A new grocery store is set to open near Penn's campus at 34th and Chestnut streets.
Giant Heirloom Market, a gourmet grocery brand launching several locations in Philadelphia, is set to begin construction in early 2019, according to a recent email sent by the building staff of nearby Domus Apartment to residents. An official opening date has not been released.
Giant Food Stores, which owns several larger supermarkets throughout the East Coast, described their new "Heirloom" store format as designed specifically for urban environments, according to an Oct. 4 press release.
The store’s location at 3401 Chestnut Street will be near several popular housing choices for students, including New College House and Domus. The store will move into the space Eastern Mountain Sports previously occupied.
Though only recently announced, Giant's move into the new urban store format has been in the works for some time, Giant External Communications and Community Relations Manager Ashley Flower said.
“Giant Heirloom Market is the result of over a year of intense neighborhood group listening sessions, market research, and format exploration,” Flower said.
The new store will hire a “Produce Chef” who will prepare fruits and vegetables on demand, local “artisanal breads,” and a vast array of plant-based foods, she added.
Shoppers will also find kombucha on tap and will be able to create their own olive oil and vinegar blends at a do-it-yourself station, infused with the flavors of their choice.
“The residents we spoke with told us they wanted fresh, better-for-you, convenient and affordable grocery solutions — a store they could shop in easily and frequently and a store that connects them to real food,” Flower said.
Several Penn students said they are excited by the prospect of fresher, healthier options near campus.
College freshman Rachael Villari said Penn students currently have limited access to healthy options, adding that there could be more variety.
“Whenever I need fresh fruit or vegetables, I tend to buy from Fresh Grocer, rather than Gourmet Grocer, but there seems to be a lack of organic products there and limited options of fresh products,” Villari said. “I’ve started just ordering from Whole Foods through Amazon because their stuff is better and lasts longer."
College freshman Rachel Pellegrino also shared Villari’s sentiments.
“I feel like we do have some fresh options like Sweetgreen or SoBol, but it’s super expensive, and I’ve had bad experiences buying fresh fruit from Fresh Grocer,” Pellegrino said.
The location near Penn’s campus will be the second Heirloom Market opened by Giant Food Stores — the first branch is scheduled to open this month in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood of Philadelphia, according to the company press release.