German grocer Aldi sets opening date for first Austin-area store


Highlights

Aldi stores are different from traditional supermarkets in a number of ways.

While the chain has a significant presence in Dallas and Houston, it hasn’t been a player in the Austin area.

Aldi has set an opening date for its new store in Pflugerville – marking the discount grocer’s first foray into the Austin mero area.

The store, at 1415 FM 685, will make its debut Nov. 2, the chain said Monday.

“We’re thrilled to join the Pflugerville community and offer customers the benefits of the Aldi shopping experience,” Karla Waddleton, an Aldi division vice president, said in a written statement.

Aldi stores are different from traditional supermarkets in a number of ways, starting in the parking lot, where shoppers must pay a quarter to get a shopping cart. The quarter is refunded if the cart is returned to a corral in front of the store.

Inside, shoppers will notice that Aldi is smaller than stores such as Fiesta, H-E-B and Randalls. The typical Aldi is 15,000 square feet – about a quarter the size of its competitors.

Another difference: Customers must sack their own purchases at a counter just beyond the registers.

Aldi promises prices that are half those found elsewhere, primarily by carrying generic brands. About 90 percent of the items in stock at Aldi locations are store brands.

“Our high-quality products and everyday low prices make for a combination our competitors just can’t match,” Waddleton said. “Our stores are simple to navigate, so it’s easy for shoppers to get in, get what they need and continue on with their day knowing they left with a shopping cart full of groceries that fit their lifestyle and save them money.”

The Pflugerville Aldi is accepting applications for store associates online at aldi.us. Starting pay is $12.25 per hour, the company said.

Aldi, which traces its roots back to Germany, is in the midst of a major U.S. expansion. It currently has 1,600 stores nationwide and expects that number to grow to 2,500 by 2022.

While the chain has a significant presence in the Dallas and Houston areas, it hasn’t been a player in the Austin area until now. The closest stores currently in operation are in College Station, Killeen and Temple – all an hour or more away from downtown Austin.

No other Central Texas Aldi locations have been announced so far, aside from the one in Pflugerville.

At the same time Aldi is entering the Austin market, so is another German grocer. Representatives for Lidl, which opened its first U.S. stores this year along the East Coast, have submitted plans for a location in Kyle. The 4.6-acre site is at South FM 1626 and Marketplace Avenue, adjacent to an existing H-E-B-anchored shopping center.

Lidl has declined to say when the store will open, saying its current focus is on the new East Coast stores.



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