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Giant Food Stores and Martin’s Food Markets officially marked 90 years in the grocery business with a special celebration at the Ahold-owned banners’ hometown Carlisle, Pa., store (left) and a $9,000 donation to Project SHARE, a local interfaith nonprofit cooperative providing supplementary food and nutritional education.
“Since Giant/Martin’s was founded in Carlisle on Oct. 4 1923, our commitment to being a good neighbor has been unwavering,” noted President Rick Herring. “We celebrate with and wish all of our associates a happy 90th birthday.”
The banners’ commemorative 90 days of giving expanded on their “Living Here, Giving Here” community outreach program. The chains awarded a total of $81,000 to nine regional food bank partners. In addition, each of their 200 stores conducted at least one random act of kindness throughout the summer and into the early fall, including helping to eliminate hunger, improving children’s lives or building healthy communities.
“Our 90 days of giving enabled us to give back to our local communities and exemplified the enthusiastic and generous spirit of our associates, who we view as our best community ambassadors,” added Herring.
In addition to the party at the Carlisle, Pa., store, all of the nearly 200 Giant/Martin’s stores gave out free slices of cake and free apple slices to customers on Friday, Oct. 4.
Giant/Martin’s began in 1923, when David Javitch opened a two-man butcher shop, the Carlisle Meat Market, in central Pennsylvania. More than a decade later, Javitch bought a store in Lewistown, Pa., naming it the Giant Shopping Food Center, which offered the then-novel concept of dry goods and perishables under one roof. Giant purchased the Martin’s chain, then based in Hagerstown, Md., in 1970. During 1980s and 1990s, the stores underwent extensive modernization, as well as doubling in number.
Of late, Giant/Martin’s has expanded into such new markets as Philadelphia, and greater Richmond and Williamsburg, Va. Today it’s the leading retail grocer in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, operating 200 grocery stores and employing about 31,000 associates. Since 2005, Giant/Martin’s has donated more than $150 million in combined cash and product donations throughout its markets.