ALDI is not your mama’s grocery store.
The $4 million store will have a soft opening on Aug. 24 followed by a grand opening and 9 am ribbon-cutting on Aug. 25 in Ocean Springs.
The 21,000-square-foot store at 3801 Bienville Blvd. is near Navigator Credit Union and just west of Walmart Supercenter and Whataburger on the east side of the city, and is the first ALDI opened on the Gulf Coast. Another ALDI will open later this year in Picayune on Miss. 49 and a Meridian location is set to open on Aug. 31 at 131 S Frontage Road.
The opening of the Ocean Springs ALDI comes as part of a national expansion of 150 stores across the United States, 20 of which are set for the Southeast. In February, the retailer announced it would open a new distribution center in Loxley, Ala. to support its expansion into Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida.
“There is nothing like watching shoppers discover ALDI for the first time,” said Jason Hart, CEO of ALDI U.S. “There’s a moment of surprise when they realize just how much they can save by shopping with us. We can’t wait to share that experience with more customers as we add new stores across the Southeast and Gulf Coast.”
ALDI is not as well-known in the United States as it is overseas, but the German company is a leader in quality and low-cost groceries. The company prides itself on keeping costs to the shopper down without coupons or a rewards system, and minimal working staff.
Corporate leaders, instead, aim to put all of those saved overhead bucks elsewhere, including ALDI brands.
Here’s everything you need to know before you visit ALDI:
The in-house brands cover most of the shelves, and just because these products are on the cheaper side, doesn’t mean they’re lower quality—most ingredients are nearly identical to big brands. These products often have multiple barcodes, which makes it much easier for cashiers to quickly scan the item instead of constantly checking each side of the package.
Staffing is minimal, and each location only has six to eight employees working at once to keep costs low. Each location has a total of about 20 employees. Aldi also cuts costs at the checkout aisle, where cashiers save time by not bagging groceries. Customers can take their carts to a shelf against the back wall and bag groceries themselves. And if you need customer service and you’re not in the store, unfortunately, you won’t be able to call the local ALDI. There’s a national corporate helpline to call with general questions and inquiries.
Aside from labels for different sections, such as produce and frozen items, you won’t find unnecessary signs everywhere. This is intentional and supposed to help with efficiency so that customers aren’t bombarded with various advertisements while shopping.
There’s a Fan Favorite section on the website you should check out before you shop. Each year, the products featured are voted on by loyal customers. You can spot these items in the store by looking for the heart-shaped logo. You can also learn about Hot Deals that are posted on Sundays, and include heavily discounted items. ALDI also gives its customers a two-week heads up before a deal drops in the online sales advertisements.
While many stores have now taken a stand against giving away plastic bags, ALDI’s policy was in place way before it was trendy. Customers are encouraged to bring reusable bags. You can still pay a small fee for brown bags or cardboard boxes.
A lot of people carry cashless wallets these days, but make sure to keep a spare quarter to unlock a buggy. And don’t worry, you’ll get it back when you return the grocery cart.
*Photo courtesy of ALDI.