May 9, 2017
Thomas Lenkevich, President
Giant Food Stores
P.O. Box 249
Carlisle, PA 17013
Kevin Holt, Chief Operating Officer
1149 Harrisburg Pike
Carlisle, PA 17013
Dear Mr. Lenkevich and Mr. Holt,
As the President of Lancaster City Council, I’m writing to you on behalf of City Council concerning Giant's announced decision to close its store at 235 North Reservoir Street, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. And we send this letter with feelings of sadness, anger and betrayal.
Giant Food Stores has been a part of our community and part of our lives for 40 years. The residents of Lancaster – including ourselves - have shopped in the Reservoir Street store for the food that has nourished and sustained us, the baby food and birthday cakes for our children, the food that we've prepared to celebrate holidays, job promotions and to mourn the loss of family and friends. We have a relationship with Giant.
In 1977, Lancaster City Council helped make the Reservoir Street Giant possible. Council members at that time approved the rezoning of the site to accommodate the store. The rezoning followed a public meeting at which neighbors voiced unanimous support for Giant. The City’s chief planner at the time noted that Giant representatives spoke of a commitment to growing the business AND serving the community.
For four decades, Giant has done just that. Profits from the Reservoir Street store have fueled the growth of Giant Food Stores across this region. Now, you are deserting us. You are leaving those who have supported you, and we will not chase after you.
The Reservoir Street store is rare in the current supermarket climate. It is located within a walkable urban environment. Many of your customers walk to that store. By choice or due to their economic situation, they do not own automobiles. They will not drive to a suburban store. You are losing them as customers.
We ask that if you are unwilling to retain the Reservoir Street store, that you sell the property without restrictions and remain open until the property transfers to another grocer. It would be unconscionable for you to deny a food source to the very people who have supported you for so long.
If you are unwilling to sell the property without restrictions, we will ensure that Lancaster residents are made aware of this fact. You will lose us as customers, along with the many others who are able to drive to your suburban stores, but who will refuse to do so.
In short, if you are leaving us and ending this long-term relationship, don’t make this breakup more bitter than it has to be.
John E. Graupera
Click here to view a signed copy of the letter.