91-year-old Bowen’s Grocery is changing hands from one well-known local family to another. The Bowen family is selling its Huntingtown grocery store to the Gotts.
“The Bowens approached us out of the blue about six months ago,” says Johnny Gott, president of the Gott Company. “They wanted the right person to come in and buy the business.”
Opened in 1929 by Frederick and Frances Mogck, the grocery store first went by the name Mogck’s. Grandson Gordon Bowen eventually became the owner, along with wife Gracie, in 1964 and changed the name to Bowen’s.
Considered a Southern Maryland landmark, the grocery store is famous for homemade soups, salads, sandwiches and meats. Daily specials include baked turkey, homemade meatloaf, country fried chicken, steak and roast beef.
Freshly ground chuck, steaks and stuffed pork chops as well as homemade country sausage — not to mention fresh oysters in season and fresh crabmeat — have made Bowen’s a popular stop for many local appetites.
The store is a valued part of the Huntingtown community. The bigger-than-life model of a bull that sits atop the building was once stolen and found nine months later on the roof of a high school in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.
Bowen’s chicken salad made CBM Bay Weekly’s list of best local holiday gifts one winter. Reader Connie Dargo shared that it was her go-to gift for her hard-to-please 90-year-old grandmother, putting a pint jar of the salad on her Christmas shopping list every year for Granny.
The Gott Company is a name familiar to customers of Bowen’s Grocery and throughout Calvert County. “We’ve supplied the gas to Bowen’s for the last 20 years,” Gott says.
The Gott Company was first in the heating oil company and later expanded into the propane business. The company also owns Q-Dog Quality Discount Oil and Gas and operates a chain of Fastop Convenience stores. “We’ve been in business in Calvert for 75 years,” Gott says.
“We’ve always kept the old-style values we inherited,” says Gordon Bowen.
The new owners plan on doing the same. “We are planning on retaining as much as we can and keeping all the same people,” Gott says, although the famous rooftop cow has also retired with the Bowen family.
Gott does have one tasty addition planned. “We will immediately begin offering the fried chicken we have in our Fastop stores in Bowen’s,” he said.
The store is expected to officially change hands the first week in August.