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New Giant grocery store in Northern Liberties will have an underground taproom

The two-level Northern Liberties store will open at Nov. 15 across from the Piazza apartment complex.

The Underground at the new Giant in Northern Liberties.
The Underground at the new Giant in Northern Liberties.Read moreGiant

Giant’s third Heirloom Market in Philadelphia, which will open next month in Northern Liberties, will have an underground taproom with more than 40 craft beers, wines, and hard seltzer, the company announced Thursday.

Like the other Heirloom Market locations, in Graduate Hospital and University City, this location will also have food from such local stores as Isgro Pastries, Claudio Specialty Foods, and One Village Coffee.

But the taproom, which Giant is calling the Underground, is the chain’s first ever, and will be unique to the Northern Liberties store. Customers will be able to sample an ounce or have a full pour of a drink, with the option to take it to go. Also a first will be an area with shuffleboard, classic arcade games, and a Scrabble wall, along with free WiFi, the company said.

“If the Graduate Hospital store was on trend, University City was on point, and this one is on fleek,” or perfectly executed, Giant president Nicholas Bertram said. “We’re pushing the boundaries on this one.”

The two-level, 13,000-square-foot Northern Liberties store will open at 8 a.m. on Nov. 15 at 1002 N. Second St., across from the Piazza apartment complex. There’s an Acme less than a half-mile away.

Other chains have recently opened or announced new stores in Philadelphia, including German grocer Lidl and Trader Joe’s. Giant also announced in August that it would be opening a two-level urban flagship store in Philadelphia as part of its expansion in the city. That store will be at 60 N. 23rd St., in PMC Property Group’s River Walk development project on the Schuylkill’s eastern bank.

Supermarket News, a retail food industry trade publication, named Giant Food Stores its 2019 Retailer of the Year, highlighting its online grocery delivery, its robot “Marty,” and these Heirloom Market stores.

Bertram has previously said that Giant, a Carlisle-based chain part of Ahold Delhaize USA with more than 180 stores across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, has not met the demand in Philadelphia as the city’s population has grown.

Philadelphia's Growth Trends

The city reached a population peak of over 2 million in 1950, then proceeded to lose over a half-million residents over the next 56 years …

… but, starting in 2006, Philadelphia started to gain in population again, and in 2018 posted its 12th straight year of growth.

Change in population from the previous year

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau

When Bertram announced plans for the Heirloom Market concept during the company’s 95th anniversary celebration at Dilworth Park last October, he said the company could not meet its “full potential without this new format.” Giant has had a store on Grant Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia since 2011, but the Graduate Hospital market was its first downtown location.

The Northern Liberties store will also have a do-it-yourself blending station for olive oil and vinegar, kombucha on tap, and a High Street on Market pretzel cart. There will be a large gluten-free section, the company said. Customers are also able to order online and select next-day pickup or delivery.

Tommy McClain, who joined Giant in 2016 and helped open the previous Heirloom Market locations, will be the manager of the Northern Liberties store, according to the company. Giant expects to have more than 50 employees — a mix of full time, part time, and flex time — at the store, Bertram said.

A fourth Heirloom Market location is planned to open in Queen Village at 201 South St. next year.