Town Center Market: 'This Needs to Become a Destination'
Patch sat down with co-owner Jimmy Spiropoulos to discuss the new incarnation of Dumm's.
After 100 years at its original address, Dumm's Corner Market opened its new digs to the public last month complete with a fresh look, updated amenities, and a tellingly different name: Town Center Market.
The new venue is three times larger than the old location and includes outdoor seating, an expanded selection of liquor and food, free wifi, and a fully-equipped financial center.
Patch recently sat down with co-owner Jimmy Spiropoulos, who spearheaded the project along with his brother, Ted. Below are a few excerpts from the interview.
On the community's response:
"I think a lot of people have been real anxious for this place to open. It's something new in town that not much new has happened in a long time. … It's nice to be wanted and to be supported by the community."
On leaving the old location:
"It's bittersweet and a little strange. Coming after 25 years going to the same place, not going there anymore is a little weird."
On changes from the old location:
"We're basically doing the same thing over here, but just on a much bigger scale. What's exciting to me is that, knowing that the craft beer industry has exploded in the last several years, we just didn't have the room to be able to devote the proper amount of space or attention to those types of things. Now we have the ability to see what we can do with it. I feel like I've been handed the keys to a really nice car. … We're also trying to be a real convenience store now, where before space and lack of equipment and setup—we couldn't do that next door."
On the market's changing business model:
"To make this go, we have to be supported by a whole lot more than just this community. This needs to become a destination. We need to pull people from University Park, College Park, Hyattsville. Our business model has changed, and the way we do business has to change. We want to continue to serve that same customer base that we've been serving for years next door, but we want to reach out to those segments of the demographic that we haven't been doing a real good job with."
On the permitting process:
"It hasn't been fun. It has been not a great year of my life. … I understand the [permit] process and why the processes are in place, but I'm not so sure they're achieving the goal of what the county's process is the proper way. Permitting was a nightmare." … Time, expense, and the fear of not getting that permit while spending a million dollars — people tried to comfort me and say 'this is pretty much a forgone conclusion that you're going to get it,' but there's always that little bit of 'what if.'"
On the renovation process:
"The contractor wasn't involved very much. Wasn't here—would argue with the inspectors, would not follow the plans—which created problems for me. … Finally, three and a half months late, we finally got this thing done."
On revitalizing the town center:
"Hopefully this project along with the farmers market can revitalize that town center that's been waiting forever for something the happen. … We are the epitome of the small business owner. We've been at it for 25 years, and now we've committed another 20 years of our lives after this investment here. This is not something that you say 'OK, we'll do it, and next year we'll sell and get out.'"
On what the move means for the Spiropoulos family:
"It's very emotional, knowing that the stress and the angst that we have gone through for a variety of reasons over the last several years—it almost feels like we're free."
Town Center Market is open Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more, visit the market's new website.