Mars Timeline

  Mars Super Markets TV Commercial

Joseph D'Anna, opened the first MARS store on Old Eastern Avenue in Essex in 1943. The store was located at the center of an apartment and military housing community known as Mars Estates. Because of that location, Joe adopted the "Mars" name. Just down the road, Glenn L. Martin had developed and was building an aircraft that could take off from and land in water, the Mars Flying Boat. There is little doubt that the publicity surrounding this plane helped establish the Mars name in Eastern Baltimore County.

Together with a partner, Bob Daum, Joe owned and operated that small grocery store for three years. In 1945, Joe opened a second store in the 200 block of Eastern Avenue. In the same year, his two younger brothers returned from the war, first Carmen, who served in the Navy in the Pacific and then Angelo from the Army in Europe. Both brothers went to work with Joe and were made partners. One year later in 1946, Mars Super Market moved to Dundalk, closing the two locations in Essex. The partners leased a single unit in a new building, one containing seven store fronts and built by Charles Catalano and Sons.

Not long after the move, Angelo and Carmen bought the half of the business owned by Joe's original partner. Joe sold his interest in the business as well, leaving Carmen and Angelo each with a 50% share. Mars, as it now exists, started at that time even though the name preexisted the partnership. From that beginning, Angelo and Carmen promised to provide "only the best": the best meats, the best produce and the best and friendliest service. That has been the guiding philosophy over the years.

As business increased, the store was enlarged several times until it occupied most of the space on the southeast corner of Holabird and Delvale Avenues. A second store was needed, so Angelo and Carmen opened the Grey Manor store on Old North Point Road in 1954, followed only four years later by the Middle River store on Eastern Avenue (not far from Joe's original Mars). The company continued to grow due to the very positive response to their marketing approach. With the help of Morris Denkin, the company purchased the Vesper Family property on the opposite side of Holabird Avenue. With the on site direction of Carmen and Angelo, they constructed what many considered the most modern supermarket in the state of Maryland.

Anthony D'Anna, the youngest brother, came to work for Angelo and Carmen in 1949. Initially, he was a grocery and produce clerk, and later managed the store until he moved to a position in the office in 1963. He became Vice President and Senior Grocery Buyer.

After the company incorporated, Vincenzo F. D'Anna, their father, was elected to the board of directors as Chairman. In 1955, Anthony was made a partner and owner in the business.

After leaving the grocery business, Joe took over the operation of a restaurant from another younger brother, Vince D'Anna. Vince would later join the supermarket business, managing the new store on Eastern Avenue and buying produce for all the stores. Carmen brought Peter, the oldest brother, onboard as the company's Produce Buyer and Supervisor.

In 1967, the Middle River store was damaged in a fire and the brothers took this opportunity to completely remodel it, again with the help of Morris Denkin and the added assistance of American Refrigeration. Over the next 26 years, Angelo and Carmen opened 10 more stores. These included Vincenzo's Produce Market and The Light Street Bakery at HarborPlace, which have since closed. The Old North Point Road store also closed, having been replaced by the Mars at Lynch Manor on Wise Avenue.

In January of 1995, Angelo N. D' Anna died after serving as the company's President for fifty years. Carmen, who became President at that time, opened three stores in Glen Burnie, Woodlawn and Edgewood. After fifty years as the company's Executive Vice President and three years as President, Carmen V. D'Anna, Sr. died in August of 1997.

Carmen's eldest son, Vito (Carmen V. D'Anna, Jr.), became President at that time. In the nineteen years preceding his appointment to President, Vito worked his way up from bagger to store manager and eventually to Vice President of Operations.

Today, with eighteen stores and over 1700 employees, Mars is a major employer in the state of Maryland.

Under Vito's leadership, Mars plans to continue its growth while keeping steadfast to its customer- oriented principles.

Mars is serviced by its own 300,000 square foot distribution center in Baltimore, supplying the stores with dry groceries, meats, deli/dairy, frozen and produce. Self distribution ensures the ability to deliver well stocked stores and fresh products to customers every day.

Supported by their own buying staff, Mars purchases produce and seafood daily from local markets and always includes local produce ,when available, from Maryland growers. Offering many national brands at private label prices, Mars maintains a limited line of their own private label goods.