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Dawson’s Market Rallying To Remain Open

Rockville Town Square grocery store launched online fundraising campaign after announcing impending closure earlier this month

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Bart Yablonksy’s goal is simple: Keep Dawson’s Market open.

The store in Rockville Town Square announced Oct. 2 it would close later this month due to a lack of business, but amid a “tremendous outpouring of support,” Yablonsky, Dawson’s director of operations, launched a GoFundMe page on Wednesday with the hope of canceling the impending closure.

“Customers and the business community have been upset about our closing and asking, ‘What can we do to keep the store open?’ so this is our effort to make that happen,” Yablonsky said Thursday.

Employing 48 people, the store has been open since September 2012, serving as a gathering place and a natural foods grocery store. But it was not spared of the woes among businesses in Rockville Town Square, which is owned by Federal Realty Investment Trust.

In September, Mellow Mushroom closed after two years in business and Pandora’s Seafood House & Bar is slated to close by Sunday due to eviction over unpaid rent. The closures led Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton to call an emergency town hall meeting earlier this month, at which hundreds of people voiced concerns about the future of the town square and urged community leaders and Federal Realty to find a way to keep Dawson’s open.

Yablonsky said he hopes the market can secure enough funding by Oct. 27, its scheduled closing date, to remain open. If that happens, he said he believes the store will remain open indefinitely.

Funds raised will be used to pay employees, conduct “needed repairs” and for other operating costs, Yablonsky said.

Those who donate $100 will be given a gift card for 10 percent off their next five purchases, while a $250 donation warrants a gift card for 10 percent off 10 purchases and an “I saved Dawsons” T-shirt.

“We can’t say enough how proud we are at the tremendous outpouring of support from the customers and the business community,” Yablonsky wrote on the fundraising page. “We hope we can stay open and continue to be a meeting place for everyone, provide high quality healthy foods, and support local food producers.”

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