| Neighborhoods

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Liquor license could give Ross grocery competitive edge

Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
The owners of Kuhn's Quality Foods on McKnight Road in Ross Township are seeking a liquor license that would enable them to sell six-packs and draft beer in the store. That could give the store an edge on a stretch of McKnight Road with several grocery stores.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

North Hills Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

In a market with five grocery stores along a three-mile stretch in Ross Township, owners of Kuhn's Quality Foods hope to gain an edge by selling beer.

Kuhn's could become the first grocery store on the southern portion of McKnight Road to sell six-packs and draft beer.

“Anything that you can provide the public with is going to give you a leg up,” said Joe Dentici, president of Kuhn's which owns eight local stores.

Kuhn's is awaiting approval of a state liquor license, and plans to open a café that will sell hot food, beer by the glass and six-packs about two months after getting the license. Dentici hopes to open similar cafes in his other stores.

In the last four years, at least two grocery stores have opened on McKnight, the commercial stretch that also includes two Target stores that carry some groceries.

“Obviously, stores are just so competitive now,” said Audrey Guskey, associate professor of marketing at Duquesne University, Uptown. “There are full-out grocery wars happening.”

Locally owned and operated grocery stores are “very rare,” Guskey said, adding that Kuhn's is doing well in the Pittsburgh market, given its size.

“It's very difficult, really almost impossible, for mom-and-pop stores to survive,” Guskey said. “So I really think that for a store like Kuhn's to stay competitive, they need (a liquor license).”

Kuhn's opened in 1984 at 4717 McKnight Road, then moved north to its current location in 2006 when a Shop 'n Save closed. Discount grocer Aldi opened in 2007 behind the Shoppes at Northway.

In 2012, two more discount grocery stores opened side by side in Ross Towne Center. Bottom Dollar Food opened in the summer, and Good Cents Grocery + More opened later that year.

Good Cents is owned by Giant Eagle Inc., which has a location farther north on McKnight Road in McIntyre Square. Beer is sold at that Giant Eagle location.

Each of Giant Eagle's McKnight locations — which include a GetGo gas station at McKnight Road and Browns Lane — fill a “unique consumer need,” company spokesman Dick Roberts said.

A Trader Joe's grocery store is slated to open this summer at McCandless Crossing, which is about a mile north of McIntyre Square on McKnight Road.

“I don't think they can all survive,” said Craig Linner, president of Ross Township Business and Economic Development Inc.

“Kuhn's is the underdog on the block,” he said. “I think getting the liquor license for the café will be good for them.”

The McKnight Aldi's has mirrored the company's national trend of growth, said division Vice President Brent Laubaugh. Company officials select locations based on population density, proximity to competition, cost of property and traffic patterns.

Bottom Dollar spokeswoman Erin DeWaters said the company does not release sales numbers but said the McKnight location has “a lot of loyal customers.”

Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read North Hills

  1. Storytelling festival events set for 2 Hampton sites
  2. Franklin Park woman honored by Lupus Foundation
  3. Move in age group nets dividends for Franklin Park tennis player
  4. North Hills grad earns ‘principal of the year’ honor
  5. NA grad formulates bath, beauty products with natural ingredients
  6. Wexford Health-hosted program to raise awareness of food allergies
  7. Northgate Church members lead mission trip to help poor in West Virginia
  8. Zelienople-based skateboard business starting to take off
  9. Cala Lily Cafe gets new life, location
  10. Richland Community Day promises smorgasbord of action
  11. Drone to help Northern Regional police zone in on missing, fleeing people