|Founded||August 31, 1931|
|Headquarters||O'Hara Township, Pennsylvania, United States|
Number of locations
|Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Indiana|
|David Shapira, Executive Chairman |
Laura Shapira Karet, CEO and President
|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,|
|Services||Convenience/Forecourt Store, Other Specialty, Supermarket, Gas Stations|
|Revenue||$9.3 billion USD (2011)|
Number of employees
Giant Eagle is an American supermarket chain with stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, and Maryland. The company was founded in 1918 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and incorporated on August 31, 1931. 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. 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 the 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's 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. The Hilliard-Rome Rd. location closed in early 2017. 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.
On September 27, 2018, Giant Eagle announced it would purchase the Ricker's convenience store chain in Indiana, marking the largest acquisition for GetGo since the chain's launch. It is not known if the Ricker's chain will be integrated into the GetGo brand following the closure of the deal. Much as it has done in Pennsylvania alongside Sheetz, GetGo plans to join Ricker's in having Indiana change their laws regarding alcohol sales.
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 valid for 90 days and fuelperks are valid for 60 days. If the customer has more than the price of gasoline or more than the 20%, those discounts will stay on their 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, two in Morgantown, West Virginia, two in Frederick, Maryland and one in Carmel, Indiana. Each store carries between 22,000 and 60,000 items, approximately 5,000 of which are branded by Giant Eagle.
Giant Eagle offers more than two dozen 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.
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 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 Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, and Bethel Park, just outside Pittsburgh. The Giant Eagle name appears above the logo on the rebranded stores. There are now 13 stores under this brand.
Giant Eagle Express
Giant Eagle Express is a concept store. As of May 2016, the only operating store is in Harmar Township, Pennsylvania. An Indiana, Pennsylvania location closed its doors in 2015. 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. There is also a GetGo gas station.
Market District Express
On June 4, 2013, Giant Eagle announced new Market District Express concept, which 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 of this brand's stores opened on December 5, 2013, in Peters Township, Pennsylvania.
GetGo is a convenience store chain that also has gas stations.
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. 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- to late 2000s, 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 the rebranded 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 original Valu King stores were eventually converted to the Giant Eagle name. The rebranded Valu King operated stores in Eastlake, Ravenna, and Brooklyn in Ohio and Johnstown and Erie in Pennsylvania, with the most recent store opened 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 all rebranded 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 1776ks 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. Some employees in the Eagle's Nest and Photo Lab departments are also non-union 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 and Shop 'n Save.
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. Giant Eagle was also successful in blocking a Walmart location opening at the dilapidated Northern Lights Shopping Center in Economy, Pennsylvania, though Walmart eventually opened a location on the hillside behind the property in 2014 after finding a loophole around Giant Eagle's lease at Northern Lights.
Aside from Walmart, Giant Eagle's last major competitor in the Pittsburgh market was Kroger, which had bought the original Eagle but exited Western Pennsylvania in 1984 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 Morgantown, Wheeling, and Steubenville areas, as well as Columbus.
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