PITTSBURGH -- Giant Eagle opened a 4,800-square-foot video store-within-a-store in Stow, Ohio, with a flourish of multiple promotions, including a celebrity appearance.
The Iggle Entertainment shop has more than 6,500 rental units and is typical of the video departments the retailer is opening in its new and remodeled stores, said industry sources. The name "Iggle" is derived from a Pittsburgh pronunciation of "eagle."
The retailer's mix of videos, electronic games, music, entertainment magazines and other related products in a spacious and well-designed area is one of the best examples of entertainment merchandising in the supermarket industry, observers noted. That this is representative of Giant Eagle's standard approach and not just a prototype makes it even more significant, the observers said.
Giant Eagle operates more than 100 video departments in its 140 stores, most in western Pennsylvania. The company has about a half-dozen departments similar to this one. This was apparently the retailer's largest entertainment shop so far in an Ohio store. The company's most recent store with an Iggle video department opened Nov. 13 in North Canton, Ohio.
An executive at the retailer's headquarters did not return calls for comment.
SN visited the Stow store on its grand opening day in October and found several major promotional activities going on in and around the Iggle Entertainment shop, including:
A contest with a grand prize of a trip to New York, including air tickets, Broadway show tickets, hotel accommodations and $500 in spending money. The contest was for only this store and the department was decorated in a New York motif with many Statue of Liberty hanging signs and two prominent displays. It tied in with the recent Disney sell-through release of "Oliver & Company."
A live radio remote in front of the department's separate entrance. The radio station provided a "free money machine" and gave away T-shirts.
Television soap opera star Thorsten Kaye, from "One Life to Live," was on hand to take pictures with customers and sign autographs. A line extended from the table set up in the video department out into the main part of the store.
These promotions were highlighted on the back page of a grand opening ad circular. The circular detailed the various offerings of the Iggle Entertainment department, including the books and magazines located on a 40-linear-foot wall outside the department in the main part of the store. Giant Eagle discounts paperback books and magazines 10%, children's books 20% and The New York Times best-seller hardcover books 25%.
Entertainment magazines were featured on about 22 linear feet of display space inside the entertainment department's separate entrance. Inside the department were Disney children's books, comic books and two video movie guides: "Leonard Maltin's 1997 Movie & Video Guide," and "Video Movie Guide 1997" by Nick Martin and Marsha Porter. Both sold for $7.19 and were merchandised on an endcap.
In a major coup, the store had a demonstration unit of the hard-to-get Nintendo 64 system and a handful of games for rent. Few other supermarket video departments in the country have Nintendo 64. Having Nintendo 64 reflected Giant Eagle's importance in its market as an entertainment software retailer and that it remained committed to games throughout the category's recent downturn, said observers. This was the only Giant Eagle to have Nintendo 64, said store employees and its availability was noted in the grand opening circular.
Like other Giant Eagle video departments, the Stow shop devoted significant space and inventory to video and computer games, with a total of more than 700 units for rental. There were four game demonstration stations, including Nintendo 64, Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn and Sega Genesis.
Besides Nintendo 64 and about 450 units of 16-bit games, the department had 180 Sony PlayStation and 100 Sega Saturn software units available for rental. Hardware systems for all platforms were offered for $8.99 for one day or $12.99 for two days.
The store offered video and CD-ROM games for sale. For example, budget games for the PlayStation, Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis were offered for $24.99, and cartridges for the hand-held Nintendo Game Boy system sold for $17.99.
There were about 250 pieces of top-line CD-ROM software for sale. These included "You Don't Know Jack" for $31.99, "Duke Nukem 3D" for $51.99, "Myst" for $34.99 and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" for $40.99.
Rental rates on games were $2.19 a night for PlayStation and Saturn, and $1.89 a night for Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64. Video rental rates were $2.49 a night for movies within the first 30 days of release, $2.19 for other new releases, $1.29 for catalog, and 99 cents for two nights for children's videos and audio books. Hours for the department were 8 a.m. to midnight every day.
Near the games, Giant Eagle had music compact discs and cassettes for sale. While a speed table offered value-priced products, the store's selection included many top hits and other best-selling titles. Many cassettes were priced at $8.99, while CDs were at $13.99 and $14.99.