On the rise: Surging Aldi set for Smyrna grand opening

The new Aldi grocery store in Smyrna promises to offer shoppers a smaller, more convenient shopping experience. The Smyrna location will be the fourth in Delaware. Delaware State News/Mike Finney

SMYRNA — While many traditional grocery store chains have been contracting in Delaware, the reach of the Aldi grocery franchise is set to expand as it prepares to celebrate the grand opening of a new store in south Smyrna on Thursday, Dec. 6.

The Smyrna store, which will be the fourth to open in Delaware, is part of Aldi’s $3.4 billion investment to expand to 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022.

German-based Aldi currently has more than 1,800 stores in 35 states — including locations in Camden, Middletown and in Stanton, west of Wilmington. The chain serves more than 40 million customers each month.

“We are excited to share our plan to open our first Smyrna store,” said Bob Grammer, vice president of the Aldi Center Valley Division. “We are looking forward to joining the Smyrna community, bringing shoppers the highest quality groceries at the lowest possible prices.”

Another Aldi store is expected to serve as the anchor tenant of the Capital Station shopping complex that is currently under construction off U.S. 13 in Dover.

The new Aldi store in Smyrna is located just west of U.S. 13 near the south Smyrna Del. 1 interchange in the Simon’s Corner shopping center, behind the Wawa convenience store and WSFS Bank.

It will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 6 at 8:45 a.m., followed by its popular Golden Ticket giveaway offering gift cards to the first 100 customers.

Shoppers will also be able to sample Aldi-exclusive brand foods and enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a year’s supply of Aldi produce.

Dover’s Joanna Miller attended the opening of the Aldi store in Camden in mid-November 2016. She said she was looking for “a new favorite store.”

“They have some unique things that (other stores don’t) have,” Ms. Miller said. “It’s a smaller store which is nice, because Wal-Mart is so big and you go in and it’s overwhelming. I like the fact that they make their own food, it’s a lot of their own brands, and I’ve heard the produce is really awesome and I’ve been disappointed with the produce I’ve been getting lately.”

The Smyrna Aldi location will feature 22,245 total square feet — including around 12,000 square feet of retail space — to go with room for storage and offices. There will be 112 parking spaces.

The store will employ between 15 and 20 workers.

Designed for the customer

Mr. Grammer said Aldi grocery stores are designed with the customer in mind.

“Everyone deserves great food at affordable prices,” Mr. Grammer said. “This is our mantra at Aldi and we’re excited to introduce it to customers in Smyrna with our brand-new store.

Last-minute preparations were taking place on Monday at the new Aldi grocery store in south Smyrna that is set to open Thursday, Dec. 6. Delaware State News/Mike Finney

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

Jason Hart, CEO of Aldi U.S., said shopping at the grocery chain is more than just convenience, it’s also about obtaining fresh and healthier foods.

The edible options are only going to keep growing at Aldi, according to Mr. Hart.

“The continued success of our store expansion and remodel initiatives has given us the opportunity to carefully select and introduce new products that satisfy our customers’ increasing preferences for fresh items, including organic meats, salad bowls, sliced fruits and gourmet cheeses,” Mr. Hart said.

“We know people lead busy lives, so we’re making it even easier for them to purchase everything on their shopping list at Aldi, while still saving money.”

Aldi stores are typically much smaller than typical grocery markets in the United States. They usually only feature four or five aisles.

The chain offers a scaled-down shopping experience. Its’ no-frills approach features open carton displays, which includes its own private-label brand rather than more familiar nationally known products.

The store encourages its shoppers to bring their own bags and asks them to bag their own goods.

Even the grocery carts are designed with efficiency in mind.

To get a shopping cart, a shopper has to put a quarter in the cart, shop and then return the cart to get the quarter back, which helps to keep prices low because the store doesn’t have to spend time retrieving carts.

Tom Fangras, director of Aldi store operations, said that by offering its own high-quality brand of products it allows the customer to enjoy a much lower price at checkout.

“What we’re excited for is we have our exclusive products, basically our brand of products that we offer, and it’s basically 50 percent lower price than the national brand in general,” Mr. Fangras said. “So, we have a lot to offer with our products. We’re definitely very proud of our fine offerings.

“Plus, if anyone buys our food and they aren’t satisfied we have a double-back guarantee, so we’ll replace the product and give the customer their money back.”

A different kind of store

The new Smyrna Aldi store layout provides an improved in-store experience and features additional refrigeration space that it says will “accommodate even more fresh, healthy and convenient products.”

According to the Aldi website, “Shoppers will find more than 90 percent of the groceries are under Aldi exclusive brand names, hand-selected by Aldi to ensure the products meet or exceed the national brands on taste, quality and, of course, price.”

Compared to last year, 20 percent of the Aldi product selection is new. The Aldi product expansion is the next phase of the company’s national growth and remodel plan.

As part of the product expansion, Aldi officials said they are increasing their fresh-food selection by 40 percent with many organic, convenient and easy-to-prepare options.

The Smyrna location will be open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Sunday.

By the end of Aldi’s growth spurt in 2022, the company will be the third-largest grocery store by count in the U.S. and serve 100 million customers per month.

During its expansion, Aldi expects to add 25,000 new jobs in stores, warehouses and offices.

“We pioneered a grocery model built around value, convenience, quality and selection and now Aldi is one of America’s favorite and fastest growing retailers,” Mr. Hart said. “We’re growing at a time when other retailers are struggling.

“We are giving our customers what they want, which is more organic produce, antibiotic-free meats and fresh healthier options across the store, all at unmatched prices up to 50 percent lower than traditional grocery stores.”

Mr. Fangras said Aldi is all about customer experience.

“I think they’ll find we have a lot to offer,” he said. “Here, customers can get a quick parking spot close to the store, come in and go through the aisles and then get out of here. It’s a nice quick and efficient shopping experience for our customers.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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