Little by little for nearly two years, Towson locals have witnessed The Shops at Kenilworth undergo $20 million in renovations—a project that property management group Greenberg Gibbons describes as “polishing a community gem.”
In keeping with that motto, developers have upgraded the homes of longtime tenants like Lax World, Jos. A. Bank, and South Moon Under, while also making way for a few new attractions.
Most recently, the mall saw the unveiling of Kenilworth Wine & Spirits—a new liquor store from the same management team as Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits and Quarry Wine & Spirits in Pikesville. The shop has been in soft-opening mode since last week, and a grand opening celebration is planned for April 1.
“One of my favorite things to see is when people first walk in the door,” general manager Aaron Lubliner-Walters says of the community’s reaction since the shop debuted. “They kind of stop, and you can see they get a little wide-eyed. It’s rewarding to see people react so positively to the look and feel of it.”
Equipped with handmade wooden wine racks and an open floor plan with shoulder-level shelves, the 5,000-square-foot shop features more than 150 unique wines, as well as local beers on tap for growler fills from the likes of Manor Hill, The Brewer’s Art, and Monument City.
“We go out of our way to try pretty much everything we bring into the store,” Lubliner-Walters says. “We find some unique things that maybe you haven’t seen before, but local distilleries, wineries, and breweries will have a strong presence here, as well.”
Aside from being a convenient location for locals to stop by and pick up a bottle or a six-pack, the shop will also host events to help shed light on trending topics in the ever-changing world of craft booze. In addition to free tastings on Fridays and Saturdays, the shop hosts special gatherings attended by visiting brewers, vintners, and distillers who are on hand to answer questions about their products.
“You learn more teaching people than you do studying on your own,” Lubliner-Walters says. “Educating ourselves is obviously goal number one, and number two is spreading that education to people who walk through the door.”
The liquor store’s mantra of providing artisanal items is something that it shares with its new neighbor, Trader Joe’s, which has moved into the 12,475-square-foot space directly across the way on the second floor. The storefront was previously inhabited by Stebbins Anderson, which relocated to the lower level last year.
“We’re excited to be next to Trader Joe’s and think of them as an anchor business,” Lubliner-Walters says. “The things you find there are sort of off the beaten path. That’s the same way we operate.”
The specialty grocery store will celebrate its grand opening on Friday, March 17, replacing the neighborhood’s current Trader Joe’s located off of the Towson Circle. Community officials are enthusiastic about the increase in parking that The Shops at Kenilworth provides, as well as its easy access to public transportation services.
Other tenants that have recently inked deals to move into the shopping center include Harbor East-based jewelry boutique Amaryllis, surf retailer Quiet Storm, and nutrition and wellness center ZenLife, which are all slated to open this month.
The new vendors come at an exciting time for The Shops at Kenilworth, whose renovations are expected to be completed this spring. So far, recognizable changes include a modernized main entrance with domed wood ceilings and canopy lighting. Plans also call for a rooftop garden, and contemporary fixtures, natural lighting, and updated floors throughout the interior.
Lubliner-Walters, a Towson University alum and 20-year neighborhood resident, is enthusiastic about being a part of the fine-tuned development.
“The additions are really exciting,” he says, noting that he enjoys taking his children to explore Kenilworth’s beloved train garden every year during the holidays. “It just makes it more of a reason to come here. But, at the same time, it’s not losing any of the old charm.”