Giant Food to Open Prototype Store in Pa. Shopping Center

CARLISLE, Pa. -- Giant Food Stores, LLC, based here, will be opening a 91,000-square-foot prototype store with about 27,000 square feet of mezzanine space in a Camp Hill, Pa.-based property owned by Port Washington, N.Y.-based real estate investment trust Cedar Shopping Centers. The store will be the largest in the Giant/Martin's Food Markets chain.

The store won't open until the end of October, according to Giant spokesman Denny Hopkins. At that time, the building where Giant currently has its existing 42,000-square-foot store, which is also located in the center, will be demolished to make way for a new L.A. Fitness facility that is expected to be constructed in the summer of 2006.

"It's really a concept store," Hopkins explained of the new Giant unit, noting that the new location would feature "some advances in technology and additional services that have not been seen before in a Giant store." He declined to give further details. The store was built to answer the major consumer needs of convenience and solutions, he added, as well as "making supermarket shopping a better experience." Hopkins said that the company saw the new store as a test and would be analyzing its performance.

In an earlier statement, the company said that the new store would feature the grocer's new organic and natural brand of products, as well as a full-time nutritionist to advise shoppers. It also noted that the location would include a culinary school and specialty cheese department, among other new sections for the store, and necessitate the hiring of about 288 employees. The current Camp Hill store has 150 associates.

Giant, a subsidiary of Ahold, currently operates 101 stores as Giant Food Stores, 152 stores as Tops Markets, and 21 stores as Martin's Food Markets in a six-state market area, employing almost 37,000 associates.
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