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Glassport food market reclaims old name at customers? request

| Monday, April 9, 2012

Joe Spagnolo Sr. said his father James always told him history repeats itself.

History is doing just that at Spagnolo's family-owned supermarket in Glassport.

Spagnolo's Foodland at 937 Ohio Ave. is now a Shop 'n Save once again. It was a Shop 'n Save for many years before the elder Spagnolo bought the store from Gary Wheatley in 1998.

Spagnolo said the name change was at the request of customers and an effort to get a more competitive name out in the market.

"It's been positive. Customers are excited," Spagnolo said.

Spagnolo's has become a well-known establishment with fresh produce, meats and other items in the 1.52-square-mile borough.

Port Vue couple Dominic and Josephine Ripepi said they have shopped at Spagnolo's since it opened 12 years ago.

"We loved it as a Foodland. We loved it as Spagnolo's and we love it as a Shop 'n Save," Josephine Ripepi said.

"They have everything. Everybody's friendly," Dominic Ripepi added.

A new red sign on the side of the building was installed last week, and employees answered calls using the Shop 'n Save name the last two weeks of March.

Known as Spaggy's to surrounding residents, it features super sales on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The location also serves Clairton, Liberty, Port Vue and parts of McKeesport.

Foodland and Shop 'n Save use the same supplier, Supervalu, so the same high-quality products patrons love are not changing, the owner said.

Spaggy's super Tuesdays and Wednesdays sales are still intact, and new specials such as the Shop 'n Save legendary two-day sales, Thursdays and Fridays, are now a part of the package.

The Shop (tilde)n Save change also gives Spagnolo's the use of its pump perks program. Customers who use their Shop 'n Save card will receive a penny off a gallon of gas at participating Sunoco stations for each $5 they spend.

"That Shop 'n Save fuel program's pretty strong," Spagnolo said.

Spagnolo's also sells beer by the six and 12-pack. There is a seating area by the beer coolers near the deli and hot foods section. The supermarket is one of the first independent retailers in Allegheny County to offer beer sales of that caliber.

Spagnolo said selling beer also was at the request of customers, and "it's been well received."

The owner also said he believes beer sales at supermarkets in Pennsylvania will become less restrictive allowing businesses to offer more options to their customers.

Some surrounding states allow the purchase of alcoholic beverages at gas stations and other major retailers. Beer sales and purchases of milk and cigarettes do not qualify for pump perks.

Glassport Mayor Michael Evanovich said Spagnolo's switch to Shop 'n Save is a good business decision, noting the recent Bottom Dollar supermarkets replacing Foodlands.

"I believe Bottom Dollar going in made a lot of people stand up," Evanovich said. "They changed the way grocery stores are going to operate because they changed the way a lot of people shop. I think it was probably a good business move. (Spagnolo's) got a good store, good location. We're fortunate to have a supermarket in our town."

Spagnolo credited his store's success to its customers, the more than 80-person staff, and being involved in the community.

Spagnolo is a member of the Lion's Club, and donates to South Allegheny School District.

Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. More information is available by calling 412-673-2800.

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