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TOUR: GIANT Food Stores - Conshohocken, PA

GIANT Food Stores
Opened: 2006
Previous Tenants: Penn Fruit (closed 1973) > Zallie's Shop n Bag (1974-1997) > Clemens (1997-2006)
Location: 10 E Ridge Pk, Conshohocken, PA
Photographed: July 22, 2021
This GIANT doesn't look like such a remarkable store, right? Well, you're in for a surprise. This building was constructed in the 1950s or so as a Penn Fruit, and in the 1970s became a Zallie-owned Shop n Bag which was acquired by Clemens in the 90s. In 2006, Clemens was acquired by GIANT, which subsequently renovated the store.
And from this view, where we're up at a slightly higher altitude, we can see the arched-roof Penn Fruit building remains! For an idea of the layout while we're father away here, we enter on the far left side of the storefront (see the second triangle to the left), to an expansion room holding produce on the left side, floral/pharmacy on the right side, and in the back, the beer/wine department with deli, bakery, and cheese. The meat and seafood department are on the back wall of the main supermarket, with frozen and dairy in the far front right corner.
We can definitely tell this is an arched roof store from out here...
...although the main facade has disguised the arch on the front.
Let's head in to the grand aisle, in the left expansion. While the original Penn Fruit was about 15,000 square feet, the space has been expanded to over 40,000 square feet. We'll see evidence of expansion on both sides of the store.
For instance, the whole grand aisle is an expansion out of the original store, and I'm not sure when exactly the various expansions happened or which tenant was responsible for them.
This GIANT has the decor package I referenced a few days ago over at Bell's Market. I think it's one of the most attractive Ahold-originated decor packages in the last few years, even though it's not the newest. I also think it's a nice fit for this space. We saw a variation on this decor package in several Stop & Shops, incuding Pompton Plains.
I think the lighting is also well-done in this space, and overall I found this supermarket very pleasant. I don't typically love GIANT stores (the PA ones, of course, although I don't love the MD stores either), but I think that's mostly based on the fact that they're similar to Stop & Shop -- which is a significantly inferior Ahold Delhaize division.
Bakery and deli are at the back of the grand aisle. Again, I find this decor very attractive here and well-lit. I don't have enough experience to put my finger on exactly why I find Stop & Shop so unappealing but GIANT so much better, but that's how it is. I've also found that ACME stores in NJ seem to pretty consistently be better-run than PA stores, with a few exceptions.
Here's the beer & wine department opposite the deli in the expansion area.
And as we pass through the deli area behind the beer & wine department, we get a very nice cheese department also...
Because this store has a very odd layout, there's a lot of perimeter space. For that reason, there can be displays like this one on the perimeter walls.
But the seafood and meat counter is very small, as we see here. 
As we move into the grocery aisles, we see the first few are the Nature's Promise department, in front of the beer/wine area. The remainder of the aisles are pretty standard, although because of the expansion there are some odd corners. It also looks like there are a few mismatched aisle markers (look at the difference between aisles 2 and 3 below and aisle 6 above.
Here's a look at the natural and organic department, with the pharmacy on the front wall.
But we see that, here in aisle 7, we enter the main original Penn Fruit supermarket. And look at that arched roof! I was so excited to find that the arched roof is still exposed. Although, to be fair, I did know that before coming here (and that's the reason I came here in the first place).
The arch is beautiful! Interesting choice here to lower all the lighting over the grocery shelving. There's no lighting on the ceiling, which worked fine when I was here because of the light coming in through the front windows, but I wonder how it is later.
Of course, there's no shelving-lighting on the back aisle where there's no shelving... so we do have some hanging lighting. However, it does seem like the Penn Fruit stores didn't have much center-store hanging lighting. Check out the renovation (before and after) at that former Penn Fruit and notice that, prior to the renovation, the only center-store lighting was in the shelving, but that Food Emporium actually added hanging lighting when they replaced the shelving.
And of course, we move on to our necessary aisle 12 picture.
As we move into the last aisle (aisle 14), the back half is dairy on the outside, but in the front corner there is another expansion with the rest of the dairy department and the frozen department.
The expansion corner has a lower exposed ceiling like the grand aisle, although it feels like this ceiling is lower.
And dairy runs along the outside of that expansion.
Now before we call it a day here, we're going to look at the arch one more time!
And on the front wall, we can actually see some evidence of the former front wall's all-glass construction, where we can see some of the panels were replaced with the existing opaque panels but the framing is still there. A very cool place with a lot of supermarket history!
Tomorrow we're headed just across the street from this store to have a quick look at its main competitor. Come back to check it out!

Comments

  1. It is odd that the aisle signs are different, but it almost looks like the ones for 2 & 3 (and maybe others in that side section) are designed to mimic the design of the arched original store (see how #2 the top looks to curve downward towards the left of the photo)?

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