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Old Navy Closes in Bowie Town Center

The store has been "repositioned" to Waugh Chapel in Gambrills.

The Old Navy in Bowie Town Center closed its doors for good last month the day before a new store opened up in Waugh Chapel Towne Centre. 

According to Julie Luker, a public relations manager for Old Navy, the store closed on Jan. 22 and was "repositioned" to the new location in Gambrills. 

When asked if Old Navy would be opening a new store in Bowie in the near future, Luker indicated that there was no specific plan. 

"We are constantly evaluating our store fleet to ensure we have the right stores in the right locations to best serve our customers," wrote Luker in an email. "I can tell you that we look at a number of factors—including our existing store base, market demographics and sales potential of a particular market."

Old Navy is the second store in six months to close shop in Bowie Town Center in favor of relocation to Waugh Chapel. Bed Bath & Beyond closed shop in Bowie Town Center in September 2012 when a new store opened up in Gambrills. 

How do you feel about the Bowie Town Center Old Navy relocating to Gambrills? Will you drive the three-odd miles north to continue to shop at the store? 

Sharp Shooter February 25, 2013 at 10:43 PM
..and who didn't see this coming? This should not be a surprise to anybody. My question is what is the City doing, if anything, to try to keep these retailers from abandoning the city? Sears (and KMart) are financially struggling and if they go under that would leave Macy's as the only anchor, which is going to make filling the empty shops with QUALITY stores somewhat of a challenge.
dothockey February 25, 2013 at 11:28 PM
I wonder how many other stores are going to leave??? These "anchor" stores are going to loose money for all the other smaller stores, too. They will end up closing! The Bowie Town Center will end up being a ghost center like the one on the other side of Bowie. What's up??? Why can't Bowie keep any decent stores in Bowie???
Peggy Brow February 26, 2013 at 12:36 AM
The Bowie Town Center was a mistake to begin with.
Lynn February 26, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Considering the economy...Don't expect the monstrosity built at Waugh Chapel along with the traffic nightmare it created to do any better. We are shifting the chairs around on the sinking Titanic. I can't believe more restaurants haven't closed yet. The empty stores become a tax write off for the property owners. I agree the Bowie Town Center was a mistake to begin with...
Marty Sippel February 26, 2013 at 01:14 PM
English teachers need to teach that "it's" means "it is". Possessive of "it" is simply "its". (See first sentence of article, and Jenni, you are not alone. I've been seeing this problem for years, even during my 35-yr. career in government service.)
Jenni Pompi (Editor) February 26, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Good, catch, Marty! I do know the difference, but sometimes I still make the mistake!
Lynn February 26, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Don't worry Jenni too much about proper grammer and spelling, though it is important. The most important thing you do is "Get a message out" and report facts. Minor grammer mistakes and spelling errors don't stop most people from getting the message, unless they are too focused on the wrong thing.
Barbara DeShong February 26, 2013 at 01:57 PM
Agreed, the BTC was a mistake. But once opened, the city should have tried harder to make it work . What worries me is the status of remaining stores in the area. Waugh Chapel also has a Target , a 5 and Below and a Dick's (think Sports Authority). Is the city doing anything to keep these stores in Bowie. Keep in mind that the city is already considering plans for a new shopping center and community in the Melford area (formerly the MD Science and Tech center). Do we really need another center to compete with the remaining small stores st the BTC?
Rebecca Edwards February 26, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Could someone explain why Bowie Towne Center is a mistake? I see a bunch of people here saying it and I don't understand why.
Kevin February 26, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Grammar.
kathy lapinski February 26, 2013 at 03:44 PM
I, personally was really happy when the BTC opened, because I live right behind it. However, that was in 2001, before the Waugh Chapel shopping center was even created. I think (although hind site is 20/20) that if the Gateway shopping center was expanded, that would have been a more visible location and would have gotten more traffic. The location for the BTC is really only visible to those who live in the area, and being right off of route 3 would have made it more visible. I wasn't crazy about Old Navy to begin with, but with it closing, along with BB&B, may make it harder to get quality retailers in there. Fortunately, it seems like Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works are at least staying. I agree with a few others in that the Waugh Chapel, with the economy and traffic nighmare it has created, may not fare much better but it has Wegman's to sustain it, and the BTC doesn't have such a strong anchor store. When Sears goes out of biz, the BTC will be in trouble unless another quality retailer comes in.....The city should try harder to make the BTC work, since it is now here and we don't want it to be a ghost town.
kathy lapinski February 26, 2013 at 04:15 PM
I don't agree with it being a "mistake" b/c I still see people shopping there...Also, it is a convenient place to shop without having to fight route 3 traffic or go into Annapolis. I go there many times for quick pick ups and use the Safeway quite frequently.
Michaele February 26, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Crime is very high at BTC. If I think I need to go to Macy's - I never consider BTC - I go to Annapolis. People urinate in the dressing rooms of Macy's at BTC - the odor is horrific. BTC was actually really nice when it first opened, but I think due to the high crime there, people chose to take business elsewhere. All of Bowie is becoming a ghost town - Marketplace is moldy and empty...Hilltop is the only center that has been revived - and it's pleasant to shop there (nightmare parking, though, with the repositioning of Outback!) Sad to see this happen to our town.
Mrs. G J Moore February 26, 2013 at 05:21 PM
I agree Kathy - I wish it was a mall but only someone who likes to drive would pass BTC for WC. I don't care about Old Navy but do miss Bed Bath and Beyond but not enough to go to WC. The traffic on 301 and that shopping center is a huge mess. Some one my age would have to drive store to store and parking is for the birds even with handicapped sticker. I am nor sure what Bowie could have done to save the stores but I sure hope BTC survives I would rather see Macy's go than Sears but would prefer to keep them both.
Mrs. G J Moore February 26, 2013 at 05:27 PM
I hardly ever try on clothes so know nothing about that but shame on the customers who would do that and for Macey's not doing something. Probably not old enough to remember when a clerk would stand outside when you were trying on clothes. Maybe they need to bring that back. I also did not realize crime was a problem but now that is something Police need to take care of and maybe more security.
Sharp Shooter February 26, 2013 at 05:41 PM
If I were looking for a place to locate a new store I'd have to pass on BTC solely because: 2300+ BPD calls in 2012 and over 20% occurred on roads at/near BTC. Emerald W: 119, Mitchellv: 117, Northview: 68, Health Ce: 66, Excalibur: 64, Collingto: 62, Major Lan: 54, Town Cent: 46, Elder Oak: 43.
Donald James February 26, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Why is everyone blaming the city? This is a private development. The city doesn't advertise, bring in new customers, sign leases, or anything. However, I don't really care for BTC. It was a failed attempt at a Town Center. You can't really even call it a Town center. A town center has a mix of uses in their buildings, such as residential, office, and retail. There is density...even if it's 3 or 4 floors that lets it have retail on the bottom and office or residential above. It has common areas like a square where people can meet. BTC is basically a mall turned inside out. It's surrounded by a sea of parking. Everything is one story. If BTC wants to compete, it needs to rethink their design. I fear Laurel Mall is going to end up the same.
Roxanne Calloway February 27, 2013 at 01:00 AM
I think it is nice to have shopping close to home. The new shopping center in Waugh Chapel has a strange set up so I don't know how well the shops in that middle section will do. I don't like having to park behind the store/restaurant. I agree the city needs to really step their game or every store in BTC will vacate.
Aimee February 27, 2013 at 02:47 AM
I thought I would drive to WC once the new Wegman's went in there but I haven't and won't bc of the traffic. Is it really only 3 miles? I have gone to the Annapolis Town Center, which I love bc of the mix of stores. Perhaps the demographic trends in Bowie don't bear out higher end retail, which is frightening for the future of the city's economy. I hope I don't regret buying here.
I. Mendozawilson February 27, 2013 at 12:15 PM
I'd be very interested in reading that too.
kathy lapinski February 27, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Roxanne, I agree that the Waugh Chapel set up is weird - having to park behind the stores is strange (w/ the exception of the anchor stores). For me, it is almost just as convenient to go down to ATC or Annapolis Harbor (their setup makes more sense) rather than fight that nasty traffic up to Waugh Chapel. I'd like to move (when I bought here the BTC wasn't even opened yet), but moving costs are a hassle and I can't even rent for what my mortgage is. It will just be more expensive all around. In general, high end stores don't do well in PG County from what I have read; however, we do have a Wegman's in the county, but that is different. In short, I have a Sister who lives in Gambrills, and I work in Columbia, so I will shop at Waugh Chapel, but I HATE the traffic. Will go to selections in Bowie first.
randyho March 02, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Not sure how the city is taking a hit for this either. Security has clearly been a concern, and if the developer can't provide a safe environment, people won't go. I also remember hearing that the leases at WC were cheaper. Curious as to why that would be. Is AA more business friendly to the point where it can undersell PG for a comparable storefront? If that is the case, that is a problem worth solving. More expensive and less safe? That's a hard sell. Given WC's traffic and Wegman's repellant crowds, Bowie should be able to compete, but apparently can't.
randyho March 02, 2013 at 03:52 PM
It's as though WC's parking lot was designed by amazon.com. Can't imagine what it'll be like during the holidays.
Mrs. G J Moore March 02, 2013 at 06:32 PM
I laughed at the Amazon parking lot - good, very good. Now Bowie should get busy, really busy to build up TC and secure it because people will get tired of that traffic and look for something else. So be ready Bowie or else shut down and build more apartments.
sonia stewart March 02, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Good riddance, I can still go to Old Navy in Woodmore. I miss Bed Bath and Beyond but apparently they don't miss my money.
Thomas Ashley March 06, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Unfortunately BTC could never attract all A-B level stores because of the demographics and the fact that it is in Prince Georges county. Even though the surrounding community has a strong middle class income level. It is and was based on perception. All the malls that are close to major roadways, such as the beltway, have higher incidences of theft and are more susceptible to this element. I have worked in retail for the last 30 years, and travel extensively throughout the country and abroad working with retailers. Some of the best stores in the best locations have the most disrespectful customers, especially in the ladies departments, that use the fitting rooms for bathrooms and relieve themselves on the clothes left in piles on the floor. PG has an image problem (look at the National Harbor that is still struggling to attract top retailers) and a large minority base. Both BTC and PG must have managers with exceptional marketing skills to attract, develop and keep these retailers as a part of our community. It's as much a perception issue as it is a financial one.
kathy lapinski March 06, 2013 at 08:53 PM
When I tell people that I live in Bowie, some people cringe -- why?? It is an ok place to live -- I moved here b/c I wanted to be closer to where I worked at the time (I spent 7 years working in DC and Greenbelt). Now, AA seems more desirable, but really, is it? Why is it perceived to be that way?? I do agree it is as much of a perception issue as anything.
kathy lapinski March 06, 2013 at 08:56 PM
However, perception is a very difficult thing to change...People will think what they want and changing it will be VERY challenging.
kaela F. January 02, 2014 at 10:04 AM
Your white friends may cringe when you tell them you live in Bowie because a lot of Black people live there. They assume that these are the black people that they see on Fox News. They don't know that Bowie residents are comprised of educated, well paid and progressive black people. On another note, I just found out that the Loft is closing. I'm really bummed out. The only stores that could possibly save BTC might be H&M and Forever 21. BTC had the nerve to have a cheap ass Gussini. That didn't last long. Wrong area. I cant see Teavana doing well either.

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