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Giant/Carlisle Advances In Pittsburgh Market With New Connellsville Martin's

CONNELLSVILLE, Pa. -- Giant Food Stores, Inc. will cut the ribbon on a new Martin's Food Store here tomorrow morning, which will mark the westernmost location in the Keystone State for the Carlisle, Pa.-based Ahold subsidiary.

Denny Hopkins, v.p. of advertising and public relations, told Progressive Grocer that when he traveled to the southwestern Pittsburgh suburb two weeks ago to present the new Martin's marketing plan, "it was apparent that local officials and residents are really anxious to have the store open."

The 45,000-square-foot, 24-hour supermarket, located at the intersection of routes 119 and 201, will feature six gas pumps that will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Hopkins said offering fuel will be a "tremendous value-added service for our consumers." As a new community and new market for Martin's, Hopkins said Giant officials are anticipating a warm welcome on opening day. "We feel we will fill a nice void in the market."

Due to trademark-related restrictions, Martin's is the banner Giant flies in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and western Pennsylvania. The chain also currently operates stores in Indiana, Altoona, and DuBois, Pa., among other locations.

When asked about further expansion into the Pittsburgh market, Hopkins said, "We have no immediate plans at this point for further movement west," noting that "We are very happy with the progress of our regional stores in Indiana and Dubois, which have come along very nicely. But our main emphasis over the next five years will be down in the southern Interstate-81 corridor through Roanoke, Va."

Hopkins said Martin's has existing sites in Stanton, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro and Stephens City, Va. among others. "We see that corridor as having very good growth potential."

As for the new Connellsville store, key departments will include a full-service Corner Bakery Shoppe featuring upscale desserts, artisan bread, and whipped cream desserts; a full-service Butcher Shoppe and self-service meat department offering fresh-cut meats and Certified Angus Beef; a Market Square Deli and Deli Express featuring premium deli products, rotisserie chicken, and a wide assortment of fresh prepared foods in the Carryout Cafe; a full-service Seafood Market featuring a lobster tank and free steaming; a full-service floral shop; and a pharmacy.

Martin's will also make it convenient for its new customers to find meal ideas with Recipe Solutions, an interactive computer kiosk that provides recipes and a listing of ingredients for new ideas for dinner, a snack, or a special celebration.

An enhanced customer service area will also enable customers to make Western Union transactions; purchase money orders, postage stamps, and lottery tickets; and pay utility bills, among other services.

Giant Food Stores, as one of four retail operating companies under Ahold USA, currently operates 101 stores as Giant Food Stores, 152 stores as Tops Markets, and 21 stores as Martin's Food Markets.

--Meg Major
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