Giant Food Stores will open its location in Kutztown on Feb. 27 at 8 a.m.
The store is located at 15100 Kutztown Road.
On Feb. 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Giant set up a stand in the McFarland Student Union to promote their grand opening. They offered free samples of food and writing utensils while encouraging students to apply for their BonusCard program.
Some students, such as Deidgre Green and Candice Brown, stopped at the table to sign up for BonusCards. Green decided to shop at Giant because it is closer to campus than Weis. Brown had a Giant in her old neighborhood and said, “the food was pretty good.”
The table also advertised their addition to the Bear Bucks program.
They will have two checkout stations designated for Bear Bucks. Giant joins other places that students shop for food, such as Weis Markets and Mr. Food Convenience Store.
Steve Bowlby, Giant’s store manager, is also working to get the shuttle service to take students to the store.
Bowlby hopes the Wi-Fi café will be inviting to college students.
“It gives [students] the opportunity to get off campus,” said Bowlby.
He also believes the natural food aisle will be popular with students. The aisle, although featured in many of Giant’s stores, will be longer than those in older stores.
On Feb. 26, the night before the grand opening, the store will hold a preview party from 5 to 8 p.m. for the store associates and invited guests.
Bowlby also offered Giant as a sponsor for club and organization fundraisers.
Student jobs will be available in the future as well. The approximately 150 associate positions were filled for the opening by transfers from the Trexlertown and Temple stores. They will accept applications, according to Bowlby, since some will leave after graduating in May.
The store will face competition with Weis Markets, which is located across town at 15260 Kutztown Rd. Both stores offer a reward card and gas rewards program.
“It’s a competitive market between Weis and Giant,” said Bowlby. “Competitors will take it up a notch when there’s other competitors [around].”
The proximity of Kutztown University was a deciding factor in the store’s location, according to Chris Brand, Public and Community Relations Manager of Giant. Giant is located near other Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) schools, such as Bloomsburg, Shippensburg, West Chester and Indiana.
Brand said the company had also received requests from customers for a Kutztown location. After conducting market research, they found the location would be suitable.
Bowlby said Giant had wanted to bring a store to the area for awhile. He said that one of the components of the research was the grocery store choice of customers in the area. Researchers found that over half of the customers in the area drove to the closest Giant, either in Trexlertown or Temple.
“We’re excited to bring Giant to the vibrant Kutztown community,” said Brand. “We feel our many offerings will strongly resonate with our new neighbors.”
The Kutztown Giant is the company’s 199th store.
By Emily Leayman