The time has come, Kalamazoo! The ALDI location at 5355 W. Main closes it's doors for good Sunday, August 13th, at 8:00pm. But never fear... the bigger, badder, better ALDI, just a few doors down, is set to open Thursday, August 17th.

A lot of people have been wondering what will make the new location different. I did some digging and found the new store promises to offer an updated, convenient shopping experience with open ceilings, natural light, energy saving refrigerator cases and LED lighting. You'll see more produce than ever, a bakery section, a dairy section, and a whole lot more room.

To celebrate the grand opening, the folks at ALDI invite you to a ribbon-cutting at 8:25am, Thursday, and, according to a release from the corporate office:

The first 100 customers will receive a golden ticket, each containing ALDI gift cards of various amounts. Tour the store, sample products, and enter to win a year's supply of produce.

Never been to ALDI? Don't know why I'm so excited for this expansion? Here are the reasons I am a die-hard ALDI customer:

  • The cost. If you haven't heard, you can cut your grocery bill in half, and that's not an exaggeration. I can get the fixins' for my whole work week's breakfasts and lunches (that's ten meals total), for under $25, and this isn't a granola bar and bologna on white bread situation. I am making breakfast bowls with sweet potato hash, scrambled eggs, and bacon and a side of fresh fruit. My lunch is Tikka Masala with chicken on broccoli and a salad bigger than your face. I am eating extremely well every day for less than $2.50 per meal, thanks to ALDI.
  • No hemming and hawing. Need peanut butter? They have peanut butter. They don't have a whole aisle of the store dedicated to peanut butter, though. You have choices, mind you; smooth, crunchy, organic, organic with honey - but you don't have 15 competing brands with the same product. Grab the one with the extra crunchy label and move on.
  • You're in and out. Because ALDI is so much smaller than competing grocery stores, you don't have to walk a full city block just to get your shopping done. I'm in and out in 20 minutes with a full cart, and that's if I'm taking my time. This is especially nice for parents who know they're working against the tantrum clock. Their floor plan is set up to keep the traffic moving; very rarely will I encounter a traffic jam.
  • Aldi listens. ALDI's customer service is incredible. You tried a limited time product and want to see it more often, let them know! The more people ask, the more likely it becomes a permanent fixture. Need to return something? ALDI's policy is to refund the money AND replace the product. Sometimes their "Special Buys" sell out fast. A quick email inquiry to corporate and you will get a list of all the ALDIs in the area that still have the item in stock.
  • You bag your own groceries. Now, I know that doesn't sound like a "perk", but follow me. No one knows how my kitchen is organized but me. I bag my groceries in a way that makes sense to how I'm going to put them away later. Plus, I usually have a bag that has work snacks or non-perishable parts of my weekly meals. That bag doesn't need to make a trip in to the house. Believe it or not, it's a big time saver.

A lot of my friends admitted to me that they were mystified by ALDI. "You have to buy a cart, right?" "I heard they don't have bags, so you have to use boxes, like Costco." I'll take a bit of the mystery out of it for you newbies:

  • Bring a quarter. The carts are all hooked together with a series of chains, and the quarter unlocks a cart. When you're done with the cart, you return it to the corral, insert the chain, and you get your quarter back.
  • Bring your bags, or buy your bags. Reusable bags are in 99% of customer's carts, but sometimes you're stopping at the store on your way home and don't have your bags with you. You can buy bags there (paper, plastic, reusable), or find an empty box.

Join me in welcoming the new and improved ALDI to Kalamazoo this Thursday, and enjoy the savings for years to come.

 

Bonus Video: You Can Make a Map of Detroit with Your Hand