Costco Opens Doors to Excited Kosher Shoppers

Community and business leaders cut the ribbon to open the new Costco at Mill Station (Susan C. Ingram)

By 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 18, the parking lot was filling up and anxious shoppers crammed the lobby of the new Costco at Mill Station in Owings Mills, not-so-patiently waiting for local business leaders and politicians to finish their speeches commemorating the new retail that was finally replacing the old Owings Mills mall.

“Can we go in now?” one shopper, cart ready to roll, called out as the ribbon was cut and the speechmakers were slow to clear the doorway.

On hand to proclaim new life in the Owings Mills business community were interim County Executive Donald I. Mohler III, County Councilman Julian E. Jones Jr. (D-District 4), Sally Shapiro-Gould, president of the Northwest Chamber of Commerce, and Jessica Normington, executive director of the Pikesville Owings Mills Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“Thank you to the folks of Owings Mills and the region, this is going to be fantastic here at Mill Station,” Mohler said.

“This is a glorious day for Owings Mills and the entire Northwest community,” added Jones. “This is something the community has asked for. I’d like to thank Kimco for working with me and County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. He made sure he did whatever was possible to bring Kimco here. They’re here today, Mill Station is rising, and as I always say, ‘Welcome to downtown Owings Mills!”

The ceremonial giant scissors came out to cut the red ribbon and there were cheers all around.

Shapiro-Gould was near the door, smiling and talking to residents and business colleagues as shoppers pushed by with their empty carts, soon to be filled with discount clothes, household goods and, for some, kosher foods.

“It’s another sign that the Owings Mills community is on the rise, that it’s making a comeback, that the community and the merchants’ associations and the Northwest Chamber are all working to make this the vital community that it can be,” she said.

Inside, Fred Weiss of Baltimore made a beeline for the back of the store, past televisions, piles of colorful outerwear and giant teddy bears, where the kosher cold cases gleamed under fluorescent lights.

“I used to go to Wheaton, which was only 44 miles, and Columbia has less kosher,” he said, adding that he was happy with the size of the kosher section. “I was here last night. They have kosher meats right over there,” he said and took off toward the brisket.

The store’s entire bakery is also kosher.

Stephanie Steininger of Boring works at Woodholme Elementary School. She said she is a BJ’s Wholesale Club member, but that the kosher fresh meat section there has been shrinking lately.

“They haven’t had kosher for a while, and I’ve been kind of upset with that,” she said about the fresh meats. “They said it was a recall. I said, ‘You’re going to lose a lot of members, because I know there’s a big Jewish community here.’”

Steininger said because she lives fairly far away, she often stocks up on cases of chicken at Seven Mile Market, “but we joined here and my daughter-in-law, she’s from Atlanta, she said they have a big kosher area.”

Friends Nan Lefler and Jayne Charles of Pikesville, big shopping bags in hand, were excited about the “huge selection” of kosher foods because they can now shop much closer to home.

“I usually go Columbia to get kosher food for somebody and this is a huge section,” she said. “I’ve been waiting, calling on this store for a year because we heard it was coming.”

“She shops for me in Columbia, because I hate to go to Columbia,” Lefler said, adding with a laugh that she likes the mussels, “but that’s not very kosher! I like their salmon, too, their lox. And sometimes prepacked salads.”

Charles pointed over at the waiting stacks of packaged precooked brisket and cooked chicken.

“I have friends that are older that keep kosher and having that is a full meal,” she said. “And it’s also a lot cheaper than the other markets.”

Editor’s note: Sally Shapiro-Gould is the mother of JT Managing Editor Marc Shapiro.

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