All the local stuff at the new Giant Heirloom Market in Grad Hospital

It’ll have a DIY salad dressing station and something called a “produce chef.”

Courtesy of GIANT

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We’re in somewhat of a golden age of supermarkets in Philadelphia right now. Big chains are bringing urban-sized stores that blend in with the city grid to more and more neighborhoods — and instead of stealing business from smaller vendors, many are incorporating local products right inside.

Giant is the latest to jump on the trend. When Giant Heirloom Market opens Jan. 25 at the corner of 23rd and Bainbridge in Graduate Hospital, it’ll  the first of its kind for the Pennsylvania-based grocery company.

Through direct partnerships with various Philly restaurants, bakeries and other producers, many of the shelves in the the 9,500-square-foot store (slightly smaller than the Center City Trader Joe’s) will be stocked with food and drinks made just blocks away.

At launch, shoppers can look forward to:

  • Loaves by artisan bread experts High Street on Market
  • Sweets by cannoli masters Isgro’s Pastries
  • Bread by 100-year-old Sarcone’s Bakery
  • Beans from One Village Coffee
  • Beer from a variety of local breweries
  • Kombucha on tap

The local love extends to the 60 or so employees at the store. Angel Cordero, a 20-year vet of the grocery biz, will be general manager, and the rest of the staff is  being hired from the nearby area, Giant said last October when it announced the project.

From ‘produce chef’ to DIY salad dressing

What else makes it unique? There’s someone with the title of “produce chef” — which sounds silly but actually turns out to be pretty cool: they’ll cut fresh fruits and veggies on demand and also help you figure out what to do with that kohl rabi you’ve always eyed but never made the leap to buy.

At the oil and vinegar station, you can mix your own flavored blends. There’s also a sampling station where tastes of various products will be available throughout the day.

If there’s something you want but don’t see in the aisles? Tap in your request at one of the iPad kiosks and it’ll be delivered and waiting within 24 hours.

Located at 2303 Bainbridge St., the new market is right near the new Amazon Pickup Center — which might make for some interesting traffic thanks to the expected influx of delivery trucks. But it also makes it easier for area residents to avoid getting in cars to do their essential supermarket shopping.

Giant Food Stores, which is often referred to as Giant-Carlisle to differentiate it from a different Giant chain, was founded 96 years ago as a tiny butcher shop in Carlisle, Pa. It’s now a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Ahold-Delhaize, and operates more than 170 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

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