- Giant Food Stores has unveiled a new Berenstain Bears-themed treehouse at its flagship store in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, according to a company press release. The childcare space is one of five Giant plans to open between now and 2020 in partnership with the Berenstain Bears franchise.
- "The Treehouse" has three play areas that encourage kids to eat healthy, exercise and take care of their health. it also features a reading nook, coloring area and free fruit. There is a mini Giant store where children can learn to grocery shop.
- The Treehouses will be staffed with a full-time childcare leader and part-time staff, all of whom undergo background checks, drug testing, CPR certification and first aid training.
In a statement, Nicholas Bertram, president of Giant Food Stores, said the goal of the new childcare space is to simplify the shopping experience for busy families.
Giant is investing in childcare spaces at a time when other retailers are closing theirs. Wegmans shuttered their Wkids childcare service in 27 stores and is redesigning the spaces to create more community-centered programming, like yoga and cooking classes, and add room for e-commerce fulfillment. Giant Eagle and Tops Markets closed their childcare facilities in the last year as well.
The closing of childcare service coincides with the rise of online grocery shopping. A report from marketing firm Valassis found that most parents are looking for solutions to save time and money when they’re grocery shopping and are increasingly turning to delivery and pick up options. If parents aren’t bringing their kids to the store, childcare services are becoming obsolete.
Giant is bucking that trend with this new investment in The Treehouse. The centers are positioned as an educational area rather than basic childcare where kids can learn about healthy eating and nutrition. Giant also has a geographic connection with The Berenstain Bears, whose creators hailed from Philadelphia, and the partnership brings two popular Pennsylvania brands together.
Giant and its parent company Ahold Delhaize have made several moves lately to attract parents, including the expansion of its Nature’s Promise line to include kids' products. The chain is also piloting an augmented reality experience in several stores with a game designed for kids that can entertain the whole family.