About two months into its existence, Giant Heirloom Market is doing pretty much what its creators hoped it would—providing a reliable option for neighborhood shoppers and a credible rendering of a suburban supermarket brand in a tight urban space.
Unlike its full-scale sister stores operated out of Giant Food Stores’ Carlisle, Pa., headquarters, Heirloom Market in Philadelphia has no parking lot and at 9,000 square feet, is about five times smaller than the smallest suburban Giant store. The brand instead is getting by with a curated assortment built for city shoppers, bolstered by an e-commerce offer promising the full breadth of products.
WGB stopped in last week for a look:
The fresh produce department dominates the entrance and gets good light from windows along the facade. The store is at the intersection of Bainbridge Street and Grays Ferry Avenue in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood, and on the ground floor of a newly built four-story residential building.
An outpost of a local organic foods shop, Green Aisle Grocery, is just up the block but does not offer the mainstream variety available at Heirloom. A little further down Grays Ferry Avenue is an outpost of The Fresh Grocer, which may compete for some shoppers. The store Yelp users are comparing Heirloom to is Sprouts Farmers Market, which made its Philadelphia debut late last year a little closer to center city. Heirloom’s relative small size won’t likely draw Sprouts shoppers to Graduate Hospital, but it is saving its own neighborhood shoppers the trip.
From left are Paul Madarieta, Nick Meyer, Tommy McClain, Kristie Bennett and Angel Cordero. Madarieta is a former Trader Joe’s, Fresh Direct and Fresh & Easy executive recruited to help launch the Heirloom project at Giant. Meyer and McClain helped to craft the assortment and merchandising, and Cordero is the store’s manager.
Shoppers who want more than the store’s four walls can fit needn’t worry. Giant’s newly launched e-commerce brand, Giant Direct, will provide “endless aisle” capability for shoppers who can order ahead and pick up at the store, or arrange for delivery. Pictured beneath the screens are coolers to store fresh orders.
Private label—particularly Ahold Delhaize’s natural and organic Nature’s Promise line—dominates grocery selection in categories such as pet food (pictured here). Though selection is tight, it pops thanks to magnetic light strips affixed to the underside of shelves that store officials can utilize to spotlight some or all products. Messaging also highlights service.
There are no conveyor belts here, just nine self-checkout stations usually monitored by a single worker. Each station bears the name of a local street. Beer and wine, per state law, has a separate manned checkout and a separate entrance, which leads through a small seating area.