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 locations: 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 contribution. 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 contribution. 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 groceries. 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 GiantEagle.com . CONTACT: Lisa Hinson Rob Borella Hinson LTD Giant Eagle, Inc. 614.416.7100 412.967.3637 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Giant Eagle, Inc.