ALDI, community get ready for new supermarket

Councilman Jimmy Vacca and civic leader Vinny Prezioso made a trip to New Jersey to visit an ALDI supermarket, a chain store that will soon open in Pelham Gardens.

ALDI, a national supermarket chain, owned by a German parent company, has 1,000 locations in the midwest, west and upstate New York, and has been operating since 1976. They signed a lease at the end of October to open a 20,000 square foot location at the shopping center that once was home to an A&P, and Waldbaums, and later a Circuit City, at 1700-1800 E. Gun Hill Road.

Prezioso said ALDI is currently surveying households in the community to access their shopping needs.

On Friday, November 26, Vacca and Prezioso, made the trip to an ALDI store in Lowell, New Jersey. Vacca said that he was impressed by the store’s low prices, which his investigation found is made possible in part by the store’s policynot to carry many name brands, but dealing directly with suppliers.

“It is a different type of supermarket,” Vacca said after the visit. “It has a very small meat and vegetable departments, and a wide selection of canned goods and frozen foods.”

“They have their own brands and distributors,” Vacca said. “Some of the prices were very good, oftentimes being about half as much as what I see when I go food shopping.”

As examples of bargains, Vacca said that he found boxes of macaroni and cheese at 2 for 88 cents, cream cheese for 89 cents a container, and hamburger and hot dog rolls for 39 cents. He noted that the store that he visited did not accept discount coupons or credit cards, only cash and debit cards, and charged a small fee per bag for bagging groceries.

Prezioso said that he heard that the company plans to hire 12 people to staff the new store. It will find its niche, he said.

Prezioso said, “I think a lot of people on a budget are going to shop there.”

Prezioso added that he does not believe smaller stores selling ethnic food, like Italian food, will suffer because ALDI offers basic fare. Vacca hopes ALDI will meet with the community prior to opening.

Spokeswoman for ALDI, Katherine Davis, said the company has yet to release an opening date for the store.

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