Employee Break Area at the former Big Bear Warehouse on 851 West 3rd Ave
With Big Bear out, Giant Eagle ponders allowing BuckID purchases
By Luke Robson 1/9/04 The Lantern
The large yellow "Going Out of Business Sale" sign that now adorns the Big Bear store in Clintonville has some students worried about the future of their shopping experience.
The Big Bear located on 2801 N. High St. is a familiar neighborhood grocer for Ohio State students and has worked to accomodate the needs of the OSU community for years. The grocery store, owned by Penn Traffic Co., has successfully appealed to students by offering late hours and the opportunity to use BuckID as a form of payment.
In December, Penn Traffic Co. filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and placed several Big Bear stores up for auction. The Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle grocer swooped into Columbus and snagged seven local stores including the Clintonville location, and OSU students have concerns with the buyer.
"I am worried. I liked Big Bear. It gave students everything they needed. I am scared Giant Eagle will not cater to students as much, especially with the payment options," said Kim Schwartz, a senior in music education.
Big Bear decided to include the BuckID as a form of payment in September of 2002. Mark Lowery, the current Big Bear store manager and future Giant Eagle store manager, knew that BuckID was accepted at other locations around campus and pushed for the Clintonville Big Bear to accept it as a form of payment.
"It brings the students in, which makes me happy. It's good for them," Lowery said.
Students come into the store to purchase everything from lunchmeats to laundry detergents and very frequently use their BuckID as the form of payment, he said.
"Once more and more people found out that we take it, more and more people used it," Lowery said.
Schwartz was one of those students. She used her BuckID as a form of payment ever since she found out about the program last April, she said.
Giant Eagle is still evaluating multiple operations issues, including the acceptance of BuckID, said Brian Frey, marketing assistant for corporate communications at Giant Eagle, Inc.
Giant Eagle is still researching how to enhance the shopping experience for each unique customer in Columbus, but there have not been any decisions yet regarding OSU students, he said.
Applying for a Giant Eagle Advantage Card is encouraged because it provides the grocery store with valuable information about the buying habits and lifestyle of each customer, Frey said. With this information, Giant Eagle creates and distributes specialized coupons tailored to the varying needs of each customer, he said.
Giant Eagle is excited to increase its presence in Ohio and is looking forward to serving the university community, Frey said.