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ALDI to open EC store Thursday

012419 Aldi

The new ALDI discount supermarket at 3805 Conlon Way, Elizabeth City, is shown Thursday. The store will host a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:50 a.m. on Thursday.

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From staff reports

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Starting Thursday, Elizabeth City grocery buyers will have a third shopping option when the new ALDI store opens off Halstead Boulevard Extended.

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting for the discount supermarket chain’s first store in the region will take place Thursday at 7:50 a.m. at 3805 Conlon Way. Local dignitaries will be treated to a preview of the store prior to the ribbon-cutting.

The first 100 customers waiting in line will receive a Golden Ticket gift card. According to a company spokesman, the gift cards will range in value from $10 to $100. All first-day shoppers will also have a chance to win a year’s supply of ALDI produce worth more than $500. 

Chris Daniels, vice president of ALDI’s Petersburg Division, said last week that construction on the 12,000 square-foot store began last summer and was recently completed. In his weekly update to the mayor and members of City Council, City Manager Rich Olson said a final site inspection on the store has been completed and that ALDI should be issued a certificate of occupancy in time for the grand opening.

Like all new and remodeled ALDIs, the Elizabeth City store will feature open ceilings and natural lighting. It also will feature only five aisles, which the company says allow shoppers easier navigation.

“ALDI stores are designed with shoppers’ time and money in mind, and we’re proud to bring the community a better grocery shopping option,” Daniels said.

According to the company, the Elizabeth City ALDI store will also include additional refrigeration space allowing the store to sell “more fresh, healthy and convenient products.” And like all new ALDI stores, the local store will include 40 percent more fresh food products, including organic and easy-to-prepare options.

The Elizabeth City ALDI will employ 20 workers earning hourly wages between $12.35 and $16.85, Daniels said. The store will be open every day from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

According to a company press release, the Elizabeth City store is part of ALDI’s plan to spend $3.4 billion expanding its U.S. reach to 2,500 stores by the end of 2022. The company currently operates more than 1,800 stores in 35 states, including more than 70 in North Carolina. The company says it will be the nation’s third-largest grocery chain by store count by the time the expansion is over, serving 100 million customers a month.

ALDI officials declined to release the amount of the company’s investment in the Elizabeth City store, citing its status as a private company.  

Daniels said there were several factors ALDI considered in choosing to build a store in Elizabeth City.

“We want the best sites that are closest to our shoppers and can support a high daily traffic volume,” he said. “As the demand for ALDI grows, so do our real estate options. Bottom line, we want to be conveniently located for our shoppers, and Elizabeth City was a natural fit.”

For shoppers unfamiliar with the grocery chain founded in Essen, Germany, ALDI touts its stores as “offering a streamlined selection that removes the guesswork from shopping.” ALDI stores don’t carry lots of different brands of a product, focusing instead on selling fewer brands, many of which are exclusive. The company’s website in fact states that “more than 90 percent” of products sold in ALDI stores are exclusive brands.

The stores also have two features that are different from other grocery retailers: a .25-cent grocery cart rental and self bagging of groceries. Customers who put a quarter in a slot of their grocery cart upon entering the store can get the quarter back upon leaving the store. ALDI’s website touts both features as ways to hold down costs for customers.

Currently the only two other grocery options for shoppers in Elizabeth City are Food Lion, which operates four stores in the city, and the Walmart Supercenter, which is just up the road from the new ALDI store at the Shoppes at Tanglewood.

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