It may not be as flashy as the just-opened Tanger Outlets, but miles away from the glittering National Harbor another major commercial step for economic rebirth in Prince George’s County opened its doors Nov. 21.
After lying vacant for more than a decade, the Forestville Plaza Shopping Center is on the verge of economic revival with the grand opening of the Roses Discount Store at 7706 Marlboro Pike.
Not only is it the first of the Henderson, N.C.-based Roses chain to open in Prince George’s County, it is the biggest location in the country for the retail discount enterprise which once dominated the mountainous regions and rural areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, southwestern Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Its 122 discount stores compete with Kmart and Wal-Mart with discount produce, apparel and appliances.
The opening of Roses was seen by county officials as a commercial blossom in a part of the county that once bustled with commercial activity and has seen a business decline in recent years.
Wilson Sawyer, chief operating officer for Roses corporate parent Variety Wholesalers, Inc. said, “We built this store to serve our community.”
In addition to serving as a shopping venue, the store’s opening is part of a revival for the 210,000-square-foot outdoor mall and provides a new opportunity for job hunters.
Roses has hired 83 people, all of them Prince George’s County residents, according to the chain and county labor officials.
“This is a humbling privilege to be apart of this,” Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said during the conference. “Roses ensures quality goods for their residents. This property was vacant for too many years. Prince George’s County is open for business.”
“We are working tirelessly to create jobs, opportunities, and diverse retail options throughout all the communities of Prince George's County and this new store will help this proud and historic community. Revitalizing shopping centers in the County is one of our strategies to transform neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for our residents,” County Executive Rushern Baker III said in a press release.
“Prince George’s County is the place to be” Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker said. “We wouldn’t be able to do any of thus without partnership with the government.”
Senior Economic Development Advisor for Rushern Baker David Iannucci told the AFRO that for years the plaza looked “beyond terrible.” Before the mall was rehabilitated by the developer in preparation for fresh commercial enterprise, homeless people started living inside and outside vacant stores.
“We had confidence in the new dealership, and in the county and residents,” Iannucci said.
Prince George’s County Council member Derrick Davis said, "We want opportunities to give out 83 jobs out there somewhere else. God bless this opportunity and all the opportunities to come in the future in Prince George’s County.”
Press Secretary and Deputy Communications Manager Scott Peterson told the AFRO Prince George’s had “a terrible to reputation for retail businesses and we’re trying to rebrand that business with new economic strategies. We want jobs for out citizens for this county and good quality of life living in Prince George’s County. We want places they can shop comfortably on a neighborhood level.”
Peterson said they are also working on developing up to 20 shopping centers inside the Capital Beltway and are looking at ways to “encourage, control and help improve property and recruit tenants” in Suitland, Hillcrest Heights and Laurel.
“Rose’s is just as important as Tanger Outlets,” Peterson said.
Forestville Plaza Developer Mike Amann said, “When we brought this site, we had no drawings or plans for it. My son looked at me like I was crazy and now we’re here today with this opening. We are going to try and provide everything the community wants.”
Amann said that the next step for Forestville is to open “a furniture store, famer’s market and restaurant” in the area.