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A new Ocean City shopping experience?

If you are in Ocean City this week, you may notice a couple of changes as you drive down Coastal Highway. The speed limit, normally 40 mph through North Ocean City, has been reduced to 30 mph, and Downtown, the speed limit has also been reduced. This is due to the expected, unauthorized H2Oi Pop-Up Rally.  It is reasonable to expect heavier than usual traffic, noise and strict enforcement of vehicle laws during the week and weekend.

It’s finally time to indulge in the catnip of blogging, the succulent fruit unavailable and anathema to serious news-based organizations everywhere: totally unfounded speculation. Wishful thinking given form and voice not wholly without merit but completely without base.
Our endurance could be considered Herculean our dedication to pouring our content Sisyphean but this is too good a rumor to resist.
Grocery shopping options within Ocean City are necessarily small – for the most part the vast majority of people in Ocean City eat at the restaurants because the vast majority of people who stay in Ocean City are tourists. Stores that provide groceries for shopping near Ocean City really only have a dedicated customer base of under 10,000. If we expand to include surrounding areas like Berlin and West Ocean City the number goes up by some amount (speculation, remember?). Right, so the demand isn’t as great as it is in other places. Even if we go as far as Salisbury the options aren’t much improved.
It’s been reported that the 84 Lumber in Fruitland has closed and the property has been snapped up right away. It’s a good location with an established commercial base. The developer has said in published reports that they’re going to redevelop the land into a mixed-use retail/restaurant type facility or facilities.
In the same article the person in charge of marketing the property is indirectly quoted as saying he was planning to approach upscale grocery store Trader Joe’s with a proposal. If it’s not your thing Trader Joe’s has something of a cult-like following, and for good reason. It’s good. I had friends who would travel two hours very frequently to the closest Trader Joe’s – essentially driving two hours to Annapolis for shopping. Grocery shopping. Now, she didn’t do it every week but she went often enough that other friends piled into her house after a trip to sponge from her.
We did it happily. I have no regrets. There is a Facebook group, scheduled to be archived, with 2,360 members (before I found it). It had run out of steam, but the rumor running around has breathed new life, and at least 1 new member, into the almost-defunct group. We’ll see if business picks up.
While it probably doesn’t mean much for dining in Ocean City, for residents this could be huge. For those who, like me, drive two hours to Reading Terminal Market in Philly for some specialty eats a couple of times a year, the option of going just to Fruitland instead hits my pocketbook in all the right ways.
With easy access to the bypass and already equipped for high volume due to the Wal-Mart already on the site, it seems an ideal spot for a booming and trendy industry. Probably the best way there consists mainly of highways. Sure, you’d have to go into Salisbury in the first place which I know isn’t everyone’s favorite thing, but once the chore list fills up sufficiently it’s not a bad ride after all.


Aaahh, wanton rumor mongering. It’s enough to make the blackened husk of what approximates our hearts almost beat once again. But we’ve said it before and we’ll shout it again: Diversity and options are good things. Trader Joe’s has been rewarded for that time and again. It’s time to bring one in closer to home.    

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