our history

1920s | 1930s | 1940s-50s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s


Associates outside the Carlisle Meat Market, the company's first store.

1923: The story begins--David “D. J.” Javitch opens a two-man butcher shop called the Carlisle Meat Market. His goal? To offer the best products at the fairest price


The first GIANT Food Shopping Center sold both dry goods and perishables - a new concept at the time.

1937: David Javitch buys a store in Lewistown, PA and names it the GIANT Food Shopping Center. This store offers dry goods and perishables under one roof – a new concept at the time.

1938: Encouraged by growing customer demand, the original Carlisle Meat Market moves to a new location and becomes the city’s first modern self-service supermarket.

1939: Fire destroys the Carlisle Meat Market, but David Javitch and his ambitious crew set up shop in a garage within three days. The store is completely rebuilt in 10 weeks.

The company continues to grow through the start of the Great Depression, peaking at 435 stores.


Free parking and motorized checkouts are just a few of the amenities shoppers found at the Carlisle Food Market.

1953: The Carlisle Meat Market relocates and gets a new name: the Carlisle Food Market. New features included a motorized checkout, 100-car parking lot and self-defrosting frozen food cases.


GIANT introduced an employee training fund in the late 1960s to encourage associate growth.

1968: The company embarks on a plan of steady growth, opening new stores in suburban areas. The ninth store opens in Harrisburg, PA, and David’s son, Lee Javitch, becomes President of GIANT Food Stores.

1969: An employee training fund is introduced to promote and provide incentives for continued employee growth.


The acquisition of MARTIN’S stores fuels the company’s growth.

1970: The company’s growth accelerates with the purchase of the MARTIN’S chain in Hagerstown, MD.

1972: Nick Riso joins the company as Vice President of Sales and Operations. Nick introduces Everyday Low Prices and becomes company president in 1979 as Lee Javitch assumes the position of Chairman.

1973: GIANT/MARTIN’S marks its 50th anniversary by launching a seven-story hot air balloon from its newest store in Harrisburg.

1977: A new Meat Apprentice Training program is introduced, giving associates hands-on experience in their position.


Company president Allan Noddle becomes a dynamic spokesperson for GIANT/MARTIN’S in radio and television ads.

1982: Barcode scanning is introduced into checkouts at all stores.

GIANT/MARTIN’S enters into an agreement with Ahold, a Netherlands-based food retailer. Founded in 1887, Ahold’s anchor business is the Albert Heijn grocery chain in Holland. They’re now a multi-faceted international company involved in manufacturing and selling food and other goods.

1982: The uniform review project is initiated based on employee feedback. New orange and brown uniforms take comfort and promotion of a professional image into consideration.

1988: Allan Noddle becomes President of GIANT/MARTIN’S as the 50th store opens. Well known for his dedication to the business, Allan serves as a dynamic spokesperson in GIANT/MARTIN’S radio and television campaigns


GIANT/MARTIN’S stores become one-stop shopping destinations with expanded offerings and departments.

1990: Paving the way for green initiatives to come, GIANT/ MARTIN’S launches new reusable canvas shopping bags.

1997: Tony Schiano becomes President and CEO. Under Tony’s 10-year leadership, GIANT/MARTIN’S doubles its store count to 143 and nearly triples sales and operating earnings. Stores become one-stop shops with on-site gas stations, expanded deli and bakery departments and organic produce. New EasyScan selfcheckout registers are created to make shopping more convenient. Other technologies, including EasyWeigh, EasyShop self-scan, and Shopping Solutions kiosks, are introduced at select stores.


GIANT opens the first GIANT To Go in Lancaster, PA.

2000: The BONUSCARD launches, unlocking new savings and loyalty programs.

2002: “Quality. Selection. Savings. Every Day” becomes the company’s new marketing slogan.

2005: The Gas Extra Rewards program launches.

The first GIANT To Go opens in Lancaster, PA. More than a typical convenience store, GIANT To Go offers fresh produce, deli sandwiches and bakery items.

GIANT/MARTIN’S opens the first Super Food Store in Camp Hill, PA. This store offers prepared meals, a specialty cheese shop, a childcare center, an in-store nutritionist, a cooking school, a wi-fi café, Cook’s Corner, Staples, a Hallmark shop and a Nature’s Promise Marketplace. Two more Super Food Stores follow – one in Willow Grove, PA and the other in Harrisburg, PA.

2006: GIANT/MARTIN’S acquires 13 former Clemens stores and one FoodSource in the greater Philadelphia area.


GIANT celebrates its grand opening in Willow Grove, PA.

2010: GIANT/MARTIN’S becomes part of the Greater Richmond and Williamsburg, VA community with the acquisition of 25 stores from Ukrop’s Super Markets.

2012: GIANT/MARTIN’S acquires 15 Genuardi’s stores in the Philadelphia region.

2013: GIANT/MARTIN’S celebrates 90 years and sets out to complete 90 days of community giving.