"The idea is to push fresh as soon as people come in."
That’s Paul Chapman, director of bakery and deli, leading a tour of Landover, Md.-based Giant Food’s new supermarket in suburban Baltimore, the first location to be built from the ground up with Giant’s new in-store format and design.
Giant Food at Mills Station
10210 Mill Run Circle
Owings Mills, MD 21117
Aug. 23, 2019
Total square footage
Selling area in square feet
22 (8 mainline, 8 self-checkout, 3 pharmacy,
2 Starbucks, 1 prepared food)
6 a.m.-midnight, Mon.-Sat.; 6 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun.
Director of Strategic Planning and Execution Gary Budd, also on hand for the mid-November visit to the new 67,000-square-foot market, elaborates: “We’ve built the store to flow in a very clear fashion so that when a shopper enters the store, they can begin with fresh produce right away, and then move seamlessly from our full-service departments right to prepared items, the deli and bakery.”
Indeed, the Giant team seems to have pulled out all the stops to deliver a seamless fresh experience, from brand-new signature items to refreshed historic ones.
Upgraded and enhanced features at the new store include expanded hot and prepared food selections, fresh sushi, an extensive organic section, and expanded cheese, deli, meat and seafood departments. There are also full-service pharmacy and floral, a Starbucks coffee shop, and a PNC Bank branch.
The Owings Mills store is part of Giant’s larger capital investment of $175 million that was announced in December 2018 and includes several new stores, along with redevelopment packages for most existing locations. This location is part of the emerging Mills Station development, which includes a Lowe’s home improvement center, a Costco warehouse store, smaller retail shops, dining, and space for future tenants.
“Giant has plans to continue to remodel and open new stores with this same format over the next few years,” notes Ira Kress, Giant’s interim president. “Over the next three years, our goal is for all 163 of our stores to feature the same exact in-store design. We know that some stores may house slightly varied formats based on construction, but we look forward to bringing our new design to every single Giant location.”
The Real Meal Deal
As shoppers enter the Owings Mills store, the expansive produce department sweeps in from the left, with Starbucks on the right. Straight ahead, and extending through the rear of the store, is an avenue of fresh.
About Giant Food
Landover, Md.-based Giant Food operates 163 supermarkets, including 153 full-service pharmacies, in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia, and employs approximately 20,000 associates.
The banner dates back to 1936, when N.M. Cohen and Samuel Lehrman founded Giant Food Inc. and opened Washington, D.C.’s first supermarket. The company’s first Virginia store opened in 1941, and the chain entered Baltimore in 1955. In 1958, Giant opened its headquarters and distribution center in Landover. In 1994, the banner expanded into Delaware.
Giant Food is a division of Ahold Delhaize USA, which also includes Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant Food Stores, Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion, Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford and Chicago-based grocery delivery service Peapod. Ahold Delhaize USA is No. 4 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.
“The community response to the new store has been excellent,” adds Store Manager Lisa Schepers, a 30-year Giant veteran. ”Shoppers have been happy with the various features and expanded departments. When shoppers first walk into the store, we often hear how impressed they are with the expanded hot and full-service bars, as well as how easy it is to get around the store and knowing which paths to take. The store continues to do very well, and we are excited by all of the positive feedback.”
So far, Giant’s efforts are having the desired effect.
“We want our customers to leave happy, feeling good,” Kress says. “Customers have different needs, and each shop can accomplish different goals. They may be trying to figure out what’s for dinner and are looking for inspiration, and we want to make them feel inspired. They may be looking for healthy options to feel good about what they’re feeding their family, and we want to provide this for them. They may be looking for a quick meal on the go for themselves, and we want to be their solution. They may be looking to quickly run in and get that one special ingredient, and we want to help them get in and out quickly. They may be looking to stretch their budget, and we want them to feel good about the great deals they find in our stores. They may be doing their routine weekly shop, and we want to ensure the experience they have while they shop — whether that’s through in-store sampling of delicious products or a friendly interaction with an associate — leaves them feeling good.
“Bottom line: We are in the food business but realize it’s really a people business,” Kress continues. “We have thousands of opportunities every day to make our customers feel good about shopping with us, and that’s how we want customers feeling when they come away from a visit to one of our stores.”