Giant Food At Tollgate Mall In Bel Air To Close Oct. 29

Giant Food said Monday it would close its Tollgate Mall Shopping Center on Oct. 29 at 6 p.m., ending the store’s three-decade run at that location.

A Giant Food representative said the company made the decision to shutter the Tollgate store following “a thorough review of the operating performance” of its supermarkets. Giant’s Abingdon and Rock Spring locations will remain open, the company said.

The store’s closing will affect 20 full-time and 78 part-time associates, the company said.

The 45,000 square-foot, 29-year-old Giant has been a mainstay of the Tollgate shopping center. The supermarket anchored the mall once present at the site, and was the last survivor of a massive redevelopment in the late 1980s and early 1990s which transformed the shopping center into a strip-mall.

The Giant was also the last of the Route 1 supermarkets, after the Bel Air Plaza Super Fresh closed its doors Feb. 23. Last October, Klein’s Family Markets announced it would put its seven local stores under the ShopRite banner when it joined the Wakefern Food Corp. retail cooperative.

Giant leases the Tollgate space, and said it was working with its landlord to find another tenant.

Here’s the full response Giant Food LLC sent to The Dagger’s request for info:


The Giant Food store located in the Tollgate Mall Shopping Center will close on October 29, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. After a thorough review of the operating performance of our stores, we made a very difficult decision to close the Tollgate Mall location. We regret any inconvenience this will cause and encourage our Tollgate Mall customers to shop at other nearby Giant locations, such as:

1401 Rock Spring Road in Bel Air, MD
3299 Emmorton Road in Abingdon, MD

The closing of the Tollgate Mall store will affect 20 full-time and 78 part-time associates. These associates will be given the opportunity to work at other Giant locations.

We are currently working with the landlord to identify another retail tenant for the space.

Jamie Miller
Public Affairs Manager


  1. says

    Readers: For the piece above, I couldn’t remember or get a solid answer on when the various Tollgate Mall redevelopments happened. Anyone know?

    I remember the “mall” in the late 80s/early 90s as being a mostly-dead hallway between K-Mart and Giant, with an arcade in the middle that eventually went out of business as well. Then at some point, K-Mart was severed from Giant and the middle “hallway” portion was redeveloped. Eventually K-Mart bit the dust too, and the modern strip-mall version took its place. On the back side, there was a couple different version of a movie theater, and at some point Barnes and Noble, etc. showed up.

    Anyone know when all this happened?

    • says

      The Bel Air Giant space has been leased by Whole Foods. The Super Fresh has been leased by Mars. Both expect occupancy by March 2010. The former Circuit City space has been leased by H Hegland – an electronics dealer from the Midwest that is also taking other former Circuit City locations in Towson & Catonsville.

  2. says

    My family shopped religiously at the Tollgate Giant from the time we moved to Bel Air in 1987.

    Here’s what I can remember from Tollgate Mall:

    – Even as a child I could see and understand that K-Mart was on the way out. The blue light special alerts and out-dated toys were personal favorites.

    – There was some kind of “leather shop” at the entrance to the mall across from K-Mart. I want to say it was Jake’s or named after some other gentleman. They sold leather jackets and other biker goods, sports memorabilia, and sunglasses. I remember going in there to look at the pewter wizard and dragon figurines. I bought my San Antonio Spurs Starter jacket there.

    – There was once a pet store within Tollgate Mall. I recall this excited me greatly as we stopped in one day when visiting the lot that would soon become our new Bel Air home. By the time we moved in, however, the pet store was gone with the wind. There was also a NewsCenter store, which ended up migrating across the street once the cow died and a shopping center was built in its pasture.

    – Tollgate once had many of the amenities of a “real mall” including escalators, a food court, and the infamous two-story Replay Arcade, which I was never allowed to enter unattended and was perpetually billowing with cigarette smoke. Toward the end of its days as an enclosed mall, the place was really just a shell – a few stores in the front and the military recruiter and Carvel ice cream at the back.

    – Some great childhood memories were had inside the enclosed Tollgate Mall. When the circus came to town (INSIDE the mall!), my brother and I got our photo taken with a lion cub on our laps (you had the option of a lion, tiger, or cheetah cub with which to take a photo – we wanted the tiger, but it had scratched someone earlier in the day, so it wasn’t available for any further photos). There was also once (at least) an indoor haunted house type event set up for Halloween inside Tollgate. Finally, my grandmother took my brother and I to see Batman at the movie theatre at Tollgate. Changed my life.

    • says

      Yeah I’m pretty sure it was Jake’s. I recall buying the staples of early teenage life there: knives, shurikens, Zippos and leather.

      I found out a few years back that one of my longtime online gaming buddies was the guy that handed out tokens at Replay. Well, the guy that was supposed to hand out tokens but hated kids and just stood around glaring and smoking.

      There was a huge contingent of Harford County youth/guys too old to be hanging out with the youth that used to hang out in that rear parking lot. We all had CB’s and code names. Wow, think I’ve spent the last 15 years trying to suppress those memories…

      I also remember the Carnival that used to set up in the back parking lot, what is now the Barnes and Noble/Michael’s parking lot. Either those Carnivals were much bigger and better attended than todays, or they just seem that way through the youthful eye of my memory…

      I also remember some sort of liquidators or outlet store.

  3. MommieDearest says

    I think I can dig up the picture of you and the lion cub for posting. I also remember there used to be a kitchen store, a Chinese restaurant, a camera shop and some shoe store with the name New York in it. And your jacket was purchased at Jake’s. I think we single-handedly kept Jake in business with numerous Knicks and Spurs purchases. Jake, the proprietor, hung around for a long time until he died of cancer several years ago.

  4. HDGReader says

    I remember the arcade, and there was a Spencer’s type store IIRC where you could buy bumper stickers, key chains, and other novelty items. I wanted to buy a D.A.R.E. To Keep Cops Off Donuts bumper sticker, but my grandmother refused, afraid if we put that on the car we’d get pulled over!

    • David says

      If an attorney can drive around with a “cops lie” license tag, then I think you’d probably get away with that bumper sticker.

  5. Doug says

    I know this is a dated post but wondered if anyone knows what is being built in the old Giant. I see it’s being gutted.