Aldi Market, Stripped-Down Trader Joe's, to Open on Biscayne Boulevard

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Good news for budget-conscious consumers and those who can't make decisions. Aldi will open a market on Biscayne Boulevard near Miami Shores and North Miami.

The market, located at 10700 Biscayne Blvd. in North Miami, near Kmart, is under construction, but a sign popped up the other day.

This is good news to shoppers seeking a low-cost, high-quality alternative to Publix and the Fresh Market. The market, which hails from Germany, already has six locations in Miami-Dade, but compared to giants like Publix and Winn-Dixie, it's relatively obscure and no-frills.

And that's exactly what Aldi is. Think of it as a stripped-down Trader Joe's with a sensible German theme instead of Hawaiian shirts. There's a good reason for the Trader Joe's comparison, by the way. Both chains are owned by Germany's Albrecht family, with the companies split into Aldi Nord (Trader Joe's) and Aldi Sud (Aldi stores). So why is Trader Joe's well known stateside when Aldi isn't? Trader Joe's, with its tiki-chic experience, is hard to resist, but Aldi, with its simplicity, is attractive to people who want a no-nonsense shopping experience. There's a bit of a learning curve to Aldi, and some shoppers might be turned off by the market's generic packaging, bare-bones decor, and the tiny bit of sweat equity that customers must put into their shopping experience. However, the company claims that if you shop there, you can potentially save up to half off your grocery bills.

With more than 1,200 stores in 32 states, Aldi is planning an aggressive expansion, fueled by savvy shoppers who would rather save a few bucks than have some free cheese and crackers while perusing canned goods. Here are a few key things to know when shopping at Aldi:
5. Bring quarters
Unless you're picking up only milk on the way home, you'll want to use a shopping cart. But, unlike Publix, carts aren't just strewn all over the parking lot. Aldi's carts are in a neat little corral at the front of the store, waiting for a 25-cent deposit. Pony up a quarter to snag a cart. You'll get your money back if you return the cart to its proper place (and not crashed into some palm tree or Mazda in the parking lot).

4. Prepare to work a little
Do you like to spend your time at the supermarket checkout keeping up with the Kardashians while a clerk bags your groceries? Well, here's a wake-up call: At Aldi, you have to bag your own groceries — in a bag you brought with you. Aldi provides neither a bagger nor the bags (although reusable totes are available for purchase). So put down that National Enquirer you had no intention of buying anyway and put your own bananas in your tote. Better for the environment, better for your wallet. 
3. Aldi looks more like an IKEA warehouse than a market
Walk into a high-end market and you'll likely hear classical music, see lovely displays of items gathered for a specific holiday or meal, and maybe encounter a woman passing out thimbles of wine. At Aldi, you're more likely to see your food items, still in cardboard boxes, displayed on beige shelves. It's not as pretty, but guess what? You're paying for that other company's marketing budget at the cash register. If you can pull your own dining room table from a shelf at the IKEA warehouse, you can certainly pluck your cereal from some generic carton.

2. Less is more
According to Aldi's website, the average supermarket carries about 30,000 products, while it stocks only about 1,400 items — most of them generic. But here's the point: It carries everything you need. Besides, do you really need to have your choice between 35 brands of paper towel? Aldi says that by cutting its inventory way back, it can build smaller stores, saving on rent, electricity, and inventory costs. Again, those savings are passed on to the consumer.
1. Bring cash or a debit card 
Here's the biggest shocker: In this day of Square and Apple Pay, Aldi does not accept credit cards. The company states that "credit card processing fees are expensive," and that by not accepting credit cards, it can keep prices low. The good news is that the company accepts debit and EBT cards, along with cash. You can even get cash back with a debit card.

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