New Organic Grocery Store — But Not Whole Foods — Will Take Borders’ Rosemont Square Space


Last week, the Inquirer’s Michael Klein wrote, “MOM’s Organic Market, a greener-than-thou grocery chain whose locations ring D.C., has signed to open its first Philly-area location. Its Facebook locates it only in ‘Rosemont,’ but insiders pinpoint it further: It will take the former Borders in Rosemont Square.”

We called the ultimate insider, Steve Bajus, founder and president of S.W. Bajus, the real estate development and management company that owns Rosemont Square. He confirmed that Mom’s will be taking 16,000 square feet (just about the same size as the current location of Whole Foods in Wynnewood) in the former Borders store at Rosemont Square.

Bajus explained that his original plan after Borders closed was to set up a farmer’s market, “with maybe 16 to 18 stands, but then Mom’s got in touch with us. So while we were talking with them, we put the farmer’s market on hold.”

He said that now that they’ve got an agreement with Mom’s, they will work on filling up the remainder of the 7,000 square feet that Borders formerly occupied. Bajus is now planning to have a scaled down farmer’s market “with seven or eight stands. We’ve been talking with a few of the better known Reading Terminal merchants,” he said.

There is no mention yet of Mom’s on the developers’ website, although there is some copy about a “BRAND NEW Farmer’s Market (Coming Soon!).”

Don’t know about Mom’s? Here’s a brief from their website:

Scott Nash started MOM’s in 1987 at the age of 22 with an initial investment of $100. MOM’s was initially called Organic Foods Express (OFE) and operated as a home-delivery/mail order company out of Scott‘s mom’s garage. In 1987, OFE rented a 900 square foot warehouse in Scott‘s home-town of Beltsville, Maryland.

Two years later, OFE moved its location to a 2,000 square foot space in Rockville, MD with the intent of opening a retail outlet. Initially, OFE opened Friday through Sunday to the public while conducting home deliveries and mail order Monday through Thursday.

Eventually, as the retail aspect of OFE increased, the delivery/mail order was phased out. OFE opened to the public seven days a week for retail sales. Our niche then, as it is today, was high quality organic produce, discount prices, and exceptional customer service.

In 1996, after being closed for six months to prepare for exansion, Organic Foods Express reopened as MOM‘s in a 6,000 square foot location in Rockville within a half-mile of the previous location.

At the present time, Mom’s has 10 stores, seven in Maryland and three in Virginia. They are tiny compared to Whole Foods which operates 340 stores and has 73,000 employees.