New Giant Grocery Store Opens Friday, College Avenue Location Set to Close
June 06, 2019 10:56 AM
by Geoff Rushton
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While one State College area Giant supermarket is ready to open, another is set to close.

The new Giant grocery store, located at 2121 S. Atherton St. in the anchor spot of Hills Plaza, will open at 8 a.m. on Friday. A ribbon-cutting will be held at 7:40 a.m., when the company will present $5,000 in donations to Alpha Fire Company, State College Area School District, State College Food Bank, Centre County Camp Cadet on behalf of State College police, and Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital.

With the opening of the new, 68,000-square-foot store, Giant Food Stores will close its 20-year-old supermarket at 2222 E. College Ave. at 6 p.m. on Thursday. That store opened in 1999 as the marquee tenant of the then-new Nittany Commons shopping center.

“Offering our customers a larger store means we are adding plenty of fresh ideas and new convenient amenities to their Giant shopping experience,” Wendy Evans, manager of the new store, said in May. “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 Hills Plaza location, which will be open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight, will add 60 full- and part-time jobs, bringing its total number of staff members to 165.

A 30-seat Beer & Wine Eatery within the store will be open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m.-10 p.m. on Sundays. It will offer 300 varieties of local and national beer and wine and customers will be able to dine on salads, sushi and an Asian hot bar.

An in-store Starbucks also will be open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. The new store will have a full-service pharmacy as well. According to Giant, among its fresh food departments, customers will see an expanded produce section. 

 The first 200 customers on Friday will receive a free reusable bag and a pack of English muffins.

Giant first submitted plans to College Township for the new store in 2017 and began work in 2018. The supermarket will be the first tenant in the Hills Plaza anchor store in 17 years, since its previous tenant, Ames department store, filed for bankruptcy in 2002. Ames had been in the space since 1999, when the company took over the former Hills Department Store. 

The total anchor property was 80,000 square feet and has been divided into two separate stores, according Hills Plaza owner Vita & Vita Realty. The remaining 12,000 square feet will be renovated, but a tenant for that space has not yet been announced.

The former State College Diner building was also demolished to create additional parking.

The 47-year-old Hills Plaza already includes one grocery store. Weis Markets is located in the anchor spot of the South Hills portion of the plaza, south of Rolling Ridge Drive.

Giant first entered the State College area market with its Northland Center store along North Atherton Street in 1989. That store will remain open.

A new tenant for the East College Avenue Giant building has not been announced. With Giant closing, the Benner Pike Walmart will be the only grocery store on the eastern side of the Centre Region and the only supermarket between State College and Bellefonte.

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