Following up on a year that saw Giant/Martin’s achieve historic omni-channel growth, the Carlisle, PA unit of Ahold Delhaize USA (ADUSA) 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 Secretary Dennis Davin at the 104th Pennsylvania Farm Show earlier this month, Giant/Martin’s unveiled plans to create a Giant Direct ecommerce fulfillment center, open two new stores, and remodel 35 existing stores in 2020 and 2021. With this investment, Giant/Martin’s will grow its commitment to the city of Philadelphia, its home market in Central Pennsylvania, and Monroe County in the Pocono Mountains region of Pennsylvania.
“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 Nick Bertram, president of Giant/Martin’s. “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.”
The company experienced unprecedented growth in 2019 as the high-volume merchant opened 17 new stores (organically and though acquisition) and launched two new brands. A year ago, the retailer debuted its new Giant Heirloom Market format in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood of Philadelphia, followed by two additional Philadelphia locations in the University City and Northern Liberties neighborhoods. In February 2018, Giant/Martin’s opened a first-of-its kind Giant Direct e-commerce hub in Lancaster, PA, and began to rollout the Giant Direct brand to its stores. In the past 10 months, the retailer’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 Keystone State 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 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.”
Keeping its focus on growth in Philadelphia, Giant/Martin’s will construct its largest omni-channel fulfillment center in support of its e-commerce brand, Giant Direct. This will be the first Giant Direct facility to open in Philadelphia and it is expected to bring more than 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/Martin’s will partner with Peapod Digital Labs, an ADUSA company, to drive the development of this innovative facility.
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, the former Weis store which closed in September 2019, will see construction begin on the existing structure in early 2020. The new store will bring approximately 150 new jobs to the community. That unit should open later this year. Giant currently operates eight stores in Dauphin County, employing approximately 1,550 associates.
Additionally, 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/Martin’s for continuing to invest in Pennsylvania.”
This capital investment follows the retailer’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.
Giant said it plans to remodel 35 stores in various locations across its operating footprint that, in some cases, may include a new Beer & Wine Eatery. The 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,” explained 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/Martin’s currently employs more than 27,000 people statewide. In 2019, Giant’s 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 its new plans, Giant/Martin’s said it remains committed to investing in its workforce of more than 33,000 team members who work in its approximately 190 stores in PA, MD, VA and WV. The retailer noted it 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/Martin’s stated that it 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/Martin’s associates, including paid time off, education reimbursement, healthcare and disability coverage. The new parental leave benefits took effect on December 29, 2019.