PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Giant Eagle’s first foray into discount grocery shopping in the Pittsburgh market starts this weekend.
The new Good Cents store opens on Sunday on McKnight Road next to the new Bottom Dollar discount grocery store.
It was originally going to be named Value King, after the Giant Eagle subsidiary that will run it, because the store is patterned after Giant Eagle Value Kings in the Midwest.
So to see what local shoppers can expect, Mary Robb Jackson travelled to just outside of Cleveland and visited the brand new Value King in Brooklyn Heights.
At 40,000 square feet, it will be similar in size and concept to what will be offered at the Good Cents store in Ross.
The store is wide open and bright with most of the products stacked along the aisles in cardboard cartons.
Signage is simple and frills and extras are trimmed to keep prices down, something shoppers like Amy Jones, a married mother of three, really appreciate.
“The prices beat everything,” Jones said. “The meat is the best bargain. The meat is the cheapest than any other grocery store.”
Dan Skojka, who does all the cooking for his family, likes the fact that there’s a broader selection of products than in some discount grocery stores.
“You have your brand name stuff and your off-brand stuff – so if you’re looking to save money you could definitely find it here,” Skojka said.
Other services that Value King offers and Good Cents will offer, which some discounters don’t, is a cheese section with 60 different varieties, and a full service deli counter.
Both stores do accept coupons, but do not double them. There are no gasoline “perks” and while you can use credit cards, you cannot pay with a check.
While you don’t have to pay a quarter for a shopping cart like at some discounters, plastic bags are a nickel apiece and you must bag your own groceries.
Janet Cho, a retail writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer said there’s a reason why low-cost supermarkets like Bottom Dollar, Aldi and Good Cents/Value King are proliferating.
“Part of it is the recession and the fact that people have been trained to look for bargains,” Cho said.
She also believes increased competition is driving the trend.
“I think all supermarkets survive by taking customers away from other supermarkets,” Cho said.
Marilyn, a retiree, loves it.
“Well it’s a fixed income – so of course you have to watch what you spend,” she said.
Cho said Giant Eagle has found a lot of success in discount groceries in other markets and she predicts the company will be tracking the North Hills store very closely.
“Giant Eagle is trying to get people at all income levels and all bargain hunting levels. I think that’s a pretty smart strategy,” Cho said.