ALDI Grand Opening in West Boca Square

ALDI had its grand opening yesterday. We stopped by, bought a few items, took a few pictures, and talked to company management. The store is located next to Hobby Lobby in West Boca Square, near Chili’s and the corner of 441 and Palmetto Park Road. Aldi is one of many international superstores that have stores in the US, UK, and Europe, if you like to see if there is an Aldi local to you, you may want to visit Aldi openings to find out more.

It’s not big inside, much smaller than a typical grocery store. We’ve had a lot of comments from readers, including positive, negative, and confused. So we’ll do our best to explain ALDI’s model and why it works for some consumers.
The first things most people notice relates to service and convenience. At ALDI no one bags your groceries for you. There’s a bagging shelf right after the cash register where you bag your own stuff. And they don’t give free bags. You bring your own reusable bags or buy bags from the store.
Another example of this is the cart system. Unlike other stores you have to pay a quarter in order to get a cart, and you get the quarter back when you return the cart.
The idea behind this is to lower labor costs. If the store spends less money having workers bag your groceries and chase down the carts, that allows them to lower prices.
Another big thing along with this – they don’t take credit cards. They mainly take debit cards and cash.

We accept cash, PIN-based debit cards, the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) and Link cards. At this time, we do not accept checks, credit cards or the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC).

The last big cost saving measure – the products are mostly store brand. Looking around the store you see an occasional branded item, like the Honey Nut Cheerios above. But right next to them they’re selling their store brand version of the same product for a dollar less per box. We also saw Coca Cola and a shelf with regular brand wines. As part of this strategy, they do not take manufacturer coupons.
We noticed a lot of gluten-free items. They also have a significant sections with fresh produce, meats, and refrigerated items.
The VP seemed very proud of the produce section and encouraged us to take photos, so we did.
So, is it a good deal? We bought a few items and thought the prices of what we bought were less than other stores.
We saw several neighbors and friends, and talked with one couple in particular who are very budget-conscious shoppers. They felt that some prices were better but not all and they were not sure how often they’ll go to ALDI.
One other thing is an issue for a lot of shoppers. Because they have so many store brand items, people are worried about the quality. The chain is confident that their store brands are high quality and ALDI offers what they call their “double guarantee”:

If, for any reason, you are not 100 percent satisfied with any product, we will offer a Double Guarantee where we will gladly replace the product AND refund your money. To receive the Double Guarantee, the product packaging and any unused product must be returned to your local ALDI Store Manager.
The Double Guarantee does not apply to non-food Special Buy items, alcohol, national brands and non-quality related issues.

We had stopped by a day earlier and shot a short video of their soft opening. The grand opening was much busier.

ALDI Opens October 14th; Grand Opening 15th

We’ve received official word from ALDI that the Grand Opening of their West Boca store will be on October 15th.

To celebrate the opening of the first Boca Raton store, ALDI will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15. Following the ceremony, the first 100 shoppers will receive a golden ticket, each containing ALDI gift certificates of various amounts.

Unofficially we think the store will open for business on October 14th, as shown by a handwritten sign on the front and what we’ve heard from other sources – see images below and at top.

The new store is located in West Boca Square, the plaza on the northwest corner of 441 and Palmetto Park Road. Target is at the north end of the plaza with Chili’s at the south end. ALDI will open next to Hobby Lobby in part of the space formerly occupied by Beall’s. It is unclear how the store will look at this moment in time.
We previously wrote about ALDI coming to West Boca in May of last year. It took a year and a half, but they’re coming.
Here’s the official release:
On Thursday, Oct. 15, ALDI, the nation’s low-price grocery leader*, will offer Boca Raton shoppers a smarter alternative as it opens its first Boca Raton store, located at 21759 State Road 7. With more than 1,400 stores in 32 states, ALDI is known for high-quality grocery items at incredibly low prices.
To celebrate the opening of the new Boca Raton store, ALDI will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15. The public is invited to attend. Following the ceremony, the first 100 shoppers will receive a golden ticket, each containing ALDI gift certificates of various amounts. Customers can also tour the store, sample ALDI exclusive brand products and enter an on-site sweepstakes for a chance to win a year’s supply of ALDI produce. ALDI currently carries nearly 70 varieties of fruits and vegetables, including several organic produce items.
“We look forward to introducing Boca Raton shoppers to ALDI, where they can find the majority of their average weekly shopping list from our exclusive brand products – including fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and bakery items – for up to 50 percent** less,” said Chris Hewitt, Royal Palm Beach division vice president for ALDI. “We are committed to bringing ALDI customers the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices in a simple and easy-to-navigate shopping environment.”
The Boca Raton store features high ceilings, natural lighting and environmentally-friendly building materials – such as recycled materials and energy-saving refrigeration and light bulbs – to ensure that customers enjoy a shopping experience that is simple and easy to navigate.
In addition to the store’s new look, ALDI will bring shoppers a wide range of new, healthier options like organic produce, USDA Choice beef and the SimplyNature line of products, free of artificial colors, flavors or unnecessary enhancers. ALDI also recently introduced its liveGfreeTM gluten-free product line.
Customers can expect to find more than 1,300 of the most commonly purchased items sold under ALDI exclusive brands for prices up to 50 percent less than traditional supermarkets. To ensure its exclusive brands meet or exceed the national brands on taste and quality, ALDI conducts rigorous testing on all products. ALDI stands behind this quality with a Double Guarantee: If for any reason a customer is not 100 percent satisfied with a food product, ALDI will gladly replace the product and refund the customer’s money.
ALDI exemplifies efficiency by eliminating overhead costs through smart practices, such as a cart rental system, through which shoppers insert a quarter to release a cart and receive the quarter back upon the cart’s return. Other cost-saving practices include a smaller store footprint, open carton displays and encouragement of customers to bring their own shopping bags.
ALDI also saves shoppers money by keeping stores open during prime shopping times. The newest location will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. ALDI accepts cash, debit and EBT cards.
Over the next several years, ALDI plans to add an average of 130 new stores each year, expanding the ability to bring grocery savings to more people every day.
About ALDI Inc.
A leader in the grocery retailing industry, ALDI operates more than 1,400 US stores in 32 states, primarily from Kansas to the East Coast. More than 30 million customers each month save up to 50 percent** on their grocery bills, benefiting from the ALDI simple and streamlined approach to retailing. ALDI sells more than 1,300 of the most frequently purchased grocery and household items, primarily under its exclusive brands, which must meet or exceed the national name brands on taste and quality. ALDI is so confident in the quality of its products, the company offers a Double Guarantee: If for any reason a customer is not 100 percent satisfied with any ALDI food product, ALDI will gladly replace the product and refund the purchase price. ALDI was named the 2014 Retailer of the Year by Store Brands Magazine for its strong commitment to value and innovation-focused private brand product development. For more information about ALDI, visit

Inside the West Boca Hobby Lobby

We stopped by the old Beall’s site in West Boca Square the other day. The door was open so we managed to get a few pictures. Above you can see the front of what will be the West Boca Hobby Lobby entrance, facing US-441. We expect the store to open in October.
On the inside this next panorama shot gives you some sense of the vast space you get with a 52,000 square foot store before it’s fitted out.
Perhaps the most interesting bit we noticed is what you see on the left side of the above picture. The Beall’s occupied 78,000 square feet. On the far left you see the beginnings of a wall separating Hobby Lobby’s space from the other 26,000 square feet. Here’s another shot of that wall:
As we reported the other day, this space will be filled by the first West Boca Aldi’s Food Market. Aldi would neither confirm nor deny the new store, so we don’t have an opening date. Our best guess is similar to Hobby Lobby, sometime this fall.

ALDI Coming to West Boca?

Update: As of mid-April 2015 the work is now underway on the ALDI store. We stopped by the scene and our video is at bottom of this message.
Aldi Food Market, a grocery store, looks like it’s coming to West Boca. We had been puzzled about the size of the incoming Hobby Lobby, slated for 52,000 square feet but replacing the 78,000 square foot Beall’s in West Boca Square. What would happen to the other 26,000 square feet?
We think we have our answer now. Aldi will be moving into the southern end of the building where the doors face Chili’s.
West Boca Square is on the northwest corner of the intersection of West Palmetto Park Road and US-441 (State Road 7).
We heard it from a source we consider very reliable and saw evidence consistent with what the source told us. We contacted Aldi via Twitter to check and they would neither confirm nor deny it:

Here’s a map with the existing grocery stores in green boxes and the new ones in red boxes:
With the reopening of the West Boca Walmart (including groceries) on the opposite corner, we estimate the two together will add over 40,000 square feet of grocery space to the area. That’s a 20% increase on what’s already in place.
Aldi, a chain based in Germany, first arrived in Florida in 2010 per the Sun-Sentinel. Like Walmart, they’ve positioned themselves as a discounter claiming low prices, but not carrying as many items as some other groceries. This will put significant price pressure on most of the competition, and West Boca residents should expect to save a few pennies.
Aldi stores are also typically smaller than other supermarkets. As the image above shows, Fresh Market in Mission Bay is the only grocery store smaller than the incoming Aldi. Fresh Market is also the only one of the stores that does not position itself primarily on price, but rather is considered a “gourmet supermarket” with higher end products.
There are other important differences in how Aldi works.

1. They don’t take credit cards – only cash, debit cards and EBT (welfare) cards.
2. You have to put a quarter in to get a cart, and you get it back when you return the cart.
3. Bags aren’t free. Bring your own or prepare to pay for them.
4. Fewer choices – They have a much smaller inventory with only 1400 items vs. 30,000 for a typical supermarket, and a lot of their own Aldi brands that they claim are better quality than national brands.

The promise behind all of these details is claimed lower prices. If you believe what they’re saying, you’ll save as much as 50% on your groceries. This could get interesting.

Video from April 10, 2015: