As the newly relocated Dutch Country Market bustled with shoppers, a furniture store parking lot across the street sat nearly empty under a large yellow banner announcing a going-out-of-business sale.
Prince George’s County Councilman Thomas E. Dernoga (D-Dist. 1) of Laurel, who was on hand for the market’s official grand opening on Sept. 17, said the new 24,000-square-foot shopping center is a welcome addition to Laurel’s eastern end, an area where he said businesses have struggled.
“We’re really excited to have Dutch Country Market relocate to Prince George’s County in Laurel,” Dernoga said.
The market, which was recently forced to move from its Burtonsville location because of redevelopment, opened in Laurel on Sept. 10 and offers fresh meats, cheeses, produce, baked goods and a sit-down restaurant. Most of the items are either prepared on site by the Mennonite and Amish families who own the individual stores or grown and prepared in Lancaster County, Pa. — about 100 miles north of Laurel.
Laurel resident Cortni Herod, who frequented the Burtonsville location, said she prefers the market’s fresh, natural ingredients to the processed foods that are common in supermarkets. The new Laurel location will be more convenient for her and her family, she said.
“We’ll definitely be here a lot more,” said Herod, who was shopping with her husband and 3-month-old daughter.
Laurel resident Al Fulton was browsing through bread loaves at the market’s bakery with his wife, Ellen Rocks. Fulton said the couple usually shop at Giant, but look forward to occasional visits to the Dutch Country Market, where he said the prices are a little higher but the quality is better. Rocks said they go to the market for specialty items and extra treats, rather than necessities.
“This is for the fun of it,” she said.
The families that operate the individual stores drive down from Lancaster every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, said Sam Beiler, who has owned Belier’s Fresh Meats for 22 years and lives in Lancaster County. The rest of the week is spent preparing items for sale.