Giant Timeline

1936 -  N.M. Cohen and Samuel Lehrman founded Giant Food Inc. and opened Washington, DC's first supermarket.

1940s -  Giant began to move toward vertical integration and leased a slaughterhouse to ship meats to stores.

1941 -  Giant opened its first store outside of Washington, in Arlington, Va.


1948 -  Giant purchased Sheridan Bakery in Silver Spring, Md. and renamed it Heidi Bakery.

1950s -  Company set the standard for supermarkets by adding automatic doors, mechanized checkouts, and open display cases for meat and frozen foods.

1955 -  Giant Construction Company was established to build Giant stores, and GFS Realty established to handle the sales and leasing of real estate for the company.

First Giant store opened in Baltimore, Md.

1958 -  New headquarters and distribution center opened in Landover, Md.

First "Super Giant" department store opened.

Eight additional Super Giant stores opened within a year.


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1959 -  Giant grew to 53 stores and began computerizing its customer data, inventory, and other information.

1962 -  Company opened its first food/drug combination store.



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1964 -  N.M. Cohen took the newly created position as Chairman and Joseph B. Danzansky took over as president.

1970 -  Giant hired the industry's first consumer advocate, Esther Peterson, and worked with government and industry to develop and test consumer programs, including unit pricing and nutrition labeling.

1973 -  Warehouse and grocery distribution center opened in Jessup.

1977 -  Joseph Danzansky became chairman as N.M. Cohen became honorary chairman, and Izzy Cohen took over as president.

Giant's four remaining department stores and seven carpet centers were closed.

1979 -  Giant was the first supermarket chain to put computer-assisted checkout scanning equipment into use chain wide.

1980s -  Company began building larger stores, up to 60,000 square feet.

Company introduced life saving computerized prescription system to help guard against harmful side effects.

1982 -  Gourmet food store, Someplace Special opened in Mclean, Va.

Richmond stores were closed.

1988 -  Pete Manos became president.

Izzy Cohen continued as chairman of the board.

1994 -  Giant began northern expansion with plans to open stores in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania under the Super G trade name.

J. Sainsbury bought the Lehrman's non-controlling voting stock in Giant.

1995 -  Izzy Cohen passed away.

The 1224 Corporation gained control of the company.

1996 -  Pete Manos became chairman.

1998 -  Netherlands-based Ahold purchased Giant Food Inc.

1998 -  Pete Manos retired.

Dick Baird named president and CEO.

2000 -  BonusCard program launched.

Peapod by Giant began home delivery service via internet ordering.

Giant opened first Starbucks full-service café.

2002 -  $5 billion in sales reached.

Giant was the first chain pharmacy to offer OnCallData (electronic prescriptions).

Ground breaking of new fresh food distribution facility took place in Howard County, MD.

2003 -  367,000 square foot Fresh Food Facility opened in Jessup, MD.

Giant launched Floral Delivery Service.

2004 -  Giant began integration of administrative functions with Stop & Shop Supermarkets (Quincy, MA).

Dick Baird retired.

Bill Holmes named Executive Vice President and General Manager.


Giant Food's 75th Anniversary Article