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.