Dawson’s Market, the Rockville Town Square grocery store that closed in late October, will reopen this month under new ownership.
Federal Realty Investment Trust, the developer that owns the Dawson’s space and all the first-floor retail at Rockville Town Square, confirmed Friday a lease has been signed with new owner Bart Yablonsky, the store’s former general manager.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to bring Dawson’s Market back and to continue to support the community and our staff — as we have since 2012,” Yablonsky said in a phone interview. “A grand opening celebration is scheduled for Thursday, December 20 and a soft opening is planned for December 15.”
Dawson’s will continue to offer the same organic products it did before closing, while also introducing new products.
“We are going to stay true to our product line, but we are broadening our product mix to be more attractive to the Rockville community,” Yablonsky said.
Many of Dawson’s staff has been retained, but the grocer is also hiring, Yablonsky said.
Dawson’s may also be the first business in the Rockville Town Square to qualify for the new small business impact fund program the city created in November. The program was established to provide loans and grants to qualified small businesses in two of Rockville’s business districts, Rockville Town Center (which encompasses Rockville Town Square) and the Twinbrook Metro District. The program is a response to resident concerns over the closure of four retail business in Rockville Town Center this fall: Dawson’s and three restaurants, Pandora’s Seafood House & Bar, Mellow Mushroom and Apollo Restaurant – a diner that had been a Rockville City staple for 30 years.
Rockville Economic Development, Inc., (REDI) the city’s business advisory partner that will be administering the small business program, said at a November work session at City Hall they will provide grants to businesses, rather than loans, for at least the first year of the pilot program.
“I can say I have applied for the program,” Yablonsky said.
REDI officials could decide as early as next week whether to approve a grant for Dawson’s, a source familiar with the program said.
Yablonsky said he has secured private financing and a loan through the county to gain ownership of Dawson’s, but he declined to say the amount of the loan.
“We are thrilled to continue to offer the convenience of a grocer at Rockville Town Square whose vision is aligned with the community’s,” said Deirdre Johnson, vice president of asset management for Federal Realty Investment Trust. “We are especially pleased to see Dawson’s under a local ownership who is engaged with customers on a personal and daily basis.”