the grocery industry in general. We are seeking a rapid consolidation of the large grocery firms in the US at large. Safeway and Albertsons just merged. Harris Teeter is now owned by Kroger (unless you're from the midwest you've never heard of Kroger but they are second only to Wal Mart in retail sales). A community of less than 8,000 residents has historically been able to support a full service supermarket and provide plenty of profit. But with fewer firms competing, grocers are now seeking larger profits than before. If we determine that a village without a grocery store will be left behind, then our next question should be how to leverage the assets in Columbia that firms want to exploit to meet the needs of those communities that will otherwise be left in the cold.

Jessie Newburn

Digging this new-to-me local blogger! Here's his wrap-up of the meeting - http://spartanconsiderations.blogspot.com/2014/03/thunderdome-on-little-patuxent.html

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