Giant Food Stores plans to make a $114 million capital investment in Pennsylvania, creating an e-commerce fulfillment center, two new stores and remodeling of other locations. The company said the expansion follows a historic year of “transformation and omnichannel growth,” and builds on the recent success of 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 Secretary Dennis Davin at the 104th Pennsylvania Farm Show Jan. 9, Giant unveiled plans to create an innovative Giant Direct e-commerce fulfillment center, open two new stores and remodel 35 existing stores in 2020 and 2021.
“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 of Carlisle, Pennsylvania-based Giant Food Stores. “The accelerated growth of Giant Direct has set the stage for additional investment opportunities that extend our e-commerce geographic reach. At the same time, our Giant Heirloom Market format has enabled us to reach an entirely new demographic in Philadelphia.”
The new Giant Direct fulfillment center in Philadelphia will support the double-digit growth of Giant Direct and will create 200 jobs. Located at 3501 Island Avenue, the 124,000-s.f. facility will be completely renovated and will provide more capacity, better distribution and room to grow home delivery and in-store pickup 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 the facility.
Giant also will open a new 52,000-s.f. 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 create approximately 150 jobs. The company plans to open the Swatara Township store later this year. Giant currently operates eight stores in Dauphin County, employing approximately 1,550.
A new, groundup 66,000-s.f. Giant will be built in Pocono Summit, Pennsylvania, 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. A 2021 opening is planned and the company anticipates hiring 200.
2019 was a year of unprecedented growth for the company, as it 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, the company opened a first-of-its kind Giant Direct e-commerce hub in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and began to roll out 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.
“It is so important when Pennsylvania businesses, especially retailers and producers, support each other and form partnerships for mutual growth,” said Pennsylvania Gov. 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.”
“The $114 million that Giant is pledging to invest over the next two years is going to have a big impact on our economy,” Davin said. “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.”
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.
Company will remodel 35 stores
The company 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 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,” Bertram said. “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.”
Pennsylvania’s second-largest private employer, the company said it created more than 2,700 jobs during 2019. To support its employees, it is launching new parental leave benefits that will provide qualifying full- and part-time employees 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 company’s new parental leave benefits took effect Dec. 29, 2019.