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Giant Eagle answers critics



Published: Fri, July 26, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The supermarket chain donates millions of dollars to charities and community events.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Giant Eagle isn't a greedy corporate giant trying to become a monopoly. Instead, it's a longtime Mahoning Valley resident hoping Phar-Mor will be able to find tenants for its soon-to-be vacant stores, according to the company's attorney.

"It's not like we're coming in. We've been here," said Daniel Shapira, Giant Eagle attorney.

Some residents have criticized the Pittsburgh-based grocery store chain for its role as a liquidator of bankrupt Phar-Mor. Locals say they feel Giant Eagle wants to keep storefronts empty to eliminate its competition and the company has little concern for the jobs lost as a result of the bankruptcy.

Shapira, however, stressed that Giant Eagle wants to hire hundreds of Phar-Mor employees once the pharmacy chain is out of business. He said Giant Eagle already has hired about 45 former Phar-Mor pharmacists, 80 pharmacy technicians, 10 pharmacy interns, and 100 other former Phar-Mor employees.

"We're doing our absolute best," he said.

Valley presence

Shapira noted Giant Eagle has a total of about 2,500 employees in its Mahoning Valley stores, has raised about $3 million for local charities through the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic golf tournament and is a major contributor to community events.

Shapira also said except for the store in the Newport Plaza in Youngstown, Giant Eagle does not have control over Phar-Mor buildings or property.

The grocery chain obtained the pharmacy files and inventory from 27 Phar-Mor stores as a part of a bankruptcy judge's order approving the sale of Phar-Mor assets, Shapira said.

hill@vindy.com




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