Aldi announces date for reopening of south Iowa Street grocery store
The discount grocery store chain Aldi has announced its new Lawrence store will open later this month.
Just yesterday I told you that I was getting lots of questions from area residents about when the new store that is under construction near 31st and Iowa street would open. Well, Aldi officials must have heard you: They now have announced that the store will hold its grand opening at 8:30 a.m. on June 28.
In January, Aldi demolished its existing store at 3025 Iowa St. and began building a new store on the same site. Plans filed at City Hall show the new store will be about 20 percent larger — or an additional 3,000 square feet — than the old store.
Aldi officials haven’t detailed what the new space will be used for, but in a press release the company does say the new store will have an increased focus on fresh food, produce, dairy and baked goods.
Other reports lead me to believe that the new Aldi store might have its own in-store bakery. The trade journal FoodDive earlier this year reported that Aldi began testing a store design that features an in-store bakery. It talked about a bakery that had a “self-service selection of rolls, pretzels, donuts and more.”
The report also said the in-store bakery seemed designed to “entice customers from c-stores and quick-service restaurants who are in search of a speedy breakfast or meal add-on.”
I’ve asked a spokesperson for the company whether the store will have an in-store bakery, but haven’t heard back yet.
UPDATE 3:45 p.m: Bad news for bakery fans. While a spokeswoman said the store will have an increased emphasis on baked goods, it won’t have an in-store bakery.
The FoodDive report also said Aldi’s new design also really highlights organic produce by putting it right near the front entrance.
For those of you not familiar with Aldi, it has a little more than 1,700 stores in the U.S. It also has some unique strategies for holding down costs. It features a “streamlined selection” of most products, meaning instead of finding dozens of different brands you’ll usually find only a couple that are priced on opposite ends of the price scale.
The cost-saving method that threw me for a loop the first time is that you have to deposit a quarter to get a grocery cart. You get your quarter back if you return the cart to its container. I think that is the purpose of the deposit, or else store employees simply enjoy watching my Incredible Hulk routine as I try to pry the cart from the clutches of the quarter machine.
The store also is known for sporadically selling items you wouldn’t expect to find at a grocery store. The company calls them Aldi Finds, and a press release notes those could be a swimming pool during the summer or a chainsaw during the winter. (A chainsaw? I apologize to my dinner guests. I guess it wasn’t a steak knife.)
We’ll see soon enough what finds are at the Lawrence store. The new store will have hours from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. As for the grand opening celebration, that is scheduled to include giving away gift cards to the first 100 customers and a sweepstakes that gives people a chance to win a year’s supply of Aldi produce.