|This article needs to be updated. (November 2011)|
|Founded||March 17, 1933 |
|Headquarters||O'Hara Township, Pennsylvania, United States|
Number of locations
|Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Indiana|
|David Shapira, Executive Chairman
Laura Shapira Karet, CEO
John Lucot, President and Chief Operating Officer
|Products||Bakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, general grocery, meat, pharmacy, produce, seafood, snacks, liquor, lottery tickets, fuel, sushi, Western Union, money orders, dry ice, prepared foods, most now offering Betsy Ann Chocolates (www.betsyann.com) out of Pittsburgh, PA|
|Services||Convenience/Forecourt Store, Other Specialty, Supermarket, Gas Stations|
|Revenue||$9.3 billion USD (2011)|
Number of employees
Giant Eagle is a supermarket chain with stores in the U.S. states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana and Maryland. The company was founded in 1918 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and incorporated on March 17, 1933. Supermarket News ranked Giant Eagle No. 21 in the 2012 "Top 75 North American Food Retailers" based on 2011 fiscal year estimated sales of $9.3 billion. In 2005, it was the 32nd-largest privately held corporation, as determined by Forbes. Based on 2005 revenue, Giant Eagle is the 49th-largest retailer in the United States. As of Summer 2014, the company has approximately $9.9 billion in annual sales, Giant Eagle has 417 stores. The company also operates 168 fuel station/convenience stores under the GetGo banner.
- 1 History
- 2 Loyalty program
- 3 Operations
- 4 Employees
- 5 Advertising
- 6 Criticism
- 7 References
- 8 External links
After World War I, three Pittsburgh-area families--the Goldsteins, Porters, and Chaits--built a grocery chain called Eagle Grocery. In 1928, Eagle, now 125 stores strong, merged with Kroger Company. The three families agreed to stay out of the grocery business for at least three years.
Meanwhile, the Moravitz and Weizenbaum families built their own successful chain of grocery stores named OK Grocery. In 1931, OK Grocery merged with Eagle Grocery to form Giant Eagle, which was incorporated two years later. Giant Eagle quickly expanded across western Pennsylvania, weathering the Great Depression and World War II.
The chain remained based solely in western Pennsylvania until the 1980s, when it bought Youngstown, Ohio-based wholesaler Tamarkin Company, and its Valu-King stores that were converted to the Giant Eagle name. The Kent and Ravenna, stores were the first to be converted at that time; the Youngstown stores then got converted years later. Around mid or late 1990s, Giant Eagle 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. 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 market, opening two stores in 2001 and 2004, both of which have now closed. Giant Eagle emerged as one of the dominant supermarket chains in Northeast Ohio, competing mainly against the New York-based Tops, from 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 store in Somerset, Pennsylvania, a new store in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 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, in November 2008, and the former Big Bear located at Blacklick Crossing is undergoing an expansion and remodeling.
In 1991, 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. In early 2009, Giant Eagle launched the Foodperks! program, mainly geared towards GetGo. This program allows customers who use their fuelperks at GetGo 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% maximum at a time on a purchase of up to $300. Foodperks are good for 90 days and fuelperks are good for 60 days. 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 90/60 days, and if they are not used by then, they expire. In February 2013, Giant Eagle announced that they would be discontinuing the Foodperks! program that month because it was "a little too complex".
There are 221 store and GetGo locations in the United States: 99 in western Pennsylvania, 122 in central, northeastern, 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 branded by Giant Eagle.
Giant Eagle offers over twenty-four different departments across its stores. The range of services includes Redbox video terminals, dry cleaning, in-store day care, and pharmacies. Giant Eagle also has banking partnerships with Citizens Bank in Pennsylvania and Huntington Bank in Ohio and West Virginia, both of which have their branches open inside Giant Eagle branches seven days a week except for federal holidays.
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, and 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.
Although older Giant Eagle locations tend to be unionized and some are even franchised stores, in recent years the company has started leaning toward non-union company-owned-and-operated stores. In areas where a franchised store exists, if a GetGo exists nearby, it's operated by Giant Eagle itself, separate from the franchised supermarket.
Giant Eagle operated two stores in the Toledo metropolitan area from 2006 to 2011, one in Sylvania Township on Central Avenue just west of I-475 and another in Perrysburg, but both were closed by 2011.
Giant Eagle has rebranded some of its stores as Market District, in an attempt to attract upscale shoppers. The initial two stores opened in June 2006 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. The Bethel Park store is 117,000 square feet (10,900 m2) in size. The stores offer free Wi-Fi, churrasco-style foods, a Kosher Deli, Cheese Cave, Smoke & Fire Rotisserie, Pizza Shop with a stone hearth, Sandwich Shop, and a Sushi Bar a smoothie bar and other options offered at other Giant Eagle locations. The Giant Eagle name is still evident on the logos for the rebranded stores.
The third Market District store opened on November 5, 2009, in the Pittsburgh suburb of Robinson Township. The store is part of the new Settlers Ridge development, and is the largest at 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2). This store is also the largest supermarket in western Pennsylvania. It replaced the 95,000-square-foot (8,800 m2) Giant Eagle store across from Robinson Town Center. This store expanded on the successful offerings in the initial two locations. New to Market District in this store is a Crepe and Rosti bar, Candy Shop, Gelato Bar, Cooking School, Panini Station, Salad Station, and an on-site nutritionist located in the pharmacy. 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 for the chain will be conducted in this location.
The fourth Market District store opened on October 14, 2010, in Upper Arlington, Ohio. This store is the first Market District in Ohio; it is part of the Kingsdale Shopping Center redevelopment project in the Columbus Metro Area. The 127,000 square feet (11,800 m2) store replaced the 56,000 square feet (5,200 m2) store it acquired from Big Bear several years before.
The fifth Market District store opened on January 12, 2012, in the Pittsburgh suburb of Pine Township. Originally, the 87,500 square feet (8,130 m2) store was opened as a Giant Eagle in February 2008. After renovations and an expansion to 90,000 square feet (8,400 m2) to accommodate the new products and prepared food departments, the store became the fourth Market District in the Pittsburgh region. It is also the first Market District store to have an on site GetGo gas station and convenience store.
The sixth Market District store opened on July 11, 2013 in Dublin, Ohio. Being the second location in the Columbus metro area, it consists of a former Big Bear store that was renovated and expanded. The 94,000 square feet (8,700 m2) store is the first to feature a sit-down sushi bar and Sizzling Wok, which offers Chinese and Vietnamese meals. This location was chosen since the original Giant Eagle store in the Columbus market location drew the most shoppers from Dublin.
The seventh Market District store opened in the Cleveland, Ohio suburb of Solon on August 8, 2013. This store is the first Market District store in the Cleveland, Ohio market. It replaced the existing Giant Eagle store by relocating to the new Solon Village Shopping Center. The Solon Market District store is 92,000 square feet (8,500 m2) in size,.
The eighth Market District store opened in Green, Ohio on November 7, 2013. The store was originally undergoing a simple renovation until Akron-based Acme Fresh Market announced their opening of a new Green Location located only across the street from the existing Giant Eagle Store. This store is 85,000 square feet (7,900 m2) in size  and features a sit-down cafe, Sizzling Wok, as well as an Ohio State Liquor store.
The ninth Market District store opened on September 5, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Yard. This store replaces an older Giant Eagle and is nearly 101,000 square feet (9,400 m2) in size. The Grandview Yard store is one of the Market District stores to feature a sit-down cafe, Sizzling Wok, and an Ohio State Liquor store. As part of the development, the new store also features an on-site GetGo gas station.
The tenth Market District store opened in the Cleveland, Ohio suburb of Strongsville on October 9, 2014. The new Market District store replaced the existing Giant Eagle store located at the Southpark Center plaza. Strongsville's Market District store is larger than the Solon location, just under 107,000 square feet (9,900 m2) and features a sit down bar with wine and 18 beers on tap, in addition to the standard departments found in other Market District locations. It is the first location in the Cleveland area (second in the chain) to feature the Market District Cooking School.
The eleventh Market District opened in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio on December 4, 2014. The new store is 94,000 square feet (8,700 m2) in size and was built as a part of the new Portage Crossing business development. This one replaces Giant Eagle's nearby store and was the first Market District store built from the ground up in the Akron area.
The twelfth Market District store is in the Pittsburgh area suburb of Aspinwall at Waterworks Mall. The 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) Giant Eagle Supermarket, was expanded to 103,000 square feet (9,600 m2) square feet, heavily renovated, and rebranded as a Giant Eagle Market District. The newly renovated store celebrated its opening on January 22, 2015.
The thirteenth Market District store is in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel at the brand new development called The Bridges. This is Giant Eagle's first store in the state of Indiana  and could potentially mean additional stores opening in the state. The store is 120,000 square feet (11,000 m2) in size and has an on site GetGo convenience store and gas station.
Giant Eagle Express
Giant Eagle Express is a concept store of Giant Eagle. As of May 2016, there is only one operating store, located in Harmar Township, Pennsylvania. The Indiana, Pennsylvania location closed its doors before the beginning of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Fall 2015 Semester. 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.
Market District Express
On June 4, 2013, Giant Eagle has revealed that they will be launching the new Market District Express concept. This concept is designed to be a hybrid of the flagship Market District format launched in 2006 with the Giant Eagle Express format that was launched in 2007. The first store announced for the Columbus, Ohio suburb of Bexley, where the former City Hall will be redeveloped to accommodate the new store. It's also reported that the new store may feature a second floor, similar to the Market District stores in Robinson, PA, Upper Arlington and Solon, OH. The store is scheduled to open by 2015.
Even though the first store was announced for Bexley, the first Market District Express store opened December 5, 2013 in the Washington County, PA suburb of Peters Township. At 15,500 sq. ft., the store still offers many items found in the full-scale Market District stores, along with a sit-down restaurant, pharmacy, Starbucks Coffee, and on-site GetGo gas station.
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 generic prescription medications for $4. As of June 2008, Giant Eagle has updated the pharmacy pricing structure to include several generic prescription medications at $4 for a thirty-day supply and $10 for a ninety-day supply. The program has been very successful for the company and the pharmacy. The pharmacies are also willing to price-match local pharmacies. Giant Eagle Pharmacy also offers several immunizations across the year for Pneumonia, Influenza, and Zostavax. These are typically walk-in, but vary depending on the pharmacists available.
Giant Eagle Contact Lenses
Giant Eagle partnered with Arlington Lens Supply in 2010 to sell contact lenses online via their website.
Giant Eagle was the largest shareholder of the Phar-Mor chain during its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s, although it was operated separate from the main Giant Eagle chain. The Shapira family that owns Giant Eagle provided Phar-Mor founder Mickey Monus with the financing necessary to start his chain. After Monus was convicted of embezzlement, Phar-Mor filed for bankruptcy and eventually liquidated. Due to Giant Eagle's stake in Phar-Mor, it was able to acquire Phar-Mor's Youngstown-area assets in bankruptcy court after the chain liquidated.
Giant Eagle once operated Iggle Video locations inside many of its locations to serve as its video rental shop. Like Giant Eagle Pharmacy, Iggle Video (which spelled "eagle" from its phonetic pronunciation in Pittsburghese, even outside of Pittsburgh) never operated in stand-alone locations. Like other video rental chains, Iggle Video offered movie and video game rentals. They also served as the local Ticketmaster outlet in the Pittsburgh region before the advent of the Internet made it possible to buy live event tickets from Ticketmaster online. In the mid-late 2000's, Giant Eagle phased these stores out in favor of Redbox automated retail machines, with Ticketmaster sales moved to the customer service desk.
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.
Valu King and Good Cents
In December 2008, Giant Eagle opened its first Valu King supermarket in Eastlake, Ohio. The Valu King name dates back to the 1980s, when Giant Eagle bought Youngstown wholesaler Tamarkin Co. and its Valu King stores were eventually converted to the Giant Eagle name. Today, Valu King operates stores in Eastlake, Ravenna, and Brooklyn in Ohio and Johnstown and Erie in Pennsylvania, with the most recent store opening in May 2012.
In 2012, Giant Eagle opened a new low-cost supermarket concept called Good Cents, located in Ross Township, Pennsylvania. The concept is similar to that of a Valu King, but carries a slightly larger product selection. Good Cents eventually replaced Valu King as Giant Eagle's low-cost brand.
On February 25, 2015, Giant Eagle announced it would close all the Good Cents stores by the end of March. It was looking for open spots at nearby Giant Eagle locations for displaced employees.
On March 2, 2015, all Good Cents stores were sold and closed.
Giant Eagle has about 36,000 employees and many of them are unionized under United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23 of Pittsburgh, and UFCW Local 880 of Cleveland. The Maryland 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 nonunion employees.
Giant Eagle currently uses the slogan "That's Another Giant Eagle Advantage" with its advertising, focusing on the eAdvantage offer of the week. This campaign features store employees and customers to put their own spin on what Giant Eagle offers. The campaign includes a focus on product selection, quality, customer service, and price leadership.
From 2011 to 2014 the slogan was "That's my Giant Eagle Advantage". From 2009 until 2011, the slogan was "Low prices. Uncompromising quality." In December 2009, a variation being used was "Lower prices. Uncompromising quality." for online advertisements on thepittsburghchannel.com website.
From 2001 until 2009, the slogan "Make every day taste better", was used. It was meant to showcase product quality as compared to the convenience focus used in the previous campaign.
From 1993 until 2001, "It takes a giant to make life simple." was used as the slogan. This was focused on convenience, and spawned the "Fe Fi Fo Fum" commercials. The commercials featured everything from the general store, the produce and deli departments to a spot featuring Jay Bell and Jeff King of the Pittsburgh Pirates. This replaced the previous "A lot you can feel good about...especially the price" motto.
The chain, under pressure from Wal-Mart, has implemented a lower prices campaign throughout its stores, featured on products customers buy most. Giant Eagle also sells 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.
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, Save-A-Lot, and County Market even have a presence in the area, let alone significant market share), but has lost some market share in recent years due to Walmart's construction of supercenters in the area, as well as no frills supermarkets attracting value-seeking customers such as Aldi, Save-A-Lot, and relative newcomer Bottom Dollar, in 2014 Bottom Dollar ceased its business in Pittsburgh.
Giant Eagle's large market share in its home market has led to accusations of the company buying up either existing supermarket locations or prime real estate for the sole purpose of not allowing a competitor come in. A notable example came in 2016, when the chain purchased property in McCandless, Pennsylvania that had been planned for a Walmart location near an existing Giant Eagle; Walmart later backed out and Giant Eagle made no immediate announcement of plans for the property. The deal came only weeks after Giant Eagle laid off 350 workers from its corporate office. Similar accusations have been made about GetGo not allowing Sheetz or Speedway opening up locations within the Pittsburgh city limits while GetGo has, although both competitor chains have several locations within the immediate suburbs.
Aside from Walmart, Giant Eagle's last major competitor in the Pittsburgh market was Kroger, which had bought the original Eagle but abruptly abandoned Western Pennsylvania in the mid-1980s due to labor issues with its union as well as the local economy at the time. Many Giant Eagle locations in Pennsylvania and Northeast Ohio occupy former Kroger sites and used the distinctive Kroger prototypes from the 1980s with the sloped glass roof entrance until most of the stores were remodeled or replaced with newer stores in the early 2000s with Giant Eagle's current prototype. Kroger and Giant Eagle still compete head-to-head in the nearby Morgantown, West Virginia, Wheeling, West Virginia, and Weirton, West Virginia/Steubenville, Ohio areas, as well as Columbus; except for Columbus, Giant Eagle is a virtual non-factor in markets where it competes with Kroger.
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