No more Colgate, Tide, or Advil: Giant Food will stop stocking national brands in its Southeast DC store

The Giant Food grocery store on Alabama Avenue in Southeast DC will no longer stock health and beauty products from brands such as Colgate, Tide, and Advil.

Nearly empty shelves of detergent at this giant grocery store on Alabama Street. (WTOP/Matt Kaufax)

The first thing many shoppers notice about the giant grocery store on Alabama Avenue in Southeast D.C. are the cameras on every aisle, entrance, and corner of the store.

Armed security is also stationed at both entrances, which is a sign of an alarmingly recent increase in crime at the site in recent months.

To add to the situation, Giant said there will be no more items such as Tide cleanser, Colgate toothpaste and Advil on Alabama Avenue store shelves in the coming weeks.

Giant Food told WTOP in a statement that the grocery store chain has been increasingly affected by the “unprecedented” rampant theft in the region, forcing them to take this “necessary” step.

The grocery chain added that the current level of crime rates made the business of carrying certain products “unsustainable”. This is why they said they are removing all national brands of certain health, beauty and household products from their inventory.

“It’s easy access for them…the thieves,” said one shopper WTOP spoke to outside the store on Saturday afternoon. She only gave her first name, Nikki.

“They basically rob the store, then sell it, and try to make money off their stuff,” she explained.

Nikki said she’s seen theft happen at the Alabama Street location multiple times, and she’s seen thieves walk into a nearby beauty salon to try to resell merchandise they just stole from the beauty section of the store.

Nikki and several other shoppers WTOP spoke to in the area said they were disappointed to hear the news, but not surprised.

“It would be bad for the families here in the area, the ones who have children with their mothers,” Nikki said.

“But I mean, they (the Giants) are doing what they have to do,” she added. “Because if someone steals my things, I will do the same.”

Nearly empty shelves of health and home products at the Giant store on Alabama Avenue. (WTOP/Matt Kaufax)

“They’re really the younger boys,” Nikki said, telling WTOP what she noticed when she saw the shop get robbed in the past.

“I think if the police came here and took control of the situation, it would be better,” she added.

In a statement to WTOP, Giant Food elaborated more, saying:

“The retail theft we face across our market area is an issue that affects us all, limiting product availability, creating a less convenient shopping experience and, most importantly, putting our partners and customers at risk. We need to be able to run our stores safely and profitably. We take these responsibilities very seriously.

Giant said they’ll still have the items they’re removing the patriotic decal from on their shelves at their Alabama Avenue location, but they’ll all be brand or private label instead.

Nearly empty shelves of brand-name beauty products at the Giant store on Alabama Avenue. (WTOB/Matt Kovacs)

The store also said it would start conducting a security check of receipts for every customer who leaves the store – as an added protection against theft.

The grocery store chain explained the reason for the safety expansion in its statement:

“We know that these changes are upsetting for everyone, and we prefer to avoid implementing these measures. Unfortunately, we are in a situation where these steps are necessary.”

Despite recent events, Giant said it currently has no plans to close its doors on Alabama Avenue.

Earlier this month, Ward 8 Councilman Trayon White issued a statement of his own, urging Giant not to close its doors in the area.

The store is located in an area with few grocery shopping options. Some shoppers told WTOP they worried it could become a food desert if the current wave of theft and crime continues.

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