Aldi, the king of discount grocers, opens its newest location at 1290 NE 108th St. next week.
The chain, along with Trader Joe's, is owned by Germany's Albrecht family — Trader Joe's is operated by Aldi Nord and Aldi is operated by Aldi Sud. It is modeled after sensible German grocery stores, where shoppers prefer a no-frills experience that saves them time and money. That means generic packaging, bare-bones decor, and a smaller selection of goods. In return, shoppers are rewarded with bottom-line savings.
That means you won't find wine tastings, bites of cheese, or fancy shopping bags. In fact, Aldi stores might, at first, resemble your frugal old uncle who sits in the dark to save money on electricity.
For one, Aldi stores are open fewer hours than your typical market. But unless you're a fisherman or are doing some shopping before hitting the club, you likely won't even notice since the store is open most days for 12-hour stints.
Typically, Aldi's stores are smaller, which translates into less rent and a leaner staff. That also means that there are fewer items to choose from, with a typical Aldi carrying only about 1,400 of the fastest-moving grocery items compared to about 30,000 different items stocked at your local supermarket. You'll still be able to shop for all your grocery needs — eggs, milk, meat, cereal — you just won't have to stress over choosing between 50 different granola bars. There's one granola bar. It tastes good. Buy it.
Aldi, like its distant relative Trader Joe's, carries brands you probably haven't heard of. These Aldi-only names are on everything from pasta to hamburger buns and are guaranteed to be of the same or higher quality than the brands you're used to purchasing. Don't like anything? Aldi will replace the product with something you do like and refund your money. In case your math isn't great that means a free product for your troubles.
You'll also have to do a little bit of work for your savings. At Aldi, shopping carts are available for a 25-cent deposit. Put a quarter in the cart, shop, then return the cart to its rightful corral to get your money back. You'll also have to pack your own items in bags you've brought yourself (or purchase some reusable ones at checkout if you forgot). Most importantly, bring cash (or at least a debit card) because Aldi doesn't accept credit cards.
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What does all that cheapness translate into? According to Aldi, you can save up to 50 percent on your grocery shopping, making a few sacrifices in the way of creature comforts translate into more cash in your wallet.
Aldi opens in Miami on July 23 with a day full of festivities and giveaways of store gift certificates. Starting at 9 a.m., the first 100 shoppers will receive a golden ticket, for a chance to win prizes including free produce for a year. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., sample some of Aldi's products throughout the store, and shoppers will receive a free Aldi eco-bag, while supplies last.
Aldi Miami will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.