We imagine them almost to be like the Ikea of grocery retailers... except their name is Aldi (short for Albrecht Discount) and their about the 20th of the size. Technically listed as a "global discounted super-market chain," the company has over 9,000 locations across the world and last year alone posted a revenue of over 70 billion dollars.
Now, you're probably thinking to yourself "how in the world could they have 9,000 locations and I've never heard of them?" Well, the majority of those locations are not found within the country in which you currently inhabit. They're a German company who got their start in 1913 and has been aggressively expanding ever since, recently working on their U.S. expansion. In the United States alone, Aldi now has over 1,300 stores in 32 states. The company states that they "take a simple, cost effective approach to grocery sopping." By doing so they are able to create a shopping experience that "fundamentally saves shoppers on their grocery bills at checkout." And let's be honest, everyone likes to save a little bit of money... or a lot.
So what makes Aldi so special you ask? Besides their INSANELY low prices that often save customers over 50% on their bill compared to their competitors; Aldi goes about doing business a little differently than most grocers. So here's a few of the most important things that we believe make Aldi your not so traditional supermarket, but rather one that will become your new go to place.
-They're only open during peak business hours... similar to Trader Joe's. That means when you have those late night grocery necessities, you'll still have to go to the super-grocers that never seem to close. But. that also means that they are able to keep their prices lower due to their lower operating costs.
-That cart you're driving... you'll need a deposit to get it in the first place. It's a way to lower prices. Pay a quarter to use a cart and the moment you return that cart you get that quarter back. It's all a measure to ensure that carts don't go missing... or traveling down the road for a head on collision with something much larger than the cart itself. Plus, that means there are never stray carts in the parking lot... meaning no cart attendants and even more so important, no dents to your vehicle. *Cough... SAVINGS.
-Where's the shopping basket? So... you have no desire to rent a cart because of the 25 cent fee. We understand. It all adds up at some point. Instead, grab an empty box from the shelf and use it as a makeshift basket. Aldi loves that. Why? Because you're helping clean up for the end of the night. These are quite the smart people.
-Those bags that hold your groceries... those aren't free either. Don't fret though. They only with set you back a few cents for a paper or plastic one. And let's be honest people, you should be using cloth bags if you're not already. Why? They're cleaner, greener, and ultimately cheaper in Aldi's case. Plus you're helping save the planet. Win. Win.
-Where are the brand names I've grown to love? No where. That's right. Aldi doesn't carry name brands. If you've been to Trader Joe's, than you'll understand this concept. Everything is "manufactured by many of the nation's leading food producers" and the products are ensured to surpass the quality of national brands.
-The Weekly Ads... no one has ever been so excited to get the paper. Don't throw that extra sheet of paper that came with that Sunday newspaper. That's the holy grail of newspaper ads. That's an Aldi ad. That's savings right there.
-Need to call Aldi? Good luck. They don't list their individual store phone numbers.. and with good reason. Aldi says that each store "typically has three to five employees in the store at any given time" that strictly are there to help customers and restock shelves. So if you have a question go on in and ask it... and buy a few items while you're there. Otherwise you can always call their friendly customer service line.
-Don't bring the credit card. That's right.. no credit cards or checks accepted. Every other form of payment however is... every current form of payment that is.
-Ready for the biggest fact of them all. It's going to blow your mind. When it comes to Aldi's company structure they are technically split into two different companies; Aldi Sud and Aldi Nord. Aldi Sud in the U.S. is known for their Aldi stores... otherwise Aldi Nord is known for their Trader Joe's locations. Yes. You read correctly. Aldi technically owns Trader Joe's. Now you understand why we hinted at Trader Joe's earlier...
So why in the world are we making such a big deal about Aldi of the sudden. Besides the fact that it's truly a great a place to shop at (and you should know that know from the lengthy details above); the whole brand may be getting far closer to the Duluth area... closer than the over 20 locations in the Twin Cities area. Over the past few months we have a few different sources coming to us saying that Aldi is preparing to enter the Duluth market. We took note of it and began to research into the topic. Eventually we got in touch with Aldi's corporate office and below is what we found out.
Our sources told us that Aldi is planning on opening two to three locations in the Duluth market within the next two years. When approaching their development team we were forwarded to officials who knew more about the specific expansion plans for the area. The response we got back wasn't the exact one we were hoping for, but it solidified our beliefs in the chain entering the Duluth market. Officials said that "at the moment, nothing has been confirmed" regarding a specific location for a store. However, it can be confirmed that the company is interested in locating in the Duluth market and is actively looking for sites.
What does this mean? If Aldi comes... does it mean that Trader Joe's won't be far behind? Or does it mean that Aldi could be looking to open both an Aldi and a Trader Joe's location within the first few locations in the area? We've been hearing more and more about Trader Joe's getting ready to also enter the Duluth market, even from Trader Joe's workers themselves. So it would make sense wouldn't it?
We're still in talks with the development team and will be sure to let you know when we find out more details. Until then... think happy... low cost... grocery thoughts.