PITTSBURGH -- Food is clearly the emphasis in any state-of-the-art supermarket, and Giant Eagle's new flagship store in the Cleveland suburb of Lyndhurst, Ohio, is no exception.
Specialized nonfood departments that compare favorably with specialty stores are a big part of Giant Eagle's strategy. For example, the chain's Iggle video and entertainment sections have a long and respected track record in video rental, and are now building up in sell-through.
Other nonfood departments of note in the new store are the Card Party, which includes a gift shop area along with Expressions from Hallmark products, and a Teddy Bear Stuffer station, where shoppers can make their own plush toys. About two dozen Giant Eagle stores have such offerings now, said Kevin Srigley, vice president, marketing.
"We've expanded the gift and Teddy Bear Stuffer offerings so we have more gift and related items in addition to cards," Srigley said. "We've also added a service component to make sure our folks are there to help customers select gifts or cards, and to stuff bears, which is different from our traditional card sections."
Twenty stores now have Teddy Bear Stuffers, from Very Beary Ventures, Agoura Hills, Calif. Twenty-five will have it by the end of the year.
The bear-stuffing enterprise -- which includes a stuffing machine, various animals to stuff, a "birth certificate" and clothing for the plush item -- is "a nice fit with the overall card and gift offering," Srigley said. "It is something special that is fun for the associates to sell and fun for the customers to do."
Near the card and gift area is the Chef's Shelf department of culinary products. "One of the things that we try to communicate to our customers is food expertise: not only what the food is, but how to use it. The Chef's Shelf section helps to round out our overall food offering to the consumer," stated Srigley.
The fixtures being used in this part of the Lyndhurst store are in less than a dozen other units, he said. "We are still in the early phases of developing our overall cookware offering to the customer in the Chef's Shelf area. Most of the items we would offer would be high quality at a good price."