Discount grocery chain Aldi will begin construction soon on an 18,000-square-foot store on Log Cabin Drive that is set to open next summer.
Iowa-based Aldi operates more than 1,100 stores in 31 states. The Macon store will be the company’s first in Middle Georgia, with the closest now being in Jonesboro.
The stores typically employ about 15 people, Aldi spokeswoman Heather Tarczan said Wednesday.
Aldi stores sell mostly private-label food products, along with fresh dairy products, produce and meat. The stores carry only one variety and one size of each product, such as ketchup, which allows them to offer the product at a lower price, Tarczan said. Only about 5 percent of products sold in the stores are name-brand items.
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“Everything we do is about efficiency and savings. We’re able to pass those savings on to customers. ... From the minute you walk in, it’s all about saving money.”
About 10,000 square feet of the stores is used for retail, where products are displayed in the boxes in which they were shipped.
“An average customer can fulfill about 90 percent of their grocery list at Aldi’s,” Tarczan said. “They can save up to 40 percent compared to a typical grocery store and 24 percent at big box stores.”
Customers will notice other cost-cutting ways at the store. They will pay a 25-cents deposit to retrieve a shopping cart but will get the quarter refunded when the cart is returned. This keeps the stores from having to hire someone to “chase down” the carts in the parking lot, Tarczan said.
“It also prevents damage to cars,” she said.
The stores accept only cash and debit cards as payment, and purchased items are placed back in the cart after the purchase. From there, customers bag their own groceries at the stores’ “bagging walls.”
Customers can bring their own bags or boxes, or they can buy plastic bags for 11 cents each or paper bags for 7 cents.
“They are much stronger and much more durable, so you can reuse them,” Tarczan said. “We’re not factoring that 10 cents into the cost of groceries.”
The company expects construction to begin within the next few months. The property at 4501 Log Cabin Drive has been given the go-ahead by the Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission. Tarczan would not disclose the construction costs of the project, but a county building permit estimated its value at $1.2 million.
According to a company fact sheet, Aldi employees earn “generous wages significantly higher than the national average.” Employees averaging more than 20 hours worked per week qualify for full health benefits, the company says. For shoppers, Aldi also offers a “double back” guarantee in which the purchase price is refunded and customers also are given a new product.
“A lot of people find that inexpensive tastes great,” Tarczan said.
For more information about the company, go to www.aldifoods.com.
To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.