- The Washington Times - Monday, December 17, 2001

Celebrate Maryland is opening a new store outside the chain's familiar airport landscape for the first time in more than three years.
The shop, which will feature more than 1,000 Maryland, Baltimore and D.C. souvenirs is opening a 350-square-foot store today at the company's headquarters in Columbia.
Regional Retail Concepts Inc., which owns Celebrate Maryland, Just Plane Kids and Discover DC, has a total of seven stores at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The last company store outside the airport in Ellicott City, Md., closed in April 1998.
The demand for the Maryland-oriented goods was so high over the past few years that customers, not traveling through BWI, were looking for another store that was easier to access, says Cheryl Moylan, general manager of sales and marketing.
"We're testing how well we do outside the airport because we've pretty much conquered inside the airport," Miss Moylan says.
Regional Retail Concepts is ending the year on a positive note, despite the September 11 terrorist attacks that have left some airport retailers struggling.
Company sales, which include store, catalog and Internet purchases, are up 12 percent over last year, Miss Moylan says. The company has been operating one less store since September 11. It temporarily closed a Celebrate Maryland store in Pier D for lack of traffic in that area.
There are four other Celebrate Maryland stores at BWI, as well as one Just Plane Kids and one Discover DC.

Furnishing the D.C. area
Mastercraft Interiors is opening another location in the Washington area.
The high-end furnishings retailer will open a 24,000-square-foot store in Alexandria Commons making the 146,000-square-foot shopping center 100 percent leased, according to JBG Rosenfeld Retail, the shopping center leasing agent responsible for the deal.
The newest Mastercraft Interiors store, expected to open later in 2002, will be housed in the former CVS location at the main section of the 11-year-old center. The Beltsville-based chain has five other locations in Rockville, Annapolis, Fairfax, Fair Oaks Mall and Lakeforest Mall.

Office Depot prototype
Office Depot is testing a new prototype store in Frederick, Md., complete with a new Education Center and 3-D technology allowing customers to configure their own office furniture.
The new location, which opened Dec. 8, is one of 11 prototype stores opening in different markets. The company, which caters to small businesses, plans to evaluate the new features to determine what is most useful to customers before adding them to existing stores. Currently Office Depot has 12 stores in the Washington and Northern Virginia area and 14 stores in Maryland.
The new Education Center, located at the back of the store is a sound-proof classroom where customers can learn more about new innovative products for their business. The store also includes a new Technology Center and an upgraded Copy and Print Center.

New openings
*The Cashmere Gallery, part of the Essential LifeStyle Elements brand, opened a new store at the Shops at Georgetown Park last month. The company plans to open its main store in February at 3027 M St. NW in Georgetown.
*Foot Locker has opened three new locations in the area. The stores, ranging from 3,600 to 5,900 square feet are located in the District and in Langley Park. Real estate agencies Sax Realty and H&R; Retail represent Foot Locker in the Washington metropolitan area.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884 or [email protected] Retail & Hospitality runs every other week.

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