Giant Eagle in Kent to close by end of month

Charlotte Muller

The Giant Eagle store at University Plaza in Kent will close its doors Feb. 23.

On Friday, the independent owners Mark and Eric Seiler made the announcement to cease operations of the store.

The Seilers said the store was unable to reach and maintain the sales volumes necessary to operate profitably, according to a media statement by Giant Eagle Inc. Kent Giant Eagle employees were not allowed to comment.

The statement on the anticipated closure of the store, which was released yesterday, said that it was a difficult but necessary decision for the Seilers.

The supermarket is a big drawing card to the plaza, said Councilman Wayne Wilson, whose ward includes the area.

“It is devastating to the south end of the city,” he said. “I know a lot of people here who walk to Giant Eagle to get their groceries.”

The store, located at 1416 S. Water St., is the only grocery store on this side of town, said Wilson.

“Tops closed a couple of years ago,” he said. “With Giant Eagle closing, it will really hurt the south end not having a supermarket.”

Joe Crivella, senior marketing and management major, said that in the four years he’s lived in Kent, the two main stores where he shopped closed.

“I can’t believe that after Tops, Giant Eagle is closing now,” he said. “It always seems busy when I’m here.”

Giant Eagle is the anchor of University Plaza, said Vanessa Canavan, employee at the Fashion Bug, which is located in the same plaza.

“With Giant Eagle closing, I think all the other businesses will lose profit,” she said. “Our customers usually stop by after they’ve done their grocery shopping.”

There are about a dozen other stores and businesses located in the plaza that will be affected by the store closing. Giant Eagle was the third grocery store to occupy the location and has been in the plaza since 2001.

Wilson said the plaza needs another grocery store, and he will work hard to get a new owner.

He said the closest grocery stores will be the Acme store on state Route 59 in Franklin Township, just east of Kent, and the Acme and Giant Eagle stores near the Stow/Kent border.

According to the company’s statement, about 60 Giant Eagle employees will lose their jobs, but they will have the opportunity to apply for positions at corporate-owned Giant Eagle locations.

Contact public affairs reporter Charlotte Muller at [email protected].