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Families United

November 23, 2012

Most of us were born in a family which is great because there are people who help us grow to be adults. One of the not so pleasant things about families is they can break up; not only in personal relationships but also in business.  It’s so sad to see family members quarreling of a family business; lawsuits flying here and there.

The story of Giant Eagle is literally quite the opposite.  Not one but three families-Goldstein, Porter and Chait-started a small grocery company in 1918 called Eagle Grocery. It was a successful business reaching 125 stores when the families decided to sell it to Kroger Company in 1928. The sale included an agreement that the families not engage in the grocery business for three years.

Two other families-Moravitz and Weizenbaum-were also building their own prosperous chain of grocery stores named OK Grocery.  The five families-Moravitz, Weizenbaum, Goldstein, Porter and Chait joined together in 1931 to form Giant Eagle. In 1936 the first Giant Eagle supermarket was opened. Through the Great Depression and WW II the Giant Eagle supermarkets and OK Grocery Food stores continued to grow.

Today the grocery chain Giant Eagle is firmly established in the area of Pennsylvania and Ohio. It is a market leader in the region and has 175 company-owned stores and more than 50 franchised supermarkets. The company also has 160 GetGo convenience stores that sells gas and offers fresh foods as well.

David Shapira, the executive chairman is the grandson of one of the men who founded the chain in 1931. The five families still very much own the company.

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