Our History

Giant Eagle supermarkets have proudly served our customers for more than 80 years.

We’re building on our tradition to bring you the freshest, most convenient and friendliest experience.

Learn the history of Giant Eagle and how our foundation of passion, hard work, innovation and competitive spirit helped us become a grocery store that has continued to demonstrate the values of family and community for four generations.

1918-1950s

A Family-Built Business

 

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 — had 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

  • 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.
  • Expands the average store size to 15,000 square feet.

 

1960s – 1970s

The Innovations Continue

 

  • 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.
  • Responds to inflation with low prices and the introduction of generic products.
  • Emphasizes value-driven, company-owned brands like Food Club, from Topco.
  • Introduces open-code dating.
  • Establishes first in-store bakeries for "from scratch" baked goods.
  • 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 – 1990s

50 Years and Still Going Strong

 
  • Celebrates 50 years in the business.
  • 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, Apples for the Students and introduces Cookie Cards, proceeds of which benefit local children's hospitals.
  • Grows to 137 stores, ranging in size from 106,000 square-foot superstores to small neighborhood markets.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

2000s and Beyond

Building on Tradition

 

  • Operates more than 400 retail locations, ranging in size from 120,000 square-foot supermarkets to small neighborhood markets and fuel and convenience locations.
  • Employs more than 36,000 Team Members (employees) throughout stores, retail support centers and offices.
  • 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. 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.