Acme promises ‘fresh, full and friendly store’

Loyal Giant shoppers will likely be pleasantly surprised when Acme replaces the store in September, bringing an in-house butcher, pharmacy, organic produce and floral shop.

“It’s still very early in the process, but the Giant store will be branded as an Acme. We’re excited about coming to the Salisbury area and we’re looking forward to coming back and delivering offerings tailored to the neighborhood,” said Danielle Delia, who handles public relations for Acme.

Years ago, there was an Acme in Twilley Center on Mount Hermon Road. Another recently opened in Ocean City.

“Meantime, it’s business as usual, so continue shopping at the Giant store,” Delia said.

Acme promises “a fresh, full and friendly store,” she said.

“I think the Salisbury community will be excited about the offerings we have. We do tailor to the neighborhoods. Our store teams are very community oriented and have a lot of knowledge about what’s going on. One of the things we know is that customers in Salisbury want a lot of local and organic and natural products. We are already preparing for that,” she said.

Once the store is open, there will be a grand opening and ribbon cutting.

A longtime manager at Giant said store employees were told they can keep their jobs.

Chris Brand, external communications and public affairs lead for the company that is selling Giant, Ahold USA, based in Carlisle, Pa., confirmed that, saying personnel at Albertson’s has “agreed to negotiate a successor collective bargaining agreement w the unions rep the associates.”

“We do not anticipate any layoffs at this time,” he said.

Brand said the amount paid for the leased Giant location won’t be disclosed.

News that the popular Giant will close surprised some shoppers who were filling their carts on a recent afternoon, but all of them were pleased to learn Acme — owned by parent company Albertsons —  will replace it.

There was anticipation of fresh-cut meat and a variety of organic produce.

“We used to have an Acme in Salisbury,” said a man who identified himself only as Kevin. “Nice store. We shopped there all the time. I’ll be glad to see it come back.”

Mayor Jake Day issued a statement saying representatives of Royal Ahold and Delhaize Group contacted him with the news of the sale. Although the loss of Giant caused many to worry in recent months, Day said it’s “very good news” that none of the Giant employees will lose their jobs.

“This is fantastic news for the employees, their families, and our local economy,” he said.

Day said Acme will remain a union shop, so union members’ standings won’t be affected.

Salisbury residents will see the grocery store sign change from Giant to Acme, but Day said he’s confident they will “find the new store to be comparable to the Giant which it replaces.”

“The store which has been known as Salisbury’s premier supermarket will stay on – employees and all – with a new name,” he said, adding he’s excited to welcome Acme.

The Ahold and Delhaize Group reached agreements with buyers to sell 86 stores in a limited number of locations in which the companies’ U.S. subsidiaries both operate. The merger is expected to be complete by the end of July.

The companies are in the midst of a merger. Ahold owns the Giant chain of stores and Delhaize owns the Food Lion chain.

These divestments are being made in connection with the Federal Trade Commission’s pending review of the proposed merger between the two companies. According to Ahold officials, the divested stores are being sold to well-established supermarket operators. New Albertsons fits the criteria, based on its industry performance.

Ahold purchased Giant in 1998. Since its founding, it had been owned by a Washington, D.C., family and was a major force in the regional food sales arena.

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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