Another major player in the grocery business sets up shop in San Diego County.
German discount market Aldi just opened its 25th store in Southern California in 8 weeks, this one in Vista on University Avenue. The store chain plans to open another 20 stores by the end of the year.
Aldi promises to save shoppers money by stocking more than 90% private label or store brand products which they say are prices much less than brand name labels. It also limits its inventory to just 1,500 of what it says are the most common household products.
Stella Taylor says she was surprised by the low prices, "I was really stoked on checking out the prices."
Sheena Walczyk was surprised by the size of the store which at 12,000 square feet is much smaller than a traditional grocery store.
"You think it's a small grocery store," said Walczyk, "but it has so many items in here that you don't expect."
Aldi also says it saves shoppers money by not bagging groceries. Instead customers pay for paper or plastic bags and fill them with the groceries themselves. On top of that, shoppers pay a quarter to rent a shopping cart which is paid back when they return the cart.
"We don't have to pay someone to go out there and find those carts for us," said Bob Schmalz, the Aldi Director of Store Operations.
The stores only have five aisles but carry produce, dairy, fish and fresh meats. They also have a large wine section which they say was expanded for California shoppers.
Aldi does not require a membership and does not accept coupons. Bob Schmalz says Aldi is looking for expansion locations in San Diego County but no announcement is ready.
Aldi joins WinCo, Gelson's and Smart & Final which has made major moves into the San Diego area in the last 12 months.