With or Without the Bull, Bowen's Grocery Has Been Calvert County's Favorite Meeting Place for More Than 75 Years
PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. - October 13, 2006 - In 1995, a crime was committed in Calvert County that reverberated through the region. In an act of adolescent high jinks, someone stole the bull from the roof of Bowen's Grocery in Huntingtown, Md. It was found nearly a year later on the roof of a high school in the D.C. suburbs. The customers, local residents and employees celebrated the famous bull's return with a homecoming party.
For Bowen's Grocery, this is just one story in the many chapters of their 75-year reign as Calvert's favorite meeting place. Gordon Bowen - grandson of the original owners, Frederick and Frances Mogck (pronounced "Moke") - often reminisces on his 40-plus years with the business. "In the early days, our only customers were farmers," said Bowen. "Purchases were financed and bills were paid when the crops came in. Back then, we sold general merchandise, clothing, shoes and fertilizer but not much food because our customers raised their own meat and had large gardens. Most people also don't realize that the original wooden building housed the local post office."
Today, the store carries fresh meats and poultry, deli meats, produce, fresh local fruit and vegetables when available, gift items, candy, seafood and gasoline, in addition to typical grocery store items. There is also a full-service deli specializing in homemade salads and desserts. Breakfast sandwiches are also available.
Over the years, competition has come and gone, both to Huntingtown and Calvert County. "When Wal-Mart came, I admit that we were a bit worried," said Bowen. "But Louis Goldstein reminded me that our best assets are service and quality and that's how we would beat the competition. He was right, of course." When asked how he has enjoyed owning a local grocery store for the past 40 years, Bowen simply replies, "I love it." He admits that his favorite time is when he is up front, meeting and waiting on customers. He is also proud that his son, Dale, is the fourth generation to be a part of the family business.
As for the hooligans who stole the fiberglass bull a decade ago, Bowen says he recently met someone at a ball game who admitted knowing the identity of the now-adult culprits. He harbors no ill will toward the group and confesses he would enjoy meeting them one day. "The homecoming party we threw for that bull was almost worth the trouble we went through to get him back," he says.
The store is located in the heart of Huntingtown and is open seven days a week. For more information, call 410.257.2222 or 410.535.1304.