GIANT Food Stores
Previous Tenants: none
Location: 500 Progress Ave, Pottsville, PA
Photographed: November 22, 2019
It's not often that we see a really historically-preserved GIANT! That's why I wanted to be sure to visit the Progress Avenue GIANT in Pottsville, the largest town in the southern part of the Coal Region. The 29,000 square foot store isn't even that old, dating back only to 1983, but it was the oldest operating un-renovated GIANT when I visited. It closed shortly after my visit, in 2020. These days, it's been turned into a facility
for a local college.
You enter and turn left to walk through the produce department on the front wall. The grocery aisles are on the other side of the case to the right above. Frozen and dairy are on the far right side of the store, with meat on the back wall.
This is one of only a handful of stores that maintained this decor package as long as it did. This originated from Ahold in the mid-1990s and may not have been used in Stop & Shop but was used in GIANT, Edwards, and Tops (which they owned at the time). Parts of this store's decor
were based on this decor package. Interestingly enough, there was very very briefly a Food Bazaar with this decor package, when they acquired the Flatbush
store from Stop & Shop, but that decor has been all but eradicated from the store. The only remaining store I know of off the top of my head with this decor is the Stop & Shop in Piscataway, NJ, a really sad store that may close in the near future.
Produce leads into deli and bakery (although there's no in-store bakery) in the first aisle.
What amazes me is just how original this decor package stayed all the way up to 2020. No secondhand decor from other stores, no quick repaints, no removal of faded pictures (as we can see clearly around the store).
It doesn't even look like any fixtures were changed anywhere since the renovation. GIANT may have known this store was soon to close for some time, and may have been waiting for a lease to run out or something like that.
There's a much newer and larger GIANT
about three and a half miles outside of town that was previously an Insalaco's and then a Bi-Lo, but has been extensively renovated. That store is roughly double this one's size, at around 60,000 square feet.
Even the aisle markers were original right to the end! No replacing them with secondhand ones from closed or renovated stores, I guess. I do wonder how this store made it through what, two or three generations of renovations with none of them?
In the below picture, you can see the grocery shelving at the front of the store to the right, and the produce department is on the other side of that row of shelves. It was a weird boxed-in produce department, the exact opposite of what many stores do now with wide, open produce departments.
To GIANT's credit, they did maintain the store quite well with few burnt out lights, damaged ceiling tiles, scratches on the floor, and so on. In fact, the store was spotless right until the end, if my visit was any indication.
And it even had functional neon right up until the end!
11 aisles in total, with dairy and frozen in the last two.
I'm glad I got to photograph a full set of this decor before it's eliminated completely from all the Ahold stores -- which I have to imagine will be very soon.
I love these ice cream category markers in the front of the frozen department!
And a look at the rest of the freezer cases in the second-to-last aisle.
A wonderful little customer service counter in the front. Here we see some small updates, with new self-checkout registers added to the front end.
The front-end was the one thing that did receive some updates, although as we see fairly limited ones.
And as we're leaving, here's a shot from the register area across the front of the store back into the produce department. Well, I'm really glad I got to visit this store before it closed, since you really don't see that many Ahold Delhaize stores left like this one. Pottsville has a few other supermarkets, including the aforementioned GIANT and a Boyer's
that has made its home in a former ACME that hosted a variety of other stores (Insalaco's and Way Mart, as well as possibly Bi-Lo). But unfortunately we won't be seeing any of those, as we head west about four miles on Monday to Minersville for a small chain store over on The Independent Edition
I didn't recall the S&S in Piscataway having this decor, but looking at Google Maps images shows it has some elements remaining. That is definitely a sad store that doesn't have a ton of immediate competition in that part of town. Also, the Piscataway ShopRite is not a great location either.ReplyDelete
Sometime I'm going to have to take a ride out to the Martins (Giant-PA) in Keyser, WV. Last I was in the store in 2019 the decor, layout and fixtures were all original from when the store opened in the 1990s. Only reason I can think they haven't done any renovations is that the store is the only standard grocery store in Keyser.ReplyDelete
The layout of the Pottsville store is from the generation of stores just before the mirror front stores. You'd be hit with produce immediately as you enter in the pre-mirror front stores. The mirror front stores you'd enter somewhat behind the registers with a bit more open area with customer service on the left as you go into the produce section. In both models produce created a "forced" walkway towards the back of the store where you were let out into the regular grocery aisles and the few service departments that the stores had.
It is great that you were able to photograph this store for the grocery historical record. I don't think there are any other stores of this vintage still in operation in the Giant-PA fleet. Keyser is the last operating mirror front store that I know of. Hopefully it hasn't been remodeled so I can get photos of its 1990s glory.