Aldi comes to Pelham Gardens

Shoppers in Pelham Gardens will no longer need to leave the neighborhood to do their grocery shopping.

On Thursday, October 28, Aldi, a national discount grocery store, signed a lease for 20,000 square feet at 1700-1800 E. Gun Hill Road, off Allerton Avenue. The store should be open to shoppers soon.

“Finally,” said Vincent Presiozo, president of the Northeast Bronx Community Association and Community Board 11 member. “It took a long time to get this, but thanks to our elected officials we will have a grocery store there soon. The community is ecstatic.”

Aldi is a bare-bones supermarket that sells produce and household items at discount prices. The company started in the United States in 1976 and now has more than 1,000 stores from Kansas to the East Coast.

The stores try to keep prices as low as they can by only offering about 1,400 frequently purchased grocery and household items.

“Their prices are very competitive and that’s good because that was a main concern of ours, that the store doesn’t gouge our community with its prices,” Presiozo said.

The shopping center, which once housed Waldbaum’s and an A & P, recently had a Circuit City as its anchor tenant, but that proved unsuccessful after that Circuit City, which opened in August 2008, closed only a few months later.

A Duane Reade also opened and closed in the mall, and recently Presiozo said he was in talks to bring a Walgreens to the shuttered Duane Reade location.

After extensive talks with various stores both ShopRight and Aldi, but ShopRight dropped out and Aldi took the space.

Presiozo said officials with property-owner, Vornado Realty Trust, are excited about bringing in the Aldi as an anchor store. The space was temporarily rented to a small Halloween costume store.

“This should draw a lot more traffic,” he said. “This is going to enhance the community and that was our main agenda.”

The company should be able to open its doors after they renovate the space and add refrigeration units; and officials expect the store will employ between 15 and 20 people.

“In the last 10 years, we’ve been flooded with drug stores, and many have replaced supermarkets. But it’s the supermarket that allows people to get fresh food and eat healthy and save money,” said Councilman Jimmy Vacca. “Aldi’s is a fantastic store for that location. It’s something that the neighborhood was hoping for and it was something that we can look forward to.”

Vornado Realty Trust did not return phone calls Monday.

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