New-look Aldi opens to public

ERIN O’NEILL The Marietta Times Val Hoover, of Marietta, was the first to check out at the Marietta Aldi after it reopened Tuesday with a new design.

Hundreds of people waited in the rain to get a glimpse of the newly remodeled Aldi store at 708 Pike St., Tuesday and said they weren’t disappointed.

“This is great. I shop here all the time and this store has the best manager of any Aldi store I’ve been to. And that’s a lot,” said Parkersburg resident Phillip Smith, who drove over to be first in line at 5:30 a.m.

The doors opened at 8:30 Tuesday morning with a ribbon cutting by Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews and the parking lot quickly filled with cars and people lined up to get back in the store which closed Oct. 1 to begin renovation. Golden tickets, good for Aldi gift cards, were given to the first 100 customers. A friendly Aldi employee even passed out quarters for the shopping carts. Customers typically have to put a quarter in to release the cart from the corral and the quarter is returned when the cart is returned.

“I’ve been here five years but I’ve never been a part of a grand opening,” admitted Penny Anderson, one of the shift managers who was waiting to help people check out. “It’s really exciting.”

Anderson said it will take some getting used to navigating and helping customers around the newly expanded store. Some of the updates include a reworking of the sales floor and adding a new refrigerator produce section to greet customers as they walk in the front door, as well as wider aisles.

“We have a new design element that we’re rolling out across the country,” said Briana Markham, director of operations for Aldi Inc. “We used environmentally-friendly building elements, new graphics, wider aisles and a new selection of items.”

Markham shared that the Marietta Aldi is the first to have the fresh refrigerated produce section at the front of the store. In April, the grocery chain will launch more of its signature items.

The first Aldi store opened in 1961 in Germany, making Aldi the first discounter in the world. Headquartered in Batavia, Ill., Aldi now has more than 1,600 stores across 35 states, employs more than 25,000 people and has been steadily growing since opening its first US store in Iowa in 1976.

The Marietta location has 18 employees, three of whom were added for the reopening, according to Markham. “We are still looking for great people. We have an event Dec. 20 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the store where applicants can come turn in applications,” she said.

Val Hoover, of Marietta, was the first person through the checkout line Tuesday and said she is a frequent shopper at the Marietta Aldi.

“I did miss it when it was closed,” she said. “But I love this. It looks very nice.”

One couple from Rinard Mills drove an hour to get in line at 7:15 a.m. They were picking up gifts and groceries as they navigated around the new layout.

“I just need to get used to where everything is but I really like the wider aisles and higher ceilings. I probably do 90 percent of my grocery shopping here,” sid Julia Baker, of Rinard Mills. “They just have such good quality merchandise and you can’t beat the price.”

What’s new

¯ Building expanded in the back.

¯ New refrigerated produce section at front of store.

¯ Higher, open ceilings and wider aisles.

¯ Expanded beer and wine selection.

¯ Larger fresh meat and refrigerated foods section.

¯ More room for seasonal items.

¯ New products launching in April.

¯ More organic items.

Source: Briana Markham, Aldi director of operations.