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LANCASTER, Pa. -- On Tuesday morning, Ahold’s Giant Carlisle division opened its first convenience store here in southeast Pennsylvania. The 4,422-square-foot store sells gasoline and traditional convenience store categories, along with a basic selection of fresh meat and produce.
Giant To Go is a testing ground for a new retail concept that Giant plans to expand, said Sander van der Laan, president and CEO of Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant Food Stores. The store is serviced by both a distributor (for candy and snacks) and Giant’s Lititz, Pa. supermarket location (for baked goods, groceries and other items). Local regulations prohibit the sale of beer in the new c-store.
"This is a new benchmark in the rich history of Giant Food Stores," added van der Laan, who successfully ran Ahold’s four Albert Heijn formats in The Netherlands before taking the helm of Giant in July. "While we call this a convenience store, it is not a convenience store in the traditional sense."
While he did not provide an expansion timetable, van der Laan told CSNews Online a second location is in the works for 2010. Giant has sold gas for about 10 years at some of its 148 mid-Atlantic supermarkets.
Looking to tap into consumers’ convenience shopping trips, several traditional supermarket companies have launched smaller footprint stores in the past year. British powerhouse Tesco currently operates about 115 Fresh & Easy small grocery locations in the Southwest U.S. and American behemoth Walmart recently opened its first Marketside convenience stores in the Phoenix market.
In addition, Giant Eagle (no connection to Giant Food) announced recently that it’s planning to expand its two-year-old Giant Eagle Express prototype store by three to five additional units over the next year or two.
Giant Food Stores to Open First Giant to Go C-Store -- April 8, 2009
Giant Eagle Express Expanding -- March 24, 2009
Big Players Think Small in Format Fights -- March 5, 2009
Fresh & Easy Opens Third Bakersfield Store -- Feb. 27, 2009