Giant Eagle Celebrates Grand Opening Of Eight New Supermarkets

More Than 1,000 Jobs Created; Community Partnerships Forged and Expanded

Feb 05, 2004, 00:00 ET from Giant Eagle, Inc.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Giant Eagle, Inc. announced today
 the February 8 grand opening of eight supermarkets (formerly operated as Big
 Bear locations) in Central and Southern Ohio, bringing its area store count to
 13.  The opening of these new Giant Eagle locations resulted in more than
 1,000 new jobs, the majority of which were filled by individuals previously
 employed at former Big Bear locations.
     Giant Eagle acquired the eight stores late last year from Penn Traffic
 Company.  Most of these Big Bear stores conducted liquidation sales through
 January 18, 2004, after which they were briefly closed for remerchandising and
 restocking.  Following grand opening celebrations this weekend, the
 supermarkets will receive progressive enhancements moving forward.
     Store locations acquired from Penn Traffic and now converted to Giant
 Eagle include:
      - 2801 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43202
      - 1798 Kingsdale Center, Columbus, Ohio 43221
      - 1451 West Fifth Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43212
      - 280 East Whittier Street, Columbus, Ohio 43206
      - 777 Neil Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43215
      - 6700 Perimeter Loop Road, Dublin, Ohio 43017
      - 553 Hebron Road, Newark, Ohio 43056
      - 128 Gross Street, Marietta, Ohio 45750
     "This is a significant milestone in the history of our business," said
 Giant Eagle Senior Vice President of Operations Laura Karet.  "As a family-
 owned business, nothing excites us more than being able to preserve and create
 jobs, assist organizations that make the local communities more vibrant and
 provide a wide variety of the freshest foods to more people in the greater
 Columbus area.  We are eager to begin serving our new customers, and we are
 confident they will find a welcome home with us."
     Giant Eagle customers at the eight new supermarkets will notice an
 immediate difference.  In addition to extensive use of in-store food sampling,
 each supermarket features an improved presentation of produce, meat and
 seafood in new display cases.  Customers can enjoy superior taste and
 unmatched quality in the produce department including 20 varieties of
 mushrooms, 16 varieties of peppers, and 14 varieties each of fresh lettuce and
 apples.  The supermarkets also offer an extensive selection of flavorful beef,
 including Certified Angus Beef, USDA Choice and USDA Prime beef, renowned for
 its texture and marbling and available at the finest restaurants.  Seafood
 lovers will appreciate a new array of the freshest fish, shrimp and other
 seafood delights.
     In addition to these improvements, other benefits that customers can
 immediately enjoy include an extensive assortment of fresh, great tasting
 natural and organic products and a tremendous selection of exclusive meats,
 prepared gourmet salads and approximately 375 specialty and gourmet cheeses in
 the deli department.  The deli also features a new Mediterranean antipasti bar
 with a wide variety of olives.
     All of these improvements also come with great value.  The Giant Eagle
 Advantage Card(R) allows customers to realize special discounts both inside
 and outside the stores, including targeted offers to shoppers' unique
 lifestyles.  There are weekly specials on thousands of items in the circular
 and Double Coupons up to $.99.  Customers can realize savings on Giant Eagle
 brand products that carry a guarantee of being as good as or better than the
 leading national brand or double-the-money-back.
     As an added convenience, Giant Eagle pharmacies in seven of the eight new
 supermarkets offer prescription medications and other healthy remedies.
     Looking forward, further improvements are planned for the following
      Kingsdale Center, West Fifth Avenue and North High Street Locations:
      - Live lobster tanks with lobsters steamed to order at the peak of
        seafood freshness.
      Kingsdale Center and Perimeter Loop Road Locations:
      - Eagle's Nest(TM) - a child learning and activity center supervised by
        qualified childcare professionals for children ages three to nine.
      North High Street and Perimeter Loop Road Locations:
      - Starbucks licensed locations - freestanding coffee locations inside
        Giant Eagle featuring whole-bean and brewed coffee, espresso beverages,
        Tazo(R) tea, and Frappuccinos(R).
      Perimeter Loop Road Location:
      - Iggle Video(R) - a complete video store featuring an extensive
        selection of new releases, classics and children's movies on DVD or VHS
        to buy or rent.
     Giant Eagle's Partnership with Central Ohio
     An active community partner, Giant Eagle provides time, talent and
 financial contributions to several Columbus-area nonprofit and charitable
 organizations, and Giant Eagle has detailed plans for a number of newly
 created and expanded Columbus community partnerships.  In addition, Giant
 Eagle is announcing a total of $50,000 in donations today alone to its new
 community partners.
     Newly Announced Community Partnerships
     The Center for Child and Family Advocacy:  Currently under construction at
 Children's Hospital, the Center for Child and Family Advocacy will facilitate
 the prevention, assessment, investigation and treatment of child abuse and
 domestic violence.  Giant Eagle's gift of $25,000 supports the capital
 campaign fund to construct the center, which is expected to be complete in the
 fall of this year.
     "The Center for Child and Family Advocacy focuses on building healthy,
 supportive families," said Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence Founder
 and Board Chair Abigail S. Wexner.  "It is heartening to know that a company
 like Giant Eagle shares our values of promoting family wellness, and we are
 pleased to be their partner in the fight to end abuse in our community."
     The Columbus Metropolitan Library Summer Reading Program:  Giant Eagle
 will be the presenting sponsor of the 2004 Summer Reading Program, which
 encourages children of all ages to read throughout the summer months to help
 maintain reading skills in preparation for the school year.  More than 60,000
 Central Ohio children and teenagers participate in this program annually.
 Giant Eagle is the presenting sponsor of this popular program via a $20,000
     King Arts Complex:  Located in Columbus' near east side, the King Arts
 Complex offers diverse performing, cultural and educational programs and
 performances throughout the year.  Giant Eagle will become a leadership
 sponsor of The Summer Arts Camp, a highly sought after program that attracts
 children ages five to twelve from across Central Ohio, via a $5,000
     Mid-Ohio Food Bank:  Since entering the Columbus market with its first two
 supermarkets in November of 2000, Giant Eagle has worked closely with the Mid-
 Ohio FoodBank to get food to needy families across Ohio.  Giant Eagle's annual
 contribution of food has been significant, donating 35% of the total meat
 received by the FoodBank for distribution throughout 20 central and eastern
 Ohio counties.
     "As a not-for-profit organization dedicated to feeding hungry people, we
 are thankful for the ongoing partnership we have had with Giant Eagle since
 they debuted in this market three years ago," said Executive Director of the
 Mid-Ohio FoodBank Matt Habash.  "As they continue to expand their presence in
 Central Ohio, we appreciate their resourcefulness in providing fresh,
 perishable foods as well as equipment and food management expertise."
     In addition to the new partnerships, Giant Eagle confirmed commitments or
 presented contributions to ongoing partners including:
      Our Partners:  Existing
      - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio
      - Columbus Recreation and Parks Department
      - Columbus Symphony Orchestra - Popcorn Pops
      - Directions for Youth & Families
      - First Night Columbus
      - Hope Street Kids
      - Mid-Ohio FoodBank
      - National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Ohio Buckeye Chapter
      - United Way of Central Ohio
     Giant Eagle's Grand Opening Festivities
     The grand opening celebrations will begin Sunday, February 8, and will
 continue with special in-store events and food sampling, Blue Jackets player
 and mascot appearances, community activities, and sweepstakes throughout the
 month of February at all participating Columbus-area locations including a 2-
 year lease on a 2004 HUMMER H2, a 42" JVC Plasma TV and $500 worth of free
     About Giant Eagle
     Giant Eagle Inc., ranked 26 on Forbes magazine's largest private
 corporations list and recently named Progressive Grocer's Retailer of the
 Year, is one of the nation's largest food retailers and food distributors with
 more than $4.7 billion in annual sales.  Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle, Inc.
 has grown to be the number one supermarket retailer in the region with 138
 corporate and 84 independently owned and operated stores throughout western
 Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland.
     An active community partner, Giant Eagle provides support for local food
 banks, community events, the United Way of Central Ohio, MidOhio FoodBank,
 Directions for Youth, The Salvation Army, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin
 County, Champion for Children and other nonprofit organizations.  The company
 has also created education initiatives such as Apples For The Students, which
 has provided millions of dollars in computer equipment, software and other
 classroom learning tools for local schools.  Further information can be found
 at .
      CONTACT: Lisa Hinson          Rob Borella
               Hinson LTD           Giant Eagle, Inc.
               614.416.7100         412.967.3637

SOURCE Giant Eagle, Inc.