The Giant Food grocery store on Queens Chapel Road, one of the first modern supermarkets to open in the area, and one which can count Queen Elizabeth II as one of its customers, will be closing early next month.
According to a press release issued this evening from the Landover-based Giant Food, the store will be closing at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, 2013. The in-store pharmacy will be ceasing operations earlier, on Wednesday, March 27 at 6 p.m.
“After a thorough review of the operating performance of our stores, we made a very difficult decision to close the Queenstown location,” read a statement in a press release attributed to Anthony Hucker, president of Giant Food. “We regret any inconvenience this will cause and encourage our Hyattsville customers to shop at our nearby store locations.”
The store was one of the first supermarkets in the area to open back in the mid 1950s, part of a rapidly expanding Giant grocery chain. Back in 1957, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip toured the Chillum store on her way to the White House after attending a football game at the University of Maryland.
The Queen payed interest to the shopping carts equipped with a child's seat, while Prince Phillip noshed on some cheese and crackers offered up by store's staff.
In all, the sovereign's visit to the supermarket lasted about 15 minutes and was "conducted with soup-to-nuts thoroughness" by the store's management, according to historic newspaper accounts.
"The supermarket, in its awesome majesty, is a growing symbol of American abundance," wrote one AP reporter covering the Queen's visit to the store. "It is growing so fast, in fact, that if many more of them are built there won't be any place for customers to live."
Now, the store looks worn at the edges. The aisle signs are in disrepair, and the facility is noticeably smaller than newer area grocery stores.
Grocery shoppers in West Hyattsville, Mount Rainier and Chillum, who have shopped at the Queens Chapel Giant for generations, will now have to find other grocery options.
The nearest comparable grocery store, a Shoppers Food Warehouse, is located in the shopping center directly behind the Giant. There's also an Aldi and a Bestway grocery store on Hamilton Street in Hyattsville. The nearest Giant grocery store is a little under two miles away, at the intersection of East-West Highway and Editors Park Drive.
A spokesperson for Giant Food was unable to provide additional comment beyond what was contained in the press release.
The grocery store is not the only long-time tennant to be lost from the Chillum Center. .