Saturday, September 04, 2010

New Grocery Store Chain to Land In Northeast


The supermarket wars rage on, now with a new competitor. The poor man's Trader Joe's is coming to Ward Five next week, as discount grocer chain ALDI will break ground on what is set to become their first store in the District of Columbia. Work will officially begin on September 7th at 901 17th Street, NE; ALDI executives will be joined by Ward 5 Councilmen Harry Thomas Jr. to celebrate the good news. ALDI summarizes their unique business model as this: "A select assortment discount grocer featuring its own ALDI select brands, ALDI applies smart and efficient operational and business practices to save more than 20 million monthly customers up to 50 percent on their grocery bill." With limited shelving, and most products displayed on the same wooden pallets they're shipped on, it seems as if the end product will be the less complicated, groceries-only version of Costco.
As it is now

Looking more like Soviet Safeway here


Although it may be tempting to poke fun at the grocer as the District becomes overpopulated with gourmet supermarkets, it will likely be a vast improvement upon the "UnSafeway" just next door. With a neglected Safeway on Rhode Island Avenue shut down earlier this year, it is clear that northeast has not received anything like the attention from grocers lavished on northwest. In Germany, where ALDI originated, the chain was once sneered at and dismissed as a low-quality, thrifty-alternative for impoverished shoppers, but has now gained momentum as hip and simplified shopping for the parsimonious. Future customers be warned however, you must come armed with a quarter (redeemed upon return of the grocery cart), and cash or a debit card (credit cards not accepted). Customers are also required to pay for the grocery bags they use, so bring your own reusable cloth sacks to save time, money, and the environment.

The new store should look something like this
Since their business philosophy is a no-frills shopping experience that focuses on cutting costs and passing the savings onto the customer, it's hard to imagine the architecture being inspirational. And like the majority of ALDI's business relationships, they've contracted with a single entity, ADP Engineering and Architecture, to bring their new stores across the country to life. No official construction timeline has been published, but it is expected the turn around will be fairly short. The need for better shopping options in the area certainly remains strong.

Washington D.C. Real Estate Development News

24 comments:

IMGoph on Sep 4, 2010, 10:14:00 AM said...

wait a minute. the safeway in the hechinger mall isn't closed, i just shopped there this week. you're confusing this with eckington.

and wasn't aldi supposed to be going into the former national wholesale liquidator space in the mall? the new ground being broken across the street is for an apartment building, from what i've heard.

andrew said...

Does this mean that Murry's will finally be pushed out of DC? The demise of the planet's worst grocer cannot come fast enough.

Aldi's a good business, and will especially benefit the residents of the area. Thrift and poor quality do not necessarily have to go hand in hand, and I suspect the store will be incredibly successful.

Brooks Butler Hays on Sep 4, 2010, 10:56:00 AM said...

you're right about the two safeways imgoph, i was confused. i have fixed it. but unless two different aldi spokespersons and their press release are lying to me, the 901 17th st ne location is the property set for their new location, at which they will break ground at on the 7th.

Mike Licht on Sep 4, 2010, 12:13:00 PM said...

"Poor Man's Trader Joe's"? I didn't know TJ's sold portable generators.

inked on Sep 4, 2010, 1:18:00 PM said...

Imgoph,
the Aldi is going in on the vacant land next to the Developing Families Center.

Anonymous said...

the reference to a poor mans trader joes is that ALDI and TJ are owned by the same company. aldi is their downmarket version.

like marshals and tj maxx.

Anonymous said...

I shopped at Aldi in switzerland. It's a good store, but it's not for everyone. It's excellent for the city though, Costco style pricing, without having to buy in bulk.

Mike Licht on Sep 5, 2010, 1:17:00 AM said...

Anonymous wrote: " the reference to a poor man's Trader Joe's is that ALDI and TJ are owned by the same company."

That makes Aldi "TJ's poor relation," not "the poor man's TJ."

Rosedale Royale said...

I went to an ALDI one time back when I lived in Philadelphia and will never go back. There were limited items and random brands (the majority of the products were generic brand items or very obvious knock-offs). If I recall correctly, there was no produce section either. I am actually disappointed to hear this is coming to my neighborhood. I would also add that while the Hechinger Plaza Safeway has some challenges (lines are often very long and at times the produce seems to have been sitting for a long time), it is actually fairy nice. It was renovated some time ago and is a decent grocery store option. I'm not sure why so many people turn their noses at it. I'm sure they haven't been recently.

Anonymous said...

I have started going to the one on Rt 1 in Fairfax County, and probably will about once a month or so. I have not used my Costco membership in a year, and will probably let it lapse. Its not for everybody, and in its current configuration it doesn't have everything you need, but the company advertises that you can get "90%" or your regular groceries there, and I'd say thats about right. I have compared, and pretty much everything is definitely cheaper. It has most staples that you need, "everyday" basic groceries. If you wanted to throw a party on a budget, try it. (1.29 chips, mmm) There is a produce section, and I've been satisfied with it. If you are very finiky or insist on organic or gourmet products, its not for you. Their "Winking Owl" cheap wine is better than Trader Joes Charles Shaw. Speaking of Trader Joes, I have read that they are connected, the Aldi family trust owns them or something, but operationally they are separate. Most stuff is private labeled, some with weird names and graphics, but its comparable to anything you'd buy in another supermarket. An interesting thing is that everything has bar codes in multiple places, so it speeds thru the checkout fast. Checkout lines can be long, but they move, and you'll never have an annoying check-writer in front of you. They just put everything back in your cart, and there is a counter area where you bag or box it yourself.
Some people will scoff at Aldi, but I think it will be of benefit to many people in the community. It is somewhat like a 1/20th scale Costco, but without the membership, and you can purchase in more manageable quantities. I'm a grad student on a tight budget, and I've been please shopping there, and there are some great deals. I did shop there once about 2 years ago, and was not impressed then. I decided to give it another try after reading about the founders recent death, and a lot of media articles in the press about the company. Apparently they are the only company that has Wal-mart scared.

Anonymous said...

IMGoph, Yes the adress of the new ALDI is 901 17th street NE, however the lead picture in this article is the site of the new Arboretum Place apartments that broke ground last week. That explains the confusion. Man, DCmud, get it together.

-Jordan

Brooks Butler Hays on Sep 5, 2010, 9:05:00 PM said...

the picture that you see is from google street view, it is the shot i got when i typed in the correct address for the ground breaking and the new site of aldi. so either you both are recognizing the plot as something different than it is, or google is wrong.

Anonymous said...

Be glad that you at least have the option to shop at either Safeway or Aldi. When the hell are they going to bring a grocery store on my end of the district where I would not have to catch a bus?

Anonymous said...

I like Aldi. And no, it is nothing at all like Murray's. Check it out before judging. They have a few locations in Maryland. I like the ones in the Bowie/Crofton area and Glen Burnie. Just a suggestion.

IMGoph on Sep 6, 2010, 9:50:00 PM said...

brooks: ok, thanks for clearing up things regarding the two different safeways.

now, my question is what is the "Looking more like Soviet Safeway here" picture supposed to show? is that an aldi about ready to open somewhere else? it's not clear from this article.

Brooks Butler Hays on Sep 6, 2010, 10:05:00 PM said...

yeah, that is just a picture i found of an aldi that hadn't quite stocked it's shelves prior to opening. but it gives you an idea of how little shelving there is, or any sort of fancy displays

Anonymous said...

I Like ALDI and Glad to have one nearby vs driving to Hyattsville or Langley Park, MD. This DC location will be a hit once people realize the value.

Anonymous said...

I'm very glad to see Aldi coming to the District. It's true that most of their products are private label (like Trader Joe's) but you can find a lot of what you need there. Staples are dirt cheap. The produce is sometimes lacking for sure. They need to keep it refrigerated. This area (NE DC) needs more grocery shopping options. I look forward to a DC location where I can get wine and beer (as opposed to their Maryland locations where they can't offer that due to MD law. It's a no-frills shopping experience for sure, but the products are actually not bad. Try it beefore you disparage it.

Anonymous said...

Once the shelves are stocked it will look alot better that the picture shown. As stated before, check out the Aldi in the Crofton/Bowie area. It's nice.

Anonymous said...

I've shopped at Aldis for several years. The quality of the food is almost invariably very good and 90% of the store is private label stuff. But its cheap, good, and usually a pretty efficient shopping process. The produce can be lacking, but in some of their newer stores (e.g., several I've been to in Chicago) is pretty good. Definitely good news for those in NE DC.

retrothreads on Sep 7, 2010, 10:16:00 PM said...

I have been considering moving to the H St. area from Woodbridge, but thought "what would I do without my Aldi ?" (there are two within a 7 min. drive of mine). Aldi food is excellent quality, decent variety, and the best part is how quickly you can get in and out of there. You have your mental list of usual items, you swoop in and grab what you need, the cashiers are unbelievably fast, and you are out of there in under 10 minutes. I regularly go in 10 minutes before closing, and I'm done before the doors are shut. It's all Aldi love from me :-)

Anonymous said...

H-Street is going to have a lot of options for food shopping. Choice is a good thing.

A fairly decent Safeway, a Giant at 3rd, Aldi, Harris Teeter right across from the tracks, and lest anyone forget, you've got all of the unique options and flavors at the retail places in the Florida Avenue market.

I'd encourage those who are not aware of many of the hidden places at the market (around the left-most parking lot are a lot of places that sell produce/meat/spices/grains, etc. retail) to really explore it out one Saturday. If you have ever traveled to a developing country or to one of the few old-style markets left in the US, you might appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

I adore Aldi's! Their stuff is good quality, you generally only have the one store brand to choose from, so shopping is simple and fast, and you know you're getting the best deal without having to compare prices. The nearby Safeway is horrible--I go miles out of the way to avoid it--and Aldi's can't come fast enough.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if this is still happening?

 

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