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La Plata’s retail boom continues with eateries

Many new restaurants open in past few months

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

If you can’t find a place to eat or shop in La Plata, you’re not trying hard enough.

During the past several months, quite a few new restaurants and retail stores have sprung up around the town’s landscape, particularly along U.S. 301.

A number of sit-down and fast-food restaurants have opened or are about to open in town, including Texas Roadhouse on Drury Lane, which opened Monday, Arizona Pizza on Centennial Street and Three Brothers Italian Restaurant, Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits and A Mano Trattoria on U.S. 301.

Several more eateries are setting their sights on La Plata, including another McDonald’s, Chili’s Grill & Bar and Three Brothers Pizza on Shining Willow Way in the La Plata Plaza North shopping center, Chick-fil-A in front of Food Lion and a Quizno’s Sub Sandwich Shop, International House of Pancakes and a Five Guys Burgers & Fries in the new Rosewick Crossing shopping center on Rosewick Road.

On the retail side, a Lowe’s home center in the Rosewick Crossing shopping center is set to open April 29, according to Maureen Rich, spokeswoman for the Lowe’s Companies Inc. The 117,000-square-foot store will have a garden center and offer 40,000 items for the customers, Rich said in a press release. The store will employ 175people.

In addition to several restaurants and a Lowe’s, Rosewick Crossing has also reserved space for a Giant grocery store and fuel station, set to open by the summer, a Wachovia bank, La Plata Wine & Spirits, Ultimate Flooring, Venetian Spa and a Hair Cuttery, said Erik Ylitalo, leasing director for Faison, the developer of the center. Other restaurants and retail stores are targeted for the shopping center, but leases have not been finalized, yet, he said.

In addition, a Walgreens pharmacy is due to open later this spring at the intersection of Hawthorne Drive and U.S. 301.

The rapid commercial growth in town is causing a few jitters among longtime business owners, including the owners of La Plata Mill and Supply on Kent Avenue.

‘‘It’s going to impact our store, but how badly it will affect us we’ll just have to see,” said B.R. Winkler III, general manager. ‘‘Whenever competition opens up in town it impacts us, but usually we don’t see much of a difference.”

Winkler said he suspects that longtime customers of the store will continue to shop at the business.

Norma Escobar, manager of El Ranchito Mexican restaurant on U.S. 301, said the worsening economy is hitting the eatery harder than competition from new restaurants opening in La Plata.

‘‘Our clientele has definitely dropped since last year; everyone comments on the economy,” she said.

Mayor Gene Ambrogio said that constituents constantly tell him that the town needs more sit-down restaurants.

‘‘Now, they’re finally here. Hopefully, they’re something that our residents will enjoy having nearby,” he said.


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