Low priced food mart expands in region

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Classified as the nation’s low price grocery leader, ALDI stores are located throughout the region with the newest recently opening in the West Mifflin/Pleasant Hills area.

People lined up in droves with carts in tow awaiting the 8:45 a.m. grand opening ceremony of the 239 Clairton Blvd. store.

“People get excited when they can save money,” said store manager Nelson Kirksey. “And we are excited and ready to serve them.”

ReadyToServe
READY TO SERVE—ALDI store manager Nelson Kirksey prepares for the grand opening of the West Mifflin/Pleasant Hills store. (Photo by Diane I. Daniels)

Founded on the belief that people, wherever they live, should have the opportunity to buy everyday groceries of the highest quality at the lowest possible prices, ALDI Saxonburg division vice president, Brent Laubaugh calculates this as the 22nd ALDI store in the area.

“Known for our premium ALDI select brands, ALDI is able to offer high-quality grocery items at unbeatable prices and we are glad to be here,” he said.

Offering grocery shoppers a smarter alternative, Laubaugh explained that customers can expect to find more than 1,400 of the most frequently purchased items sold under ALDI select brands for prices offering up to 50 percent less than traditional supermarkets. Not trying to compete with larger stores he indicated that they offer a 20 to 25 percent savings to Wal-Mart. “We eliminate overhead costs by posing smart, efficient practices, such as a smaller store footprint, open carton displays, by encouraging customers to bring their own shopping bags and by keeping stores open only during prime shopping times,” he said. ALDI also uses a cart deposit system, through which shoppers insert a quarter to release a cart and receive the quarter back upon the cart’s return.

Affiliated with the chain for almost a year, Kirksey, a Braddock native said ALDI not only offers quality food at low prices, but they are a good company to work for. “I not only like their brand, the way the stores are efficiently run, I also like their ‘keep it simple’ philosophy,” he said, pointing out that as a manager he is expected to be driven and reliable, which falls into his work ethic. He noted that ALDI compensates well and offers generous vacation time, and benefits. Other African-American managers are Mark Golden, Forrest Hills and John Wade, Baldwin.

With 43 stores located in the Saxonburg Division, ALDI employs at least 500 people, has plans to open several more stores in the region and expects to explore more than 10 communities for future locations. Areas include Wexford, Indiana and Altoona. Futures sites also will include the South Side, Shady Side and Cranberry. A grocery retailer that has grown without merger or acquisition, ALDI plans to open more than 80 stores nationwide by the end of 2011.

Slowly becoming a major employer in the community, ALDI often hosts and participates in hiring events looking for general staff and store management trainee candidates. They are known to offer their employees generous compensation well above the industry standard, part time staff, working at least 20 hours a week receive full health insurance, dental coverage and 401K plans.

Considered a top 25 U.S. food retailer, ALDI also prides itself on looking to expand its network of partners who produce its food and general merchandise. ALDI officials say they are looking for suppliers who appreciate volume, reliability and growth. They report that suppliers are drawn to ALDI because of what they offer, such as steady growth and high volumes. “At ALDI, you don’t have to pay for or manage extras. We treat you like a partner and make it simple,” executives report. Interested suppliers or distributers are required to fill out two forms to initiate the process.

A select assortment discount grocer featuring its own ALDI select brands, ALDI has been known as a leader in the grocery retailing industry since 1976, with more than 1,100 U.S. stores located in 31 states primarily from Kansas to the East Coast. The store offers fresh and refrigerated meats, fresh produce, frozen foods, dairy products, pantry items, snacks, sweets, bakery items and beverages.

“In light of the economic situation, Pittsburgh families are looking for ways to make their dollars go further,” said Kirksey. “We are excited to be here, glad to provide employment for 10 to 12 people and look forward to providing quality products at lower prices.”

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