Photos: Inside the New Aldi Grocery Just Outside Fridley
A crowd showed up for a peek inside the Columbia Heights store.
Friday is the first day of business for the new Aldi grocery at 50th and Central avenues NE in Columbia Heights, a block or so south of Fridley.
On Thursday, the public got a look at the store during a well-attended midday open house.
Earlier, Vice President Gordon Nesbit spoke about the new store in an interview. Nesbit leads the chain's division in Minnesota, where the Columbia Heights store is the 29th. The area around the new store "underserved from Aldi right now," he said.
But isn't the area already well-served by existing grocery stores?
"Our shoppers are usually two-store shoppers. For us to be located near our competitors makes it convenient for our customers," Nesbit said, adding: "The American consumer is convenience-driven."
Aldi has a niche. "We feel we offer a high-quality product at a lower price," he said. "The loyal Aldi's customer will drive a distance, passing other stores along the way."
The Columbia Heights store was built to Aldi's "current prototype," Nesbit said. "Our prototype has evolved"—getting slightly bigger over the years, for one thing.
Also, he said, the equipment in the stores is "much more energy efficient." He cited high-efficiency fan motors and refrigeration equipment, as well as motion-sensitive lighting in areas such as bathrooms and break rooms—but not on the store's sales floor. Those lights stay on whenever the store is open, which isn't around the clock like several competitors.
"All Minnesota stores have the same hours," Nesbit said. "The decision to do that is to keep stores open only during peak shopping hours."