Aldi’s new Northland store is a preview of what’s to come for other area locations.
The new location, at 8780 N. Ambassador Drive, is larger — 11,800 square feet of selling space compared to the 9,000 to 10,000 square feet of selling space in a typical Aldi — brighter, with higher ceiling, wider aisles and more stylish graphics.
“It will allow us to grow our product line to meet customer requests and needs as we move forward,” said Mark Bersted, vice president of the Olathe division of Aldi, which covers 73 stores in five states. “In the last five years we’ve increased our produce including organic produce, refrigerated space for produce, increased our line of USDA Choice meats.”
It also has a gluten-free line, the LiveGFree; the Fit & Active line with less sugar and fewer calories; and the Never Any with no antibiotics, no added hormones or steroids, and no animal by-products (vegetarian fed).
The new Northland store also was built with environmentally friendly materials, including energy-saving refrigeration and 100 percent LED lighting inside and out.
Aldi operates nearly 1,600 stores in 34 states. Only a handful of stores have opened under the new design and the Northland location is the first one in the Kansas City market to feature the new design. It softly opened Wednesday before its grand opening Thursday.
The discount grocery store chain plans to remodel the other 30 stores in the Kansas City area to the design in the next three years. Some locations in Belton, Lee’s Summit, Olathe and Overland Park are scheduled to remodeled and expanded in 2017.
At Aldi, customers bring their own bags or buy one of its reusable ones at the checkout. While a typical supermarket can carry about 30,000 items, Aldi says it concentrates on the weekly basics (plus some specialty foods and products), which leads to lower rent and electricity costs, and it can pass those savings on to customers.
It mostly sells its own brands, saying they are made “of the same, or even higher, quality than national brands,” and are free of trans fats, synthetic colors and MSG.
But it also carries national brands. A two-liter bottle of Coke was selling for 99 cents this week, while Pepperidge Farm Goldfish snack crackers were 79 cents. Other items can include champagne and truffle cheddar cheese, prosciutto, country style ribs, organic white cheddar puffs, take-n-bake five cheese pizzas, cooked shrimp, fresh pineapple and blackberries, spiral sliced ham, frozen sweet potato casserole and wine.
Customers also flock to the “Aldi Finds,” specials that are here one week, gone the next. Recent “finds” include gingerbread house kits, heated throws, phone cases, Marvel’s Spider-Man figures, fuzzy children’s socks with Frozen or Finding Dory images, fleece pajamas, electric mixers, selfie sticks and serving trays, gift wrap, and even gift-wrapped chocolates.
In March it also started accepting major credit cards, a move that has been very popular with customers, Bersted said.