New State College Giant store set to open

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The Giant supermarket at Hills Plaza is scheduled to open June 7, while the store’s East College Avenue location will close the day before, the company announced Tuesday.

The grocery store announced its intentions to swap locations in September 2017 to “greatly enhance the shopping experience.” Construction on the Hills Plaza location began in October.

About 60 jobs were created because of the move, bringing the total to 165. The 68,000-square-foot store plans to operate between 6 a.m. and midnight daily, according to a company press release.

The first 200 customers in line on the store’s opening day can expect to receive a reusable shopping bag, a package of English muffins and “other opening savings,” according to the company.

“Offering our customers a larger store means we are adding plenty of fresh ideas and new convenient amenities to their Giant shopping experience,” store manager Wendy Evans said in a statement. “From an expanded offering of fresh, quality products to online shopping and in-store beer and wine, our newest store offers something for all of our State College customers.”

The store also plans to have a “Beer & Wine Eatery,” stocked with more than 300 local and national drinks. The 30-seat area is scheduled to be open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays, according to the company.

An in-store Starbucks is also set to be open daily from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., the company said.

A tenant has not occupied the plaza’s largest anchor space since Ames closed in 2002 due to a corporation-wide bankruptcy.

A Giant at Hills Plaza in State College will fill space formerly occupied by Ames. Phoebe Sheehan

Giant’s relocation leaves Walmart as the only supermarket on the east side of the immediate State College area. Giant also has a location at Northland Center, which will remain open.

The pharmacy at the Northland Center location closed in April after the company reviewed its financial performance, according to company spokeswoman Ashley Flower.

“It is in no way a reflection of our talented pharmacy or store team. As is common practice for any retailer, we regularly evaluate our portfolio of stores and our pharmacies are a part of that review,” Flower wrote in an email. “After a careful and thorough review of our pharmacy business at the location, it was determined that it no longer made financial sense to continue operate the pharmacy. It is business as usual for the rest of the store.”

A full-service pharmacy will be located in the new Hills Plaza location.

Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.