Two and a half feet of snow were two and a half feet too many when part of the roof collapsed at the Bel Air Safeway back in January, shutting down the supermarket and leaving its customers out in the cold, to a certain degree.
"I was definitely concerned,” Wayne Barlow of Bel Air said. “It's worked out fabulous. I couldn't be happier. They're there for you... the same people. I couldn't be happier. It's worked well."
Workers are busy putting the final touches on the renovated supermarket in the Greenbrier Shopping Center, but with the county's help and a trailer home-turned-pharmacy in the lot outside the store, people were still able to get their prescriptions filled.
"I waived the permit fees and we worked along with Safeway to make sure we got the pharmacy up and running to try to provide those medicines and so forth to their customers, and we're excited to get them back on line here," Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said.
When the supermarket reopens next Wednesday, it may not be bigger, but it certainly promises to be better.
A new Starbucks coffee bar with seating, an expanded produce section and a customized meat department with custom cuts are among its many improvements, but many customers will be satisfied just returning to what they know best.
"I've missed it terribly. Not knowing what the other stores have,” said Judy Rinehart, “Some of them don't have what the Safeway always had, but Safeway is wonderful. I've been shopping here for many, many years."
Now, if you question whether people really do get attached to a specific supermarket, you only have to ask Wayne Barlow.
"I worked 37 years in a grocery store. Yes, I do."
And after nine months, it appears Safeway's faithful have waited long enough.
"I can't wait,” Barlow said. “I really can't wait."