• Aldi readies Rutland store opening
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     | July 29,2013
     
    Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo

    Aldi food market is under construction on South Main Street in Rutland. The store is at the site of the former Smith Buick GMC dealership. Workers last week put up one of the exterior signs on the building.

    Aldi will open its second supermarket in Vermont next month, promising to save shoppers “up to 50 percent” over name brand groceries.

    Aldi, a discount grocer with a new store at 263 South Main St., will open its doors Aug. 15. The first Vermont store opened in Bennington several years ago.

    The international chain boasts 1,400 items in an average store — with Aldi-private label items priced lower than the competition but without sacrificing quality, according to the company. The store offers a double price guarantee if a customer isn’t satisfied.

    The store also carries fresh meat, fish, produce, beer and wine.

    The chain does business a bit differently than the average supermarket. Customers bring their own shopping bags and pay a refundable 25 cents to use a shopping cart. The 17,800-square-foot store is also smaller than its competitors and features open carton displays. All those differences add up in cost-savings for shoppers, the company said in a press release.

    The store accepts cash, checks, debit and electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards but does not accept credit cards.

    Bagging is also different at Aldi.

    Shoppers bag their own groceries and can either bring their own shopping bags or purchase paper, plastic, or insulated bags for what the company said is “a very nominal charge.”

    The interior of Aldi features high ceilings, natural lighting, eco-friendly building materials, and energy-efficient lighting and refrigeration.

    The arrival of another chain represents increased competition for Price Chopper, Hannaford, Topps (which recently purchased the former Grand Union on North Main Street) and Shaw’s, which has stores in Fair Haven and Poultney.

    Jim Harrison, president of the Vermont Grocers Association, said Aldi has enjoyed consistent growth for the last 30 years or so. Harrison said that is especially true “in the last few years when the economy has sort of tightened up.”

    While the competition should be good news for consumers, Harrison also said Aldi’s breadth of product offerings is not on par with the other major chains.

    “It’s a limited assortment store and it may not have the same products, or the same variety of the same products, or the same variety of the same brands, you might buy at one of the supermarkets,” he said.

    On its website (aldi.us), the company said its customers “do as much as 90 percent of their shopping at Aldi.”

    The company boasts its share of awards, including named by Market Force, a trade publication, as the low price supermarket leader in the United States. The chain has also been recognized for its efforts at promoting healthy diets and by Greenpeace for its efforts to promote seafood sustainability.

    The Rutland store, at the site of the former Smith Buick GMC dealership, will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

    The store will open Aug. 15 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m., followed by a cookout from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Headquartered in Germany, the 100-year-old supermarket chain operates in 17 countries. In the U.S., Aldi has 1,200 stores in 32 states. Aldi in recent years has added 50 to 80 new stores a year. The privately held company also operates Trader Joe’s, a specialty food store, which has announced plans to open a store on Dorset Street in South Burlington.

    bruce.edwards@rutlandherald.com

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