Eddie's of Roland Park Celebrates 20 Years in Towson
The owner of the business credits the Towson location's success to its neighborhood feel.
Victor Cohen, the original proprietor of local grocer Eddie's of Roland Park, valued knowing his customers above all else—a practice his daughter and current owner Nancy Cohen continues to follow.
When taking a reporter on a tour of the Towson location on North Charles Street for the store's 20th anniversary, Nancy Cohen would take frequent breaks to greet customers, many of whom she knew by name. She started working for the now 69-year-old business in the 1980s, before helming operations in the 1990s. Her father remained "involved until the day he died."
"There's a very local feel here," Nancy Cohen said. "I know most of the customers, you see different generations of families here. We have people working here whose parents worked here."
Victor Cohen opened Victor's Market on Roland Avenue in Baltimore in 1944. Ten years later, he joined a buying and advertising cooperative created by Eddie Levy. When the cooperative dissolved in the 1980s, Victor Cohen distinguished his business from the other Eddie's stores—also located in Baltimore—as Eddie's of Roland Park.
Previously, Victor's Market and Eddie's operated side-by-side in the Roland Avenue space. In the 1990s, Nancy Cohen integrated the stores though some vestiges of the separation remain with the Roland Park featuring Victor's market prime meats and Towson choice cuts.
Nancy Cohen opened the second Eddie's of Roland Park location in Towson at the site of a former ACME supermarket. Soon after, she opened the adjacent North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits to provide a one-stop shopping experience for customers.
"I realized I had to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to have a large store with so much more parking," she said. "We were doing very well [at Roland Park] and saw this as being an extension of that neighborhood spot."
Specialties at Eddie's of Roland Park include its Gourmet to Go department that features restaurant-quality items prepared by classically trained chefs and a diverse selection of products from local vendors.
"We pride ourselves on having quality, fresh and very sophisticated products," Nancy Cohen said.
Now Nancy Cohen's son Michael Schaffer, an avid food lover, is starting to make his own mark on the family business.
As a kid riding around in shopping carts, Schaffer was a common fixture at the Eddie's of Roland Park stores. He started working at the age of 16, moving through the various departments.
Schaffer was recently responsible for the implementation of a new salad bar at the Towson location.
"I love going to food shows, seeing what the new trends in food are," he said. "People are surprised by the selection we have and—whatever unique ingredient—I'm pretty much familiar with what [customers] are talking about. And if we don't have something, we will do our best to accommodate them."
Schaffer is also the go-to guy for recommendations of Eddie's of Roland Park's gem products.
"We have the most amazing biscuits," he gushed.
To commemorate the anniversary, the Towson location will feature discounted specials for a week on popular items: Eddie's breakfast blend coffee beans (April 9), Eddie's jumbo lump crab (April 10), salmon filets (April 11), NY strip steak (April 12) and Eddie's lemon bars (April 13).
The celebration caps off with an April 13 event at the store, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., which features demonstrations from Eddie's of Roland Park's chef. Local vendors Zeke's Coffee, Hawk's Hill Creamery, Roma Sausage, A. Kirchmayr Chocolatier, Vann's Spices and Popsations Gourmet Popcorn will also provide presentations and offer samples.
"We are part of this neighborhood," Nancy Cohen said. "We carry that neighborhood market feel."