Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Sweet Little Spot

I was sorry to read the news that The Casual Gourmet  in Glenwood will be closing. From the Western Howard County Shares Facebook page:

This page was created to share WHC news and events with an eye towards supporting our local small businesses and farmers.  To that end, we are sorry to pass on that Casual Gourmet is closing. The owner is a WHC resident and Cattail neighbor-we wish her the best and thank her for being a source of last minutes gifts and local non-chain cafe options. In the meantime, merchandise is 30% off.

Now, Glenwood is not really my neck of the woods but I have indeed visited the Casual Gourmet several times, both on my own and with my family. It was a lovely little place to have a tasty lunch or cup of coffee, and a fun gift shop for “noodling around”in. Perhaps there was too much noodling and not enough actual shopping to keep the place afloat.

I do know that the businesses in those shopping centers are hampered by inadequate septic capability. The Casual Gournemt was unable to provide bathrooms for customers, for instance. Across the road Books With a Past and the Damon Foreman Music Academy seem to be doing well, but overall there continue to be vacancies. Not enough “foot traffic”? Rent too high? I don’t know.

The Casual Gourmet always reminded me of similar establishments in Roland Park in Baltimore. That made me wonder if folks in Glenwood were much like “Roland Park Types”. This is a completely untested theory, I hasten to add. Some characteristics of Roland Park Types include the wherewithal to send one’s children to private schools, and the need to purchase just the right hostess gift for each occasion. 

But I digress.

Running an independent, Mom-and-Pop small business is difficult in a world of chain stores and ever increasing rents. I wonder what the developer of those two shopping centers had in mind when the land as set aside for that use. Who owns them now? Are there any plans to make the vacant spaces more successful?

But for now, a fond farewell to a lovely little place way out West. I know it will be missed.

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