New Giant Opens on Pantops

Lafe writes: There’s a new Giant grocery store on the top of Pantops mountain. It’s now providing some very strong and much-needed competition to the Food Lion which previously dominated the local grocery market. In response to this new threat, Food Lion has been improving their image, cleaning up the store, improving customer service, and adding new technology, like self-checkout lanes. Definitely good for the consumer. In addition, Giant has been working so hard at getting customers in the door, that there are an incredible number of specials and deals. Half price specials, buy one get one free, and super discounts galore. Sure it won’t last forever, but it’s fun while it lasts.

With this Giant, Pantops-the-shopping-district now extends far beyond the original Pantops Shopping Center and out 250 towards 64.

40 thoughts on “New Giant Opens on Pantops”

  1. I used one of those self-checkout lanes for a full basket of groceries yesterday, and it sucked. Fully 1/4 of the items wouldn’t scan, and required re-scanning (often 6-10 times) or cashier intervention. Because it verifies by weight, it’s necessary to put the scanned items on one of the little bag-scales. Which is neat until you fill up all three scales, at which time it’s necessary to start piling bags of groceries on the floor.

    It’s kind of neat, but the thrill wore after after it took us (me and my girlfriend) easily 4x longer to check out than it would have had we gone to a teller.

  2. There’s absolutely nothing to celebrate about a new corporate grocery store or strip-mall shopping center on 250 West. We need to be demolishing such structures, not building more. Sprawl sprawl sprawl. When will it ever end???

  3. It’s 250 EAST. Where do you shop for groceries?

    As long as Albemarle County approves it, it will come. If you want to moan and groan about it, that’s fine. I am old enough to remember when the Kroger used to be a drive-in theatre. My relatives rented farm land at Edgehill. We used to go along and help out. We hicks were thrilled with the new Kmart. (Yes, I’m old!)

    I have to be honest; I’m thrilled with the Giant. I hated going to Food Lion — it was pretty grimy and they seemed to have approximately 15 people in each line. The new Giant is much more closer to me than the other Giant and I don’t have to travel so far in traffic.

    Waldo, I have used these self-service lines at Kroger; same principle of weights. I avoid them unless I have one or two items and the lines are horrendous.

    Rhetorical question: will the county consider building some kind of road that connects the Route 29 (I’m blanking on the road but it’s near the airport and about four times a year if not more, there’s a fatality on that road) to Pantops?

  4. The self-checkout at Food Lion is actually superior to the ones in Giant. At least that’s been my experience.

    But by all means, don’t do a whole cart-load (or two) on your own.

    My wife and I tried that once. It went ok as long as I did the bagging, because I could keep up with her scanning. I much prefer to go through a regular line though, and have someone else to the bagging.

    The self-checkout lanes are for when you’re getting bread and milk (or any small number of items). You can be in and out in under five minutes. Which is a great improvement to waiting in line for 20 minutes while holding two items.

  5. Do you live on this side of town?

    The choice up to now has been “Do I use Food Lion, or drive through Rio/250/Hydraulic traffic to get to a decent store?”

    My experience, like the Anonymous poster above, is that Food Lion’s quality has absolutely sucked, but it was the only grocery store close enough to be convenient.

    I definitely have something to celebrate. Because of this competition I get better service, better prices, and it’s still convenient (enough) to my home.

    That land wasn’t being used for anything useful up ’till now anyways. It wasn’t even forested.

  6. (I’m blanking on the road but it’s near the airport and about four times a year if not more, there’s a fatality on that road)

    I believe you mean Route 20? Proffit road connects 29 to 20 near the airport. And yes, it’s a narrow, twisted road that results in several (sometimes fatal) accidents a year.

  7. “That land wasn’t being used for anything useful up ’till now anyways. It wasn’t even forested.”

    I hope to God that your tongue was firmly planted in cheek when you wrote that line. If you were serious when you wrote that line, I weep for our community that such sentiment even exists. Nature has inherent value. Nature does not exist to be “useful” to one species over all others. And guess what? Even farmland/grassland/swamps/rivers/deserts/tundra/ice caps/glaciers/etc. has value. Not just forests. It’s called an ECOSYSTEM. We need all of it. If we pave over all of it, we do so to our own detriment. The only silver lining on this sprawl cloud is the knowledge that 100 years from now, the developers and planners who propogated (and profited from) this kind of sprawl development will be seen as the criminals they are and their names will be sullied for all time. Just like the developers and planners who were criminally responsible for 29 North and just like the developers and planners who were criminally responsible for the sprawl ghetto that is Northern Virginia.

  8. Rhetorical question: will the county consider building some kind of road that connects the Route 29 (I’m blanking on the road but it’s near the airport and about four times a year if not more, there’s a fatality on that road) to Pantops?

    Whoo…God help whatever elected official decided to put a divided highway down 20 through to Proffit or Polo Grounds Road. That would be a bad scene. :)

  9. We need to be demolishing such structures, not building more.

    Hey Anti-Sprawl Anonymous:

    Ted Kaczynski called… he wants his Manifesto and outhouse back.

  10. I thought these discussions were bad enough with the Republican vs. Democrat debates… now we have granola-eating Greenpeace militant eco-terrorists posting.

    “Yeah! Humans are bad! Let’s all revert to our natural caveman-like state!”

    Dude, lighten up and have a nice Rainforest Crunch waffle cone from Ben and Jerry’s. :)

  11. Grocery stores are part of the ecosystem. Just because the ecosystem has changed, doesnt mean change is bad, without grocery stores you spoon fed americans would die out.

    If everyone agreed that something else is more important than grocery stores, the grocery stores would die out.

    We all have a model in our head of what the would should be, and forget to make note of the way the world IS.

  12. Yes, that’s what I mean but OBVIOUSLY it would either run parallel to Profitt or widen Proffit. I was thinking at that juncture — not necessarily on Proffit. Just something to connect the northern end of the county to the eastern end.

    This leads me to another question: Why would anyone be a pedestrian on Proffit Road? (I seem to recall a number of pedestrian deaths when I first moved here. I’m from the county but still!)

  13. Yeah, you’re right. Let’s just turn Albemarle County into another f*cking Northern Virginia and be done with it. And then once we’re done we can move on to Greene, Madison, Fluvanna…

  14. Why would anyone be a pedestrian on Proffit Road?

    Ummm…because they live there and don’t have a car?

  15. once you get the hang of it (of things like not taking your scanned groceries off the little platform that weighs them until you’re completely done, etc), self-checkout rocks, in my opinion. i’ve tried the one at Kroger/Rio Hill and Harris Teeter. you can’t do a whole cartful of stuff, though. and if you’re writing a check, you might as well stand in a regular line.

  16. Did it occur to anyone else that this post might be a troll? It sounds to me like someone mimicking (and mocking) what he or she assumes to be the dominant liberal knee-jerk reaction to the new Giant. Witness the extremely polarized phrasing (absolutely nothing, demolish), the apparent hysteria (!!!). I think it’s made-up.

    (Kinda funny, if so, that a troll would have to invent the knee-jerk reaction him/herself…guess the liberals just aren’t living up to their sterotypes.)

  17. I’ve lived in the sticks and on crummy roads but I still didn’t walk on twisty roads. Especially on a road that had how many fatalities? And at night?

    I’m not mocking anyone without a car (I’ve been there myself in a county with NO public transportation).

  18. I have actually seen a Harris Teeter employee buying a shopping cart full of lettuce at Kroger, when Harris Teeter ran out. Kroger is cheap enough that other supermarkets buy inventory there.

    The Kroger across the road from K-mart tends to be the cheapest in the area. And their self-scan checkout actually works.

    So when the price war between Giant and Food Lion out at Pantops is over and the two gang up again to make war on us shoppers’ pocketbooks, don’t forget Kroger. A little dowdy but still a good deal.

  19. Your argument lacks conviction. Either that, or it’s based on a fallacy. Possibly both.

    Do you believe in evolution? That we’re descended from apes (or ultimately, amoeba)? If so, then what makes man and his works any less natural than a beaver and his dam?

    Do you believe in creation? Then the earth, plants, and animals were created for use by, and support of, man.

    I think you’re revealing a bit of self-hatred there. It’s a self-hatred that I do not share, no matter how “politically correct” it may be considered.

    I lack any sense of guilt for enjoying the fact that someone took a treeless field and placed upon it a grocery store that benefits me.

  20. Something’s got to be done – the new Baker-Butler Elementary School on Proffit is opening this fall. That road isn’t exactly suited for heavy school bus traffic.

  21. It’s clear that sprawl is a killer. It’s the core of unsustainable economic development. It’s clear that everywhere sprawl goes, beauty is lessened. What isn’t clear is an economicly feasible alternative.

    When the ecology and economy come together, intelligent development will win out. Until then, the money will talk, and walk all over every living thing until there ain’t none left.

    Fortunately it’ll be our grandkid’s problem. We’ve got at least 2 generations worth of time left before we run out of fields to drill, mines to strip, famland to convert to stripmalls and old wood rainforests to harvest.

    Did somebody say McDonalds?

  22. As someone who at one time kept a LOG on prices on commonly used items, I found that Giant had the lower prices most of the time (I’m not counting special sales which is why I kept the darn log on my groceries). I go to one store mainly but I keep my eyes out for sales — I will say that Kroger has the better sales on produce. (But I try to go to Kathy’s.) Not really big on their meat products and after seeing Dateline this past week, definitely not too sure!

    Kroger dowdy? That’s an understatement! It would be a tossup between Kmart Kroger and the Food Lion on Pantops (prior to Giant opening).

    But the highest priced store (to me) is Harris Teeter and every time they have a sale, they find some to exclude the specific type (sorry, it’s only STRAWBERRY LOW FAT yogurt on sale, not the RASPBERRY, REGULAR yogurt) of goods on sale.


  23. I’m stuck on Kroger. Why? Because they carry Shenville Creamery milk. I’d consider going other places if they, too, would carry such dairylicious goodness.

    Shenville is in Timberville, over in the Valley. Leon and Ida Heatwole founded the dairy with 125 Holstein cows on 200 acres in May of last year. Kroger just started carrying it a couple of months ago. Their chocolate milk is the best chocolate milk that I’ve ever had in my life, bar none. The whole milk…fantastic. The strawberry milk…well, it’s not my thing. :) The best part is that it comes in a glass bottle. You have to pay a deposit when you buy them, but you get your money back when you return them.

    Anyhow, if anybody else wants to carry Shenville, I’ll try their store. But until then, it’s Kroger for me.

  24. Hey, tree-huggers, there is plenty of “nature” in Bath County. Move out there if you can’t handle a grocery store on Pantops!

  25. Did it occur to anyone else that this post might be a troll? It sounds to me like someone mimicking (and mocking) what he or she assumes to be the dominant liberal knee-jerk reaction to the new Giant.

    I dunno…that was pretty much my first reaction. I just had the good sense not to write about it here. ;)

  26. Whole Foods carries it. I have a bottle that I need to return to Whole Foods for the deposit. They do have wonderful products (Shenville).

  27. “Dude, lighten up!” is a comment always made by the insensitive. And the funny thing here, really, is this “dude” who wants to seem so light-hearted will propably end up one of the most gouchiest old dudes when his time comes.

    In other words, it’s always so easy to ridicule those that have real convictions and are not part of the sheepish suburban crowd. But the bad guys are those that do not have convictions that require any form of sacrifice.

  28. Well, we’ve all seen that the only discussions on this miserable site that are both interesting and popular are the ones started by trolls.

    So yeah, I guess that would make this thread a fake, too, since it’s the rare one that fits both of those criteria. Nice work, Detective Cecil.

  29. “Sprawl Sucks” definitely resonated with me. As a member of a family who has generally not gone into supermarkets at all for many years now, except to buy certain items (cleaning supplies, beer) that cannot be had at my preferred shops (mostly IY), I am particularly keen on anti-sprawl, and moreover, pro-local-economy sentiment.

    I’ll admit that I have the luxury of not being as price-sensitive as a typical supermarket shopper. I’m thankful for that. Also I’ll admit that only organic, and preferably local or home grown foods occur to me as truly edible and enjoyable. Nationwide demand for organic foods has been increasing by about 20 percent a year over the last few years. As production rises to meet the demand, I hope and believe that the prices will eventually come down.

    Another key point to consider about the apparently cheap prices at supermarkets is that nearly all of that food is produced in such a way that it “externalizes” the environmental and social cost of its production. That is, the price you pay is artificially low because the balance of the real costs are being accrued elsewhere, either in environmental damage (pesticides and truck exhaust), health risks, or social exploitation.

    Sprawl (read “convenience”), and the numbing of the mind through homogeneity, “cheap” prices, and television are the tools used by national and transnational interests to make money on “food.” Local and organic growers are the ones providing the real food.


  30. First of all, I like your post and you’re honest about your lifestyle and POV. And I agree with about all of it.

    It would be nice to live that lifestyle and again, you’re honest enough to admit that you can afford not to worry about the costs. And, I suspect you are the kind of person who has or takes the time to make a meal from scratch (or as much as you can).

    One of the problems of creating a post-supermarket world is that:

    A. There are always going to be a group of people who truly need the cheapest food possible (a big family and not necessarily 10 kids but perhaps extended families; elderly; poor paying jobs; high housing; lack of transportation; combination thereof and other factors)

    B. People who either lack the time (weird job schedules, two jobs, etc.) or the ability (how many people do you know who can make a cake from scratch for example) to actually make a meal using fresh vegetables, fruits, grains (again, assuming that they can afford to buy this and get it fresh, i.e., transportation issues).

    To make the changes you believe in (and they ARE good suggestions), we would have to address that and certainly not blame the people who can’t do it for now. You’re talking about making changes not only on a retailing level but rather an economic change, transportation change, policy changes etc. (Believe me, I agree with you — having been on a weight loss program, it is much more expensive and time consuming to make healthy meals than it is, say, to drive through McD or stop by Kroger and pick up a frozen meal.)

    But I also don’t want to condemn people for going to supermarkets either. If you have a single mom with kids, working a full time job and trying to go to school to better herself, time and money is a primary factor of where she will shop.

    Anyway, thanks for a good post — it was very thoughtful.


  31. Why don’t you move to another country? Or to a smaller town. We don’t need your lamebrained ideas around here. Though I could support the demolition of unsightly structures, the fact is that people keep moving to Charlottesville, and the city needs more to support those people. Giant means jobs, it means better consumer choice (I for one will NEVER go to the filthy, dreadful, and uncooperative Food Lion again, even if I have to drive a little farther up Pantops). We are very, very lucky to live in the best small city in the best large country in the entire world. If you don’t like it, then please leave. You don’t deserve the abundance you are busily taking for granted.

  32. What makes you think beauty has just one definition? I am sure that, to an immigrant from Eastern Europe, to a busy single mother, and certainly to me, stores-of-plenty like the new Giant are like miracles from heaven. Big stores bring prices down. Competition is good. This is the best country in the world, and we still have more UNdeveloped acreage per person than any other continent–even Africa!

  33. Yeah, go back to Russia where you belong! This is not only the best country in the entire world, this is the best country in the whole UNIVERSE! Love it or leave it punk!

  34. Oh my gosh — “intelligent development.” I guess that automatically precludes McDonalds and Giant. Does that only mean a solar-sustained Integral Yoga built into a berm on Pantops Mountain?

    I for one practically kicked my heels in the air when I got out of my car at the new Giant with the beautiful views because it means I NEVER have to go out 29 North again to go to a grocery store of my choice (I never liked Food Lion, but does that mean I think Food Lions shouldn’t be built – Noooo – it just means I’m glad I have a choice)!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Giant.

  35. “Thank you, thank you, thank you Giant.”

    Oh…my…God. This is a truly frightening post. I am flabbergasted that the corporate stranglehold over our minds has gotten to the point where WE are now thanking THEM for moving in to make profits off of US. Let me repeat: WE are thanking THEM for making profits off of US. Nothing wrong with profiteering, folks, but please, please, PLEASE, don’t confuse profiteering (especially at the cost of smart growth) with something that needs or deserves our gratitude.

    This post reminds me of the scene in Animal House where the fraternity initiate is being spanked repeatedly with a paddle and all he knows is to respond, “THANK YOU SIR MAY I HAVE ANOTHER?!”


  36. What a truly idiotic response.

    And typical of the local anti-corporate at any cost mentality except when you need their money for just about everything that sustains the variety of lifestyles available in this country.

    Why not acknowledge that there are good corporations, there are bad corporations, there are plenty of them in between. They are in business to make a profit and many of them realize that to do that they need to respond to communities’ needs.

    This is not some mindless thank you, smack me, thank you response, but an acknowledgment that YAY! – no more driving out 29 North (the true strip mall) to go to the grocery store of choice.

    Yes most shopping centers are ugly, but they serve a purpose; they meet the needs of thousands of people.

    What is wrong with being thankful that Giant put their store on 250 East?

  37. I at first rejoiced at the new Giant – right on the way home – but the approach is so long and akward it is as easy to stay with Hydraulic Kroger

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