Our History

Giant Eagle® supermarkets have proudly served our customers for more than 80 years. This is our story.
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We're building on our tradition.

1918 to 1950s

Three families — Goldstein, Porter and Chait — build a small grocery company called Eagle Grocery. The business is a success, and the Eagle chain expands to 125 stores. In 1928, the families sell Eagle Grocery to the Kroger Company. As part of their arrangement with Kroger, the families agree to leave the grocery business for three years.

In the meantime, two families — Moravitz and Weizenbaum — have been building their own successful chain of grocery stores named OK Grocery. In 1931, the five families—Goldstein, Porter, Chait, Moravitz, and Weizenbaum — combine forces to form Giant Eagle. The first Giant Eagle supermarket opens on Brownsville Road in 1936. Throughout the 30s and 40s, through the hardships of the Great Depression and World War II, the chain of Giant Eagle supermarkets and OK Grocery Food Stores grows steadily throughout Pittsburgh-area neighborhoods.

1950s: Pioneers of the Modern Supermarket

  • Giant Eagle delivers value and convenience to growing families in the post-war Pittsburgh region.
  • Introduces its own trading stamp program, Profit Sharing (P.S.) Blue Stamps, which leads to more growth for the company.
  • Stays ahead of the trends as one of the first grocers in Pittsburgh to introduce vertical glass-front freezer cases.
  • Establishes a gourmet food section.
  • Begins offering seasonal consumer products like plastic lawn furniture and snow shovels.
  • Introduces Blue Ribbon Beef.
  • Expands the average store size to 15,000 square feet.

1960s: Simplifying Grocery Shopping

  • Giant Eagle updates its programs in response to consumer demand and the industry's direction.
  • Responds to consumers' wishes by discontinuing Blue Stamps and replacing them with lower prices, surprising the grocery industry and spurring an article in the Wall Street Journal.
  • Computerizes buying system and mechanizes order filling and loading procedures.
  • Purchases the former Kroger warehouse in Lawrenceville to more than double its warehouse area.
  • Opens 20,000 square-foot store at South Hills Village and updates other stores, demonstrating its commitment to ongoing improvement.
  • Arranges with the G.C. Murphy Co. to build supermarkets next to new Murphy's Marts department stores around the Pittsburgh area.

1970s: The Innovations Continue

  • Giant Eagle continues to be the "Money Savers," helping families cope with lean economic times.
  • Responds to inflation with low prices and the introduction of generic products.
  • Emphasizes value-driven, company-owned brands like Food Club, from Topco.
  • Makes lowest price pledge.
  • Introduces open-code dating.
  • Establishes first in-store bakeries for "from scratch" baked goods.
  • Expands deli sections.
  • Builds a 481,000 square foot warehouse in Pittsburgh's West End.
  • Stores remain open for 24 hours for the first time.
  • Establishes store hours on Sundays to provide shopping seven days a week.

1980s: 50 Years and Going as Strong as Ever

  • Giant Eagle continues to lead the industry by expanding in-store services.
  • Celebrates 50 years in the business.
  • Operates 52 stores.
  • Acquires Tamarkin, a retail and wholesale grocer in Youngstown, OH.
  • Opens first independently owned store in Monaca.
  • Introduces Absolute Minimum Pricing, a move that attracts national attention and helps drive food prices in the Pittsburgh region down from the country's highest to one of its lowest.
  • Builds on store-within-a-store convenience by adding pharmacy, floral, automotive, housewares, books, greeting cards, photo development and video rentals.
  • Installs efficient bar code scanners at registers, as well as convenient ATMs.
  • Continues community involvement with Round-up for the Hungry, Smash 'em Cash 'em recycling services and Apples for the Students.
  • Introduces Cookie Cards, proceeds of which benefit local children's hospitals.

1990s: Accommodating Busy Families

  • Giant Eagle further simplifies grocery shopping for busy customers.
  • Grows to 137 stores, ranging in size from 106,000 square-foot superstores to small neighborhood markets.
  • Introduces the Eagle's Nest®, an in-store, supervised learning activity center for shoppers' children.
  • Adds in-store services including dry cleaning and laundry, and in-store banking.
  • Establishes Nature's Basket®, making it easier for our health-conscious customers to find food and information resources that fit their lifestyle — all in one place.
  • Enhances customer services with new in-store banking operations with flexible hours and at the checkout, the ability to use banking cards to pay without cash or check.
  • Rolls out the Giant Eagle Advantage Card®, making it easy for customers to rent movies, cash checks and take advantage of special discounts and loyalty rewards.
  • Continues supporting communities with sponsorships including the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic, local sports teams and countless community events.

2000 and Beyond: Building on Tradition

  • Giant Eagle continues its commitment to customer convenience and value.
  • Operates more than 400 retail locations, ranging in size from 120,000 square-foot supermarkets to small neighborhood markets and fuel and convenience locations.
  • With the purchase of Riser Foods in Cleveland and County Markets in Maryland, Giant Eagle now has stores throughout western Pennsylvania, central and northern Ohio, northern West Virginia and western Maryland.
  • Employs more than 36,000 Team Members (employees) throughout stores, retail support centers and offices.
  • Expands the menu and prepared foods offerings at Giant Eagle. Customers can choose from a variety of prepared entrees and side dishes, hot and cold sandwiches, pizza, chicken, sushi and a host of other healthy, wholesome meals for busy families.
  • Grown line of Giant Eagle Own Brands products and introduces the double your money back if not completely satisfied guarantee.
  • Introduces GetGo from Giant Eagle gas stations and convenience stores and launches customer loyalty gas program fuelperks!. Today, Giant Eagle operates 190 stand-alone and pad site GetGo locations.
  • Develops a brand new innovative food destination with Market District, a format that invites customers to experience an exploration of food that is inspiring and enjoyable and includes an array of gourmet, specialty and organic foods.
  • Gift card sales are introduced.
  • The New Brunswick, Ohio Giant Eagle supermarket becomes the world's first LEED-certified supermarket, and the company now operates eight LEED certified locations. Giant Eagle continues to receive numerous local, state and federal awards for its commitment to environmental sustainability and waste reduction.
  • Develops Giant Eagle Express, a supermarket/convenience store hybrid.
  • Experimenting with various formats, Giant Eagle opened its first Valu King in Eastlake, Ohio. This discount format offers fresh food and outrageously low prices. This year in FY2014, all Valu King locations are being converted to our latest discount banner, Good Cents Grocery + More.
  • Introduced free pre-natal vitamins for customers.