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Weis Markets To Buy Some Of The Mars Supermarkets

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The fall of beloved supermarket giant Mars is benefiting another grocery chain in Baltimore County.

George Solis has the details on the company's takeover and employee reaction.

Pennsylvania-based Weis Markets is buying a handful of these stores in the county, saving some jobs in the process---but "some" is the operative word.

Those that love the name and brand tell WJZ a trip to Mars is unlike anything else on the planet.

"Mars was special; had different brands that nobody else carried," said one shopper.

This summer, visits to the familiar red-dotted store fronts will come to an end after 70 years of business in Baltimore.

"I'm very sad. It's a Baltimore tradition," said another shopper.

Citing years of declining sales, the family-owned grocery chain announced it will be selling five of their east Baltimore County stores to Pennsylvania-based Weis Markets.

"It is an acquisition but it's not a bad word. Weis Markets continues to grow. We leverage our size and scale and we leverage Mars' local abilities and it should be a great symbiotic relationship," said Weis Chief Operating Officer Kurt Shertle.

Once the purchase is complete, Weis will operate nine stores in Baltimore County, basically doubling their footprint.

The future of Mars' remaining eight stores, mainly in northeast Baltimore, is still up in the air.

Gabby Fraley works at one of these stores and tells WJZ she will lose her job.

"I feel like it's a slap in the face. I've been a loyal employee for four years," Fraley said.

As part of the deal, Weis is offering to interview Mars employees for jobs. Mars chairman Chris D'Anna issued a statement that says in part, "We'll continue to make efforts to backfill the remaining stores" and that it's been an honor to serve the Baltimore community."

Some tell WJZ they fear the change.

"I'm going to have to substitute something else now," said a shopper.

Others are more receptive and glad to see growth in the county.

"We'll see what happens. Life goes on, right?" said a shopper.

Once the sale is complete, Maryland will be home to the most Weis stores in the mid-Atlantic, second to Pennsylvania.

The sale of Mars is expected to be done by this summer. The five Weis stores will open their doors in August.

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