CARLISLE >> Following a historic year of transformation and omni-channel growth, GIANT Food Stores announced that it expects to invest $114 million in capital expenditures* in Pennsylvania over the next 18 months, building on the recent success of its two new brands, GIANT Heirloom Market™ and GIANT DIRECT.
Joined by Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin at the 104th Pennsylvania Farm Show, the Pennsylvania-based company unveiled plans to create an innovative GIANT DIRECT ecommerce fulfillment center, open two new stores, and remodel 35 existing stores in 2020 and 2021. With this investment, GIANT will grow its commitment to the city of Philadelphia, its home market in Central Pennsylvania, and Monroe County.
“We’re doubling down on growth and innovation for our customers, building on the incredible momentum of 2019, and continuing to invest in our great Commonwealth,” said Nicholas Bertram, president, GIANT Food Stores. “The accelerated growth of GIANT DIRECT has set the stage for additional investment opportunities that extend our ecommerce geographic reach. At the same time, our GIANT Heirloom Market format has enabled us to reach an entirely new demographic in Philadelphia.”
2019 was a year of unprecedented growth for the Company, as GIANT opened 17 new stores and launched two new brands. In January, the Company debuted its new GIANT Heirloom Market format in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood of Philadelphia, followed by locations in University City and Northern Liberties. In February, GIANT opened a first-of-its kind GIANT DIRECT ecommerce hub in Lancaster, Pa., and began to rollout the GIANT DIRECT brand to its stores. In over just 10 months, the Company’s number of GIANT DIRECT grocery pick-up locations climbed from zero to 125. GIANT also introduced PA Preferred® shelf tags, a first of its kind program by a Pennsylvania retailer, designed to help customers easily identify the more than 1,200 Pennsylvania products available in its stores year-round. For these achievements and more, GIANT was named Retailer of the Year by Supermarket News.
“It is so important when Pennsylvania businesses, especially retailers and producers, support each other and form partnerships for mutual growth,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. “I thank GIANT for helping the state’s farmers and food suppliers grow their businesses by showcasing PA Preferred products at its stores. This expansion will not only create jobs but will also provide access to local PA Preferred products to new areas throughout the state.”
Added Secretary Redding, “I’ve always been proud of our partnership with GIANT, they take great pride in their PA Preferred membership and providing fresh, local food. Through this investment, they’re taking their commitment to local one step further – making an intentional investment that will connect all of Pennsylvania with farms in their community.”
New GIANT DIRECT fulfillment center in Philadelphia
Keeping its focus on growth in Philadelphia, GIANT will construct its largest omni-channel fulfillment center in support of its ecommerce brand, GIANT DIRECT. The investment comes as GIANT DIRECT has experienced double-digit growth since launch. This will be the first GIANT DIRECT facility to open in Philadelphia and it is expected to bring over 200 new jobs to the Eastwick community.
Located at 3501 Island Avenue, the 124,000 square foot facility will be completely renovated and will provide more capacity, better distribution and room to grow home delivery and in-store pick-up serving the increasing number of customers who want to order online. GIANT will partner with Peapod Digital Labs, an Ahold Delhaize USA company, to drive the development of this innovative facility.
New GIANT coming to Company’s home market
GIANT also announced it will open a new 52,000 square foot store in the Harrisburg market. Located at 6301 Grayson Road in Swatara Township, construction on the existing structure will begin in early 2020 and the new store will bring approximately 150 new jobs to the community. The Company plans to open the Swatara Township store later this year. GIANT currently operates eight stores in Dauphin County, employing approximately 1,550 team members.
New GIANT in Monroe County
A new, ground-up 66,000 square foot GIANT will be built in Pocono Summit, Pa., at the southwest corner of Interstate 380 and state Route 940. The new store will expand the GIANT brand along the Interstate 380 corridor and within Monroe County. Currently, a 2021 opening is being planned and the Company anticipates hiring 200 team members for the Pocono Summit location.
“The $114 million that GIANT is pledging to invest over the next two years is going to have a big impact on our economy. GIANT has been a Pennsylvania company since it was founded in Carlisle almost 100 years ago, and it’s great news to see them growing at an incredibly rapid rate, creating jobs, and helping provide food access in our communities,” said Secretary Davin. “Thank you to GIANT Food Stores for continuing to invest in Pennsylvania.”
This capital investment follows the Company’s previously announced fourth GIANT Heirloom Market, coming to Philadelphia’s Queen Village neighborhood and the planned urban flagship GIANT in the new Riverwalk development along the banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, both anticipated to open in 2020.
Store makeovers designed for today’s busy families
GIANT plans to remodel 35 stores in various locations across its operating footprint that, in some cases, may include a new Beer & Wine Eatery. Stores selected for remodel will include features to simplify shopping for busy families such as optimized product assortment, streamlined order pickup, improved merchandise displays, and modernized décor. Notable future remodels in the Commonwealth include the communities of Camp Hill and St. Davids.
“Investing in our store base remains a priority for us as we work to enhance the in-store experience for the millions of customers we serve each week,” added Bertram. “From our development projects in Philadelphia to our new stores in Pocono Summit and Harrisburg or our remodels across the state, our goal is to provide the very best, most personalized shopping through innovation, technology and a refreshed design.”
As the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s second-largest private employer, GIANT currently employs more than 27,000 people statewide. In 2019, GIANT’S robust training and development programs contributed to the promotion of over 1,300 team members and the creation of more than 2,700 new jobs companywide.
In support of these new jobs as well as those expected in association with today’s news, GIANT remains committed to investing in its workforce of more than 33,000 team members. GIANT has taken steps to attract and retain talent by investing in culture, leadership, and service training across its corporate office, perishable distribution center and stores.
GIANT is also committed to investing in its associates by offering inclusive benefits and policies that enhance health and well-being, support flexibility and promote work-life balance. To that end, the Company also announced the launch of new parental leave benefits that will provide qualifying full- and part-time associates with four weeks of fully paid leave during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption or legal placement of a child. This is in addition to the six weeks paid short-term disability for birthing mothers. The addition of paid parental leave complements the competitive benefits offerings available to GIANT associates, including Paid Time Off, education reimbursement, healthcare and disability coverage. The Company’s new parental leave benefits took effect on December 29, 2019.