Giant Eagle Debuts Market District Express
Opens "test" location of channel-blurring grocery/c-store/restaurant/pharmacy hybrid
McMURRAY, Pa. -- "If Giant Eagle's foodie-oriented, upscale version of its grocery stores had a fling with one of its better-dressed GetGo convenience stores, the result might be the Market District Express," said The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The latest prototype in the grocer's ongoing test kitchen of supermarket/convenience store development opened Dec. 4 in McMurray, Pa.
It is a 15,500-square-foot restaurant-pharmacy-market nestled into its own parking lot next to a gas station.
"We really think this is going to be a local neighborhood store," Rob Borella, senior director of corporate communications, told the newspaper as he walked the site showing off the 84-seat indoor dining room framed in reclaimed barn wood next to the prepared foods counters, the self-serve frozen yogurt station, the produce section and the beer department carrying more than 300 varieties.
Giant Eagle considers this location a test but the company already has plans to add two Market District Express locations in Ohio, one in the Columbus area and the other in the Cleveland area, an indication of the confidence officials have that they've got something consumers want.
Market District Express will accept the grocer's loyalty cards and allow customers to earn gasoline discounts on some items, the report said.
Borella said that the new Market District Express store has the building blocks for any number of varieties of locations that could be reassembled to fit different neighborhoods--including the gas station and car wash in one place, eliminating the frozen yogurt for another store, slotting a Starbucks shop or fresh sushi rolls or in-store bakery for a third.
"You can really toggle these on and off, depending on the available real estate you have," he said, although he said some sort of parking would probably be required in any version.
The new Market District Express will employ about 120 people, which compares to 300 to 350 at a traditional Giant Eagle store, 500 to 600 at a full-size Market District grocery and 25 to 30 at a GetGo c-store.
O'Hara, Pa.-based Giant Eagle Inc. reports annual revenues of $9.9 billion with a total of 420 retail locations in various formats. It has nearly 200 GetGo c-stores in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.