Giant Eagle: Wikis


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Giant Eagle, Inc.
Type Private
Founded 1931
Headquarters O'Hara Township, Pennsylvania
Key people David Shapira, President and CEO
Industry Retail (Grocery)
Products groceries, bakeries, deli, banking,gasoline station
Revenue $8 billion USD (2008)
Employees 36,000
Giant Eagle in Stow, Ohio.

Giant Eagle, Inc., is an American supermarket chain with stores located in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland. Giant Eagle was founded in 1918 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Supermarket News ranked Giant Eagle No. 21 in the 2009 "Top 75 North American Food Retailers" based on 2008 fiscal year estimated sales of $8.0 billion.[1] In 2005, it was the 32nd largest privately held corporation, as determined by Forbes.[2] Based on 2005 revenue, Giant Eagle is the forty-ninth largest retailer in the United States.[3] As of September 2007, the company had 156 company-owned and 69 franchised stores. The company also operates 128 fuel station/convenience stores under the GetGo banner.

The company operates its corporate headquarters in a suburban Pittsburgh office park in O'Hara Township.



In 1918, three families—Goldstein/Shapira, Porter and Chait—built a series of small grocery stores that they called Eagle Grocery. They were successful, and the business grew steadily to 125 stores. In 1928, these three families sold Eagle Grocery to the Kroger Company. As part of their arrangement with Kroger, the families agreed to leave the grocery business for a period of three years.

In the meantime, two families—Moravitz and Weizenbaum—built their own successful chain of grocery stores named OK Grocery. In 1931, the five families—Goldstein/Shapira, Porter, Chait, Moravitz, and Weizenbaum—combined forces to form Giant Eagle. Giant Eagle operated stores throughout Pittsburgh-area neighborhoods, and the chain grew steadily throughout the 30s and 40s, despite the desperate times of The Great Depression and World War II. From the 1950s onward, Giant Eagle was at the leading edge of modern supermarket innovation.[4]

The chain entered Ohio in the 1980s when it bought Youngstown wholesaler Tamarkin Co. and its Valu King stores that were eventually converted to the Giant Eagle name. Kent & Ravenna Ohio stores were the first to be converted at that time & later the Youngstown stores then got converted years later. Around the mid or late 1990s, the Giant Eagle chain later reached Cleveland by acquiring the Stop-n-Shop stores in the area. Stop-n-Shop stores were family owned and operated in different areas of Cleveland. For an example if a person lived in Parma, Ohio, they shopped at Rini/Rego, if a person lived in Garfield Heights, Ohio, they shopped at Reiders. The other suburbs shopped at Country Counter. The family operators of Stop-n-Shop formed a holding company named International Seaway Foods as the main umbrella for Stop-n-Shop. In 1998, Giant Eagle acquired the International Seaway Foods and converted the Stop-n-Shop Stores into Giant Eagle Stores. Giant Eagle also purchased or opened other Northeast Ohio stores outside the Stop-n-Shop area, such as the former Apples supermarkets in the nearby Akron, Ohio area.

The company entered the Toledo, Ohio, market by opening two stores in the area in 2001 and 2004. Giant Eagle emerged as one of the dominant supermarket chains in Northeast Ohio, competing mainly against the New York-based Tops, of which it purchased 18 stores in October 2006. The purchases came as Tops exited the Northeast Ohio area.

Giant Eagle purchased independently-owned County Market stores, giving it a replacement store in Somerset, Penn.; a new store in Johnstown, Penn.; and its first Maryland stores: one in Cumberland, one in Hagerstown, and two in Frederick. The Cumberland store closed in December 2003, and the Hagerstown store closed in August 2005.

Giant Eagle has aggressively expanded its footprint in the Greater Columbus area, capitalizing on the demise of the former Big Bear supermarket chain and taking Big Bear's traditional place as Columbus' upmarket grocer. Giant Eagle first entered what it calls its "Columbus Region" in late 2000, opening three large newly-built stores at Sawmill and Bethel Rd., Lewis Center, and Dublin-Granville Rd. with two more following in 2002 and 2003 at Gahanna and Hilliard-Rome Rd. In 2004, Giant Eagle purchased nine former Big Bear stores in Columbus, Newark and Marietta from parent company Penn Traffic. Giant Eagle has since expanded to several additional locations, acquiring other abandoned Big Bear stores and in newly-constructed buildings using the current Giant Eagle prototype. Giant Eagle opened its 20th Columbus-area at New Albany Road at the Ohio Rt. 161 freeway (New Albany) in August, 2007, its 21st area store at Hayden Run and Cosgray Roads (Dublin) in November, 2007, its 22nd area store at Stelzer and McCutcheon Roads (Columbus) in July, 2008 and its 23rd area store at South Hamilton Road and Winchester Pike (Groveport) in August, 2008. A new Giant Eagle opened in Lancaster, Ohio in November 2008, and the former Big Bear located at Blacklick Crossing is undergoing an expansion and remodeling.

Giant Eagle has the highest share of any supermarket chain in the Pittsburgh area, largely due to being a de-facto monopoly in the region (only Aldi and stores supplied by Supervalu such as Shop 'n Save, FoodLand, and Save-A-Lot even have a presence in the area, let alone significant market share), but has lost some market share in recent years due to Wal-Mart's construction of supercenters in the area.

Loyalty program

In 1995, Giant Eagle introduced the "Advantage Card", an electronic loyalty card discount system (already popular in many chains), as a sophisticated version of the obsolete stamp programs. The card was later modified to double as a video rental card for Iggle Video. More recently the company has started the FUELPERKS! program to entice customers. This program allows customer the opportunity to earn 10 cents off each gallon of gas (20 cents in select markets) with fifty dollars worth of authorized purchases. This program has become widely popular in many markets, and helps to moderate price comparison shopping. In early 2009 Giant Eagle launched it new FOODPERKS! program, mainly geared towards Get Go. This program allows customers who use their fuelperks at Get Go to also earn foodperks to save on groceries purchased at Giant Eagle. Every 10 gallons of gas purchased earns a 1% discount. This can be used up to 20% max at a time on a purchase of up to $300. FOODPERKS! and FUELPERKS! are good for 90 days and if the customer has more than the price of gasoline, or more than the 20%, those discounts will stay on your card for the remainder of the 90 days, and if they are not used by then, they expire.


There are 225 store and Get Go locations in the United States: 99 in Western Pennsylvania, 122 in Central, Northeast and Eastern Ohio, 2 in Morgantown, West Virginia, and 2 in Frederick, Maryland. Each store carries between 22,000 and 60,000 items, approximately 5,000 of which are manufactured by Giant Eagle.

Giant Eagle offers over twenty-four different departments across its stores. The range of services includes Iggle Video (a store for renting videos, DVDs, and video games, though this is currently being phased out, and Red Box video terminals are replacing it), dry cleaning, banks such as Citizens Bank (in Pennsylvania, mostly former Mellon Bank branches) and US Bank, in-store day care, and pharmacies.

The chain has built large prototypes, and it has experimented with many departments unusual to supermarkets. Larger stores feature vast selections of ethnic and organic food, dry cleaning services, Iggle video, drive-thru pharmacies, in-store banking, Eagle's Nest (for daycare purposes while shopping), as well as in-store coffee shops and prepared foods. Prepared foods are also sold at larger GetGo locations that can accommodate a GetGo Kitchen.

The Giant Eagle stores franchised by the McKillop Family (Altoona,Bedford,Ebensburg) hold a yearly event with the American Cancer Society. The "Grocer's Fight Cancer Day" event is held the first Thursday of October. It features live entertainment, food demos, unbelievable one day deals, and games of chance. The event is in its 19th year and has raised over $600,000 dollars for the ACS.


Giant Eagle Market District

Giant Eagle has re-branded three of its stores as Market District, in an attempt to woo upscale shoppers. The initial two stores are located in the upscale communities of Shadyside within the City of Pittsburgh and Bethel Park in southern Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The Shadyside store was expanded from 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) to 78,000 square feet (7,200 m2) and uses sustainable design including a green roof. [2] The Bethel Park store is 117,000 square feet (10,900 m2) in size. [3] The stores offer free Wi-Fi, Churrasco-style foods, a kosher deli, a smoothie bar and other options not offered at other Giant Eagle locations.[5][6] The Giant Eagle name is still evident on the logos for the rebranded stores.[4]

A third Market District store opened on November 5, 2009 in the Pittsburgh suburb of Robinson. The store is part of the new Settler's Ridge development and is the largest at 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2). This store is also the largest supermarket in Western Pennsylvania. [5] It replaced the 95,000-square-foot (8,800 m2) Giant Eagle store across from Robinson Town Center.[6] [7]

There was early speculation that this location would resemble more of a supercenter format. That is not the case however. This store instead expanded on the successful offerings in the initial two locations. New to Market District in this store is a Crepe & Rosti bar, Candy Shop, Gelato Bar, Cooking School, Panini Station, Salad Station, and an on-site Nutritionist located in the Pharmacy. [8] Also, this store is the first grocery store in the Pittsburgh area to sell beer. This location is now the Flagship Market District store and all research and development will be conducted in this location.[9]

One additional Market District store is now under construction in Upper Arlington, Ohio. This store will be the first Market District in Ohio and part of the Kingsdale Shopping Center redevelopment project located in the Columbus Metro Area. Expected to open in 2010, the 110,000 square feet (10,000 m2) store will replace the existing 56,000 square feet (5,200 m2) store it acquired from Big Bear several years ago when that chain went out of business. [10]

Giant Eagle Express

Giant Eagle express is a recently opened concept store of Giant Eagle. As of September 2007, there is only one operating store located in Harmar, PA. This store type is thought of as an attempt by Giant Eagle to stave off Tesco's expansion into the United States with a similar store concept.[citation needed] The store is larger than a GetGo, but much smaller than a regular Giant Eagle supermarket store. However, the store offers many of the same services as a Giant Eagle, such as a deli and a drive-through pharmacy. Giant Eagle Express also offers a café with prepared sandwiches, Giant Eagle's own Market District coffee, salad bar, and a wireless internet connection. Outside, GetGo gasoline is available.[7]

Valu King

In December 2008, Giant Eagle opened its first Valu King supermarket in Eastlake, Ohio. This store in a former Tops Market building is 28,000 square feet (2,600 m2) in size [8] and is positioned as a discount food store, similar to competitors Save-A-Lot and Aldi. The store is different from a traditional Giant Eagle; it does not have an in-store bakery, butcher shop, or the full range of Giant Eagle brands. It also does not participate in the Fuelperks! program as the store format does not use the Advantage Card for sales. Giant Eagle opened its second Valu King supermarket in Ravenna, Ohio in July 2009 and its third supermarket in Norwalk, Ohio in December 2009[9]. The Valu King name of the new venture harkens back to the 1980s, when Giant Eagle bought Youngstown wholesaler Tamarkin Co. and its Valu King stores that were eventually converted to the Giant Eagle name.[10]. A fourth Valu King has been announced for a summer 2010 opening in the old Big Bear Stores building in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. This location will occupy a third of the 100,000 square foot building.[11].


Giant Eagle Pharmacy

Giant Eagle began adding pharmacies to their stores in the 1980s along with other "store-within-a-store" concepts photo, floral and video rental. In 2006, Giant Eagle attracted much attention when it became the first pharmacy in the region to offer over 300 (currently over 400) generic prescription medications for $4 with the store's advantage card. As of June 2008, Giant Eagle has updated the pharmacy pricing structure to include several generic prescription medications at $4 and 90 day supplies at $10. Also recently they began to offer free antibiotics. The program has been very successful for the company and the pharmacy. They also have promotional $1 fuelperk bonus coupons for new or transferred prescriptions at the new Giant Eagle Pharmacy locations. The pharmacies are also willing to price match local pharmacies.

Giant Eagle Optical

In October 2004, Giant Eagle began a long-term experiment with in-store optometry centers dubbed "Giant Eagle Optical." There were four locations in the Pittsburgh area: North Hills- McIntyre Square, South Hills- Donaldson's Crossroads, East- Monroeville, and West- Robinson. The stores accepted most major vision plans and offered a wide variety of designer frames as well as exclusive Giant Eagle brands. They also participated in the Fuelperks! program and were staffed mostly by ABO certified opticians. Noting that "some programs don't prove viable across a broad number of stores," Giant Eagle chose to close its Optical locations beginning in August 2009.[12]


Giant Eagle has a contract with the Starbucks company to run and operate Starbucks kiosks in some of their stores. The workers are still employed under Giant Eagle, but do become certified baristas after completing the process.


Giant Eagle has about 36,000 employees and many of them are unionized under United Food & Commercial Workers Local 23 of Pittsburgh, and UFCW Local 880 of Cleveland. The Maryland, Parma Heights, Toledo, and Columbus stores are not unionized, much like some independently owned stores throughout Pennsylvania and the Youngstown, Ohio area. In late 2007 Giant Eagle's Columbus Division was ranked by employees through a Business First survey as one of the top ten places to work in Central Ohio. Some employees in the Eagle's Nest and Photo Lab departments are also non-union employees.


Giant Eagle uses the slogan "Make every day taste better", after having eliminated their previous slogan, "It takes a giant to make life simple." The former was introduced in August 2001, while the latter was first seen around January 1993. The "It takes a giant to make life simple" slogan spawned the "Fe Fi Fo Fum" commercials, which featured everything from the general store, the produce and deli departments to a spot featuring Jay Bell and Jeff King of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The slogan replaced the previous "A lot you can feel good about...especially the price" motto.

In summer 2009, the slogan became "Low prices. Uncompromising quality." As of December 2009, there is a new variation being used which is "Lower prices. Uncompromising quality." for online advertisements on website.[11] The "Make every day taste better" slogan is still used on store receipts.

The chain, under pressure from Wal-Mart, has implemented a lower prices campaign throughout its stores, featured on products customers buy most. Giant Eagle has also reconfirmed its commitment to value by selling Topco-produced Valu Time products, which are substantially cheaper than other private-label and name-brand merchandise. These co-exist with the Giant Eagle branded items, which are priced lower than national brands yet higher than Valu Time. Before these brands existed, Giant Eagle generally used Topco's Food Club label as the generic product.


  1. ^ 2009 Top 75 North American Food Retailers, Supermarket News, Last accessed January 18, 2008.
  2. ^ "The Largest Private Companies". November 9, 2006. Retrieved 16 November 2006. 
  3. ^ Top 100 Retailers: The Nation's Retail Power Players (PDF), Stores, July 2006.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Giant Eagle woos foodies with 'Market District'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 27, 2006. Retrieved 16 November 2006. 
  6. ^ "Giant Eagle gets creative with marketing". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. June 28, 2006. Retrieved 16 November 2006. 
  7. ^ The Express Experience, 30 May 2007.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^
  10. ^ Valu King
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links


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