The progressive grocery store, Aldi, opens its doors on Thursday, Nov. 8 with a grand opening celebration. The store located at 1221 E. Grand Ave. will begin the festivi- ties at 8 a.m., which include a ribbon cutting ceremony, “Gold- en Ticket” giveaway to the first 100 shoppers and sampling of Aldi exclusive brand products.
“We’re excited about it,” said Arroyo Grande’s planning manager, Matthew Downing. “It’s going to be the first one on the Central Coast, so we’re kind of kicking off the first wave of Aldi stores. We’re excited about that.”
“Working with the City of Arroyo Grande has been a pleasure,” said Tom Cindel, group director of operations & logistics, Moreno Valley Division for Aldi via email. “Everyone has been very welcoming and is just as excited as we are to join the Arroyo Grande community!”
Downing said that the grocery company reached out to the City after talking to the property developer. He stated that since the previous store was also a grocer, it made for a smooth transition for a new one to fill its place. He also said that he had heard unconfirmed reports of more Aldi stores coming to San Luis Obispo County.
“We don’t have any specific information to share about additional locations in San Luis Obispo at this time…,” said Cindel. “Aldi is exploring opportunities in multiple markets from coast to coast, and we look forward to sharing news as plans develop.”
The chain adds to the list of at least ten grocery stores and delis scattered throughout the city, but totes an untraditional “no frills” shopping experience with simple black and yellow pricing signs and its bare bones stocking techniques. The store’s design offers natural lighting built with “environmentally friendly building materials.” Patrons will have to rent shopping carts for $0.25 but receive their quarter back when the carts are returned to their proper stall, which helps prevent them from being strewn across the parking lot.
Almost all products sold have a similar item produced by the chain at reduced prices, i.e., Crispy Oats compared to Honey Nut Cheerios. The company boasts of its “streamlined selection process” which equates to fewer options to choose from and therefore a quicker shopping process by the company’s reasoning.
“Our exclusive and streamlined selection gives you the food you need at the prices you want,” said Cindel, “including hot new trends and healthy-living options.”
Like Food 4 Less, customers are required to bag their groceries, but at a bagging station and not in line, saving customers that moment of frenzied product stuffing to get out of everyone’s way.
Another unique trait of the chain is to sell seasonal products that tend to have a cult following. The store states that due to limited shelf space it cannot sell all products all the time and rotates them according to the time of year. This year the chain released a host of new private-label items that include kombucha, veggie noodles, organic meats, kale and quinoa crunch burgers and gluten-free bagels and states that is one of the nation’s largest selections of private label milk alternatives. The new labels are tailored for health-conscious customers such as Earth Grown, which is Aldi’s line of vegetarian and vegan foods and Never Any! the store’s antibiotic-, hormone-, steroid- and animal byproduct-free meats.
The chain began in Germany 1913 as a family-owned grocery business by brother Karl and Theo Albrecht and now operates 11,700 stores across the globe. Aldi short for Albrecht Discount split into two companies in the 1960s, Aldi Nord (North) and Aldi Süd (South). The former operates 1,200 stores in the United States and is currently running an aggressive campaign to broaden its reach to 2,500 stores by 2022. Aldi Nord operates the Trader’s Joe store chain.
“What we’ve confirmed through our recent expansion in California is that everyone loves getting high-quality food and products at affordable prices and shoppers in Arroyo Grande are no exception,” said Cindel. “Our innovative business model works for shoppers, wherever they live. Nationally, we have enjoyed great success across cities, suburbs and rural communities. That gives us a lot of flexibility when exploring potential markets.”
By Mark Diaz