CLEVELAND, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Giant Eagle is making life simpler, and better than ever for people in greater Cleveland. The Pittsburgh-based supermarket retailer, in conjunction with the Stop-n- Shop chain, announced that the 53-store chain will become locally-operated Giant Eagle stores effective September 16. The former Stop-n-Shop stores will join with 16 Giant Eagle stores in northeastern Ohio, giving the company 98 total stores in the region. The announcement follows the sale last year of Riser Foods, the operator of 35 Rini-Rego stores, to Giant Eagle, Inc. Rini-Rego is the largest member of the 53 store Stop-n-Shop chain that includes Reider's, Vaughn's Country Counter, Russo's, Catalano's, and Gillombardo's. "All of us are truly excited to be associated with Giant Eagle," Anthony Rego, Vice Chairman of Giant Eagle, speaking on behalf of the Stop-n-Shop chain, said. "In just a few short weeks, we will begin to introduce new services, new hours of operation, new brands, and the Giant Eagle Advantage Card(R). These offerings, we believe, represent the best of what is happening in the food industry in America today." "Our sense of family and our tradition of caring service to our customers remains intact," Rego said. "We're proud of what we have built here, and we know our customers like it because they are loyal shoppers. To them I say, if you like it now, you're going to love it in September." "Over the past year we have come to know and respect these men and women who have been leaders for so long in our industry and here in the Greater Cleveland community," David Shapira, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Giant Eagle said. "We share a common approach to the way we serve our customers, and we share a common vision for the future of the supermarket business. Together, we believe we can be a powerful force in our industry and, more importantly, make a real difference in the way people shop for food and household needs here in northeast Ohio." Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle has grown to be the number one supermarket retailer in the three-state region of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia with over 200 stores, all of which will be operating as Giant Eagle effective with the banner conversion of the former Stop-n-Shop stores on September 16. In June, the company converted seven supermarkets owned and operated by the Mastroianni and Olszeski families in Alliance, Bolivar, Louisville, Hartville, Green, Suffield, and Oakwood Square. Last week, the 7,000 employees in the Stop-n-Shop family attended presentations at the Cleveland Play House and in their neighborhood stores that explained what the conversion would mean for them and the customers they serve. "Shoppers will be served by the same store and department managers, the same checkout staff, and the same baggers," Chuck Rini, Sr., Executive Vice President, Giant Eagle said. "The difference will be in our extended hours of operation, and in the new departments, services, and products that will be phased-in over the next several months." Rego said that one store will be closing. The Chardon area is already served by a Giant Eagle in close proximity to the smaller Stop-n-Shop on Water Street. The Stop-n-Shop will close as a part of the transition, and all of the employees there will be offered opportunities elsewhere in the company. Beginning the week of September 16, the Stop-n-Shop signs that have symbolized the grocery business here for over 40 years will come down, and the new Giant Eagle signs will appear. The stores will still retain the family name, for example: "Russo's Giant Eagle," instead of "Russo's Stop-n-Shop." There will be virtually no disruption of service during the conversion period, so shoppers will not be inconvenienced. Some of the changes that will greet shoppers at the new Giant Eagle stores are: * Expanded hours of operation. Twenty-two of the fifty-three stores will immediately convert to 24-hour operation. A full list of stores and their hours will be published before the conversion takes effect. * Prescription pharmacies and expanded health and beauty products section. Giant Eagle is known for its variety of health and beauty care products, and will be featuring lower prices when products are purchased with the chain's Giant Eagle Advantage Card(R). This pricing initiative eliminates the need for shoppers to make an extra trip elsewhere for these purchases. In addition, full service pharmacies are being added to selected stores for even greater one-stop shopping convenience. * New brands in many sections of the store. Giant Eagle is an innovator in developing unique proprietary brands and signature departments, offering quality and prices comparable to many of the national brands. Some of the new areas of the store that shoppers will notice include: The Farmers Market, a produce department with the freshest selection of fruits and vegetables; The Bake Shop, a full-service bakery with Aunt Martha's pies, muffins, cornbread and cinnamon rolls; The Famous Deli, featuring Dietz & Watson and Eagle Valley selections; The Kitchens at Giant Eagle, offering prepared foods, River City Chicken and Pizza Di Cassa; The Atlantic Harbor for fresh seafood; Java Sonata coffee; Giant Eagle Film and quality photo processing service; and a wide variety of other high-quality Giant Eagle brands. These are brands and products developed by, and available exclusively at, Giant Eagle. * Eagle's Nest. This highly innovative activity and education area is located near the front of the store, designed as a place for parents and guardians to leave children aged 3 to 9. The first Cleveland area Eagle's Nests opened recently at the Rini-Rego Marketplace stores in Westlake, Strongsville, and Avon Lake, and have been receiving rave reviews from parents. Eagle's Nests will be phased into selected stores over the next several years. * Giant Eagle Advantage Card(R). All shopping households with Stop-n- Shop's current "Preferred Shopper's Club Card" will be receiving a new Giant Eagle Advantage Card(R) by mail. The Giant Eagle Advantage Card(R) offers special savings every day throughout the store, personal check cashing privileges, and special bonus programs designed exclusively for members. Shoppers may continue to use their current Stop-n-Shop card during the conversion process. New applications for the Giant Eagle Advantage Card(R) will be accepted as well. Along with more services for customers, the Giant Eagle banner will also mean more jobs and more support for the local community. With extended hours of operation and other new initiatives, the company estimates that as many as 350 new jobs will be created. In addition, Giant Eagle has provided millions of dollars in support for local causes, events and non-profit groups in the communities it serves, and it promises to do the same in northeast Ohio. Rego reassured local mayors in a special letter sent earlier this week that Giant Eagle will build on and enhance the Stop-n-Shop chain's already strong foundation of community support and civic involvement. The company indicated that more announcements would be forthcoming as the conversion grows closer, including details of a special school support program called "Apples for the Students." Giant Eagle will also continue Stop-n- Shop's sponsorship of Cleveland Indians baseball, and is working closely with the Cleveland Browns Trust on their promotional events.
SOURCE Giant Eagle