Pittsburgh’s biggest sporting event is ready to get back to normal.
May 7, 2023 @ 7am
While the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers all draw big game day crowds, none can compare to the crowd that comes out for the Pittsburgh Marathon. With more than 30,000 participants and 300,000 spectators, it’s an event that draws people and dollars to the city.
In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic years, Laura Karet sounds fully confident about the prospects for Giant Eagle today.
“We have big aspirations to grow,” said Karet, who spoke Tuesday before a sold-out audience at a VisionPittsburgh luncheon at the Duquesne Club downtown.
Amid an ever-crowding competitive climate in which everyone from Aldi to Amazon.com Inc. is selling groceries, Karet spoke as the CEO and chairwoman of a retailer that has grown to more than 470 stores and annual revenue of $11.1 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022.
In a fireside chat led by Pittsburgh Business Times Publisher Evan Rosenberg, Karet talked about Giant Eagle’s origins. The company was started by five families during the Great Depression and its ownership continues on today in a retail industry often dominated by publicly traded national chains.
Karet’s story of Giant Eagle’s ongoing growth and expansion came in two distinct parts, the first fueled by petroleum sales and the company’s decision to diversify its store types, the second by the pandemic.
“Twenty-five years ago, we realized customers were starting to change their shopping habits,” she said.
She recalled how about 20 years ago Kroger, the Cincinnati-based grocery chain that doesn’t operate in the region, started putting gas pumps in their parking lots and how quickly Giant Eagle decided to do so as well.
The result soon led to the launch of the company’s GetGo convenience store chain.
Karet recalled how quickly establishing gas pumps at Giant Eagle stores as well as for the new GetGo locations resulted in major boosts in sales for everything else.
“We started buying gas pumps as fast as we could,” she said.
She added GetGo is now differentiated by its approach to food, noting there are now more GetGo locations than there are traditional Giant Eagle stores for what’s become a major growth vehicle for the company.
Giant Eagle also was able to benefit from the major societal disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, a global health crisis in which the grocery chain operated as one of the few places people were allowed to shop amid the wave of government-required shutdowns.
“When Covid happened, our business grew enormously overnight,” she said, adding Giant Eagle quickly worked to roll out an online delivery service that had been in the works.
That was as much of a challenge as an opportunity.
With GetGo expanding and the company also rolling out more and more Market District-branded stores, including in smaller formats, Karet sounded as though Giant Eagle has carved out a sustainable niche and territory for itself.
That’s despite sometimes jarring industry consolidation.
“When Amazon bought Whole Foods, it was like a bomb went off in the industry,” she said at one point.
Yet Karet doesn’t expect any changes to the competitive landscape to come any time soon from the proposed merger between Kroger and Albertsons. Roughly handicapping it as a 50/50 proposition to go forward, Karet expects such a merger to take years to fully pull off and integrate.
“We’re pretty big but really small compared to them,” she said of the two chain grocers.
She sees lots of opportunity for Giant Eagle to grow and expand as it becomes more difficult for smaller operators to compete.
“There’s too many opportunities, which, by the way is a good problem to have,” she said.
Karet noted how the company is active in converting established Giant Eagle stores into Market District stores, establishing new smaller-format Market District locations, as well as expanding its WetGo car wash business along with GetGo as a now proven store model.
“We’re pretty convinced we have a unique model that will allow us to compete in this hard changing world against people who are much bigger than us,” she said.
Karet recalled her early days in her career when she said she had “no interest in coming back to the company,” wishing instead to chart her own course, working early in her career for such companies as Procter & Gamble and Sara Lee.
Now, after taking on the title of chairwoman at Giant Eagle last year, Karet expects she’s worked in just about every position at the company, outside a few, such as chief information office and in the real estate department.
However, none of them equaled the kind of grounding she received actually working in the stores.
“The best training by far was working in the stores growing up,” she said.
The ability to smell is more powerful than we often consider. Scents tell us a lot about our surroundings by helping us determine what food to eat and what fragrances to wear. The right scents can even have a mood-boosting effect. Think back to when you pulled laundry straight out of the dryer and how fresh it smelled. Or consider a time you tried a new shampoo that smelled amazing. You probably felt more relaxed or at peace afterward. The same feeling can apply to your StarLoftPgh. A clean and fresh apartment unit can boost your mood and get you in the right headspace to tackle the week ahead of you. Here are tips on how to make your apartment unit smell fresh.
One of the most common causes of household odor is moisture. One area of every apartment that’s susceptible to moisture is the bathroom. You can keep your eye on small water sources, such as washcloths, sponges, and towels, by replacing sponges every week or biweekly.
Additionally, it’s best to ensure that clean towels are fully dry before folding them and putting them away. You can also hang bath mats over the shower rod to help them dry. You can also manage moisture in your apartment unit by ensuring that your rooms never stay too humid. You can open the windows occasionally to improve airflow throughout your apartment.
Another step to take is cleaning out the fridge is throwing away anything expired. You might be surprised how long old condiments stay inside refrigerators. You can do a monthly inventory check to ensure that the contents are fresh. Then, you want to give the interior of your fridge a thorough scrubbing. Pull out removable shelves and drawers and soak them in hot, soapy water. An equal mixture of hot water, white vinegar, and a small drop of dish soap are always helpful. It would be best to use cleaners that won’t contaminate the fridge.
Soft Surfaces Hold Odors
Carpets, throw pillows, and bed linens can be magnets for unpleasant smells. Even after a spill dries or dirt gets wiped away, odor-causing bacteria can linger. It’s helpful to invest in a professional steam cleaning if you have any soft surfaces you can’t wash in the machine. Also, cleaning up spills before they dry is the best way to ensure that smells don’t linger. Vacuuming your carpet and spot-treating will keep your apartment unit fresh. Then, it’s best to maintain a regular cleaning routine and scent your apartment unit with your favorite scented plug-ins and essential oils. Room sprays can also be helpful in providing a boost of pleasant scents whenever you desire.
Star Lofts Pittsburgh, located in the exciting theater district of Downtown Pittsburgh, we offer beautiful spaces with access to gym, and maintenance whenever you need it – and have access to all the information you need to be our resident at http://www.StarLoftsPgh.com. To set up an appointment with Janet, please call Janet, at 412.943.7660 or visit the website at http://www.StarLoftsPgh.com.
There seems to be a lot of confusion online about what expectations are when someone is moving out of a rental home. We want to help save you money at move-out by providing these tips for passing a move-out inspection without incurring extra fees. Did we miss any tips? Let us know!
1. If you’re doing DIY cleaning, do it thoroughly (This is one time when hiring a professional might be a good idea)
Doing your move-out cleaning yourself is a great way to save money, but there are pros and cons here like with anything else. Having a professional cleaning company perform the service not only takes some of the stress of moving off of your shoulders, but also enables you to obtain a letter from the company that may come in handy if you run into a dispute with your landlord. Still, if you choose to do the job yourself, it’s even more important you are very thorough and take photos when you’re finished so you have documentation. One major tip if cleaning yourself? Remember to do the floors last, or you’ll have to do them twice.
2. Clean cupboards, around handles, appliances, etc.
I was putting some groceries away the other day when I noticed some light discoloration around the cabinet knob. It wiped away immediately, but we forget that the cupboard-pulls get dirty over time as we are cooking. We may have a little flour or seasoning on our hands when we open that cupboard for the next ingredient, so it’s a good idea to do a special cleaning around all handles and doorknobs in your apartment, and wipe down the cupboards and doors themselves at the same time. This also applies to your fixtures including taps, which you want to leave in the best possible condition. Once you’ve emptied your cupboards, remember to wipe down the shelves to ensure you’re leaving them like new.
3. Patch those holes, even just nails
Once you’ve packed away your photos and other things you’ve had hung on your walls, it’s time to remove the nails or pins and thoroughly check each wall in your suite for holes or related damage. A quick Google search will turn up many instructional videos on how to perform these easy and minor repairs. Doing so correctly will ensure your move-out bill is lower, and your landlord is happy!
4. Baseboards, corners, and crevices
Baseboards, corners, and crevices are easy spots to miss, but important to clean nonetheless. Start with the baseboards and the corners, then move on to the crevices. A vacuum wand may be required to help clear things out for tricky spots. As mentioned previously, it’s important to do this cleaning before you clean your floors, as this will kick up some dust and dirt. This is also a good time to wash the walls, ensuring the cleaner you use is paint-safe and won’t cause any issues.
5. Use the right product for the job
As we mentioned regarding washing your walls, it’s important to use the right cleaner for the right job and to ensure the cleaner is safe by testing it on a small patch before deploying it throughout the space. This is pretty straightforward: for example, ensure you use oven cleaner and not Pine-Sol to clean your oven, this will avoid damaging an appliance you could end up paying a lot for. Don’t mix your cleaners, and ensure your area is well-ventilated while using the chemicals.
6. Repaint and repair
If you’ve made your apartment your own by painting some walls, now is the time to talk to your landlord and work with them to get the unit returned to the color and condition in which you received it. Ideally, you will have spoken to your landlord before having painted the wall, but either way, you will need to speak to the landlord to get the proper type of paint to ensure an exact match. Try for “close enough” or “good enough” and you will find that you’re on the hook for that bill anyway. Most landlords will appreciate your honesty and willingness to return the unit as you received it, so this should be painless.
7. Carpet Stains
If you have stained your carpet during your time in the rental, you will be billed for its cleaning or replacement. By dealing with it yourself, either by hiring a carpet cleaner or by trying to do it yourself with rented equipment, you may be able to avoid significant fees. For instance, if the landlord or their employee determines the carpet stain isn’t worth trying to fix, you could be on the hook for a full carpet replacement. By dealing with the problem yourself, you eliminate that risk.
8. Wash your Windows
This is a simple one, but many people forget to do it. It’s important to wash your windows before you move out. Depending on your apartment, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to clean the exterior but you will be responsible for ensuring interior windows are clean. For everything in your apartment, remember this rule: if you don’t clean it, your landlord has to pay someone else to clean it, and they will have no option but to pass those costs on to you.
9. Empty the Fridge and Cupboards: Leave NOTHING in the Unit
Not a box of baking soda in the fridge, not a shaker of salt in the cupboard. As we just mentioned, anything that the landlord has to pay someone else to do – even removing a handful of small items – can incur an extra move-out charge. You must take your garbage out; you need to ensure you don’t even leave hangers in the closet. If you brought it in, it must leave with you. Making it somebody else’s problem will simply make that a problem dealt with at your expense
Is there anyone who doesn’t love Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol? The story is filled with the holiday spirit – and hauntings and redemption and celebration and forgiveness. There isn’t much to dislike.
A Christmas Carol Summary
A mean-spirited, miserly old man named Ebenezer Scrooge sits in his counting-house on a frigid Christmas Eve. His clerk, Bob Cratchit, shivers in the anteroom because Scrooge refuses to spend money on heating coals for a fire. Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, pays his uncle a visit and invites him to his annual Christmas party. Two portly gentlemen also drop by and ask Scrooge for a contribution to their charity. Scrooge reacts to the holiday visitors with bitterness and venom, spitting out an angry “Bah! Humbug!” in response to his nephew’s “Merry Christmas!”
Later that evening, after returning to his dark, cold apartment, Scrooge receives a chilling visitation from the ghost of his dead partner, Jacob Marley. Marley, looking haggard and pallid, relates his unfortunate story. As punishment for his greedy and self-serving life his spirit has been condemned to wander the Earth weighted down with heavy chains. Marley hopes to save Scrooge from sharing the same fate. Marley informs Scrooge that three spirits will visit him during each of the next three nights. After the wraith disappears, Scrooge collapses into a deep sleep.
He wakes moments before the arrival of the Ghost of Christmas Past, a strange childlike phantom with a brightly glowing head. The spirit escorts Scrooge on a journey into the past to previous Christmases from the curmudgeon’s earlier years. Invisible to those he watches, Scrooge revisits his childhood school days, his apprenticeship with a jolly merchant named Fezziwig, and his engagement to Belle, a woman who leaves Scrooge because his lust for money eclipses his ability to love another. Scrooge, deeply moved, sheds tears of regret before the phantom returns him to his bed.
The Ghost of Christmas Present, a majestic giant clad in a green fur robe, takes Scrooge through London to unveil Christmas as it will happen that year. Scrooge watches the large, bustling Cratchit family prepare a miniature feast in its meager home. He discovers Bob Cratchit’s crippled son, Tiny Tim, a courageous boy whose kindness and humility warms Scrooge’s heart. The specter then zips Scrooge to his nephew’s to witness the Christmas party. Scrooge finds the jovial gathering delightful and pleads with the spirit to stay until the very end of the festivities. As the day passes, the spirit ages, becoming noticeably older. Toward the end of the day, he shows Scrooge two starved children, Ignorance and Want, living under his coat. He vanishes instantly as Scrooge notices a dark, hooded figure coming toward him.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come leads Scrooge through a sequence of mysterious scenes relating to an unnamed man’s recent death. Scrooge sees businessmen discussing the dead man’s riches, some vagabonds trading his personal effects for cash, and a poor couple expressing relief at the death of their unforgiving creditor. Scrooge, anxious to learn the lesson of his latest visitor, begs to know the name of the dead man. After pleading with the ghost, Scrooge finds himself in a churchyard, the spirit pointing to a grave. Scrooge looks at the headstone and is shocked to read his own name. He desperately implores the spirit to alter his fate, promising to renounce his insensitive, avaricious ways and to honor Christmas with all his heart. Whoosh! He suddenly finds himself safely tucked in his bed.
Overwhelmed with joy by the chance to redeem himself and grateful that he has been returned to Christmas Day, Scrooge rushes out onto the street hoping to share his newfound Christmas spirit. He sends a giant Christmas turkey to the Cratchit house and attends Fred’s party, to the stifled surprise of the other guests. As the years go by, he holds true to his promise and honors Christmas with all his heart: he treats Tiny Tim as if he were his own child, provides lavish gifts for the poor, and treats his fellow human beings with kindness, generosity, and warmth.
Go see the live Christmas Carol near your home at the http://www.StarLoftsPgh.com It usually plays at the Byham Theater a block from your home at the starloftspgh. See you there, Merry Christmas from Janet and Charlie.
The Fall ’22 Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District presented by UPMC and UPMC Health Plan is free and open to everyone and features more than 15 Crawl Stops. Expect brand new gallery exhibitions, public art that casts a canopy of color across the sky, unmissable live music marking the Backyard’s final weekend of the season, and an outdoor Crawl After Dark experience to keep the party going until midnight. 5:30 – 10 pm
As intimidating to see an empty apartment and not know what to fill it with. Thankfully, there’s a simple decorating style that requires far less furniture and decorations than other styles, and it’s trending too! This style is minimalism, of course, so read on below for five great minimalist decor ideas for your first apartment.
One important principle that can guide your minimalist decor journey is knowing that your decorations can be functional pieces. Having decorations for the sake of decorations isn’t always necessary – you can often make your apartment look fantastic by tastefully arranging the functional items you use on an everyday basis.
A great way to minimize clutter in your apartment is to invest in things that serve more than one function, and multi-purpose furniture can be a perfect choice. When shopping for a couch, ottoman, or sitting chair, look for an option that can be opened up to provide extra storage.
If you live in a small studio apartment and you want to minimize even further, consider buying a Murphy bed. By combining your bed and a table, two of the largest floor-space items in an apartment, you can simplify your surroundings and save a significant amount of space.
Whatever your style of minimalist decor is, floating shelves are a must-have for displaying decorations and other items in a simple and practical way. Whether in the kitchen, living room, bathroom, or bedroom, a floating shelf feels refined where a regular shelf could feel like it just takes up wall space.
Simple wall art and mirrors
Minimalism doesn’t just mean simply removing everything unnecessary from your living space, and it’s still good to have interesting art and decor to make your apartment feel comfortable. Simple wall art can add a unique element to your apartment, especially when tastefully color-coordinated with your other pieces.
Alternatively, mirrors are another great apartment wall fixture that can add depth and light to your apartment. Too much wall art can feel cluttered, but large, simple mirrors can make the apartment feel more spacious.
Neutral colors with an accent color
Many aspiring minimalists have a hard time knowing how to decorate in a simple way, and color is one of the most difficult aspects to grasp at first. Putting together a color palette can be tricky if you haven’t done it before, so here’s an easy way to get started.
Choose an accent color to use for your color palette. It’s helpful to use a color that you already have furniture or decorations in, but you can purchase items later to supplement this. Then, simply choose two to four neutral colors that go together well with your accent. Consider tinting everything the same for a monochromatic look, like a deep blue accent color with bluish-gray neutrals. You can also try to balance the color scheme by pairing a warm accent color with cool neutrals or vice versa.