It’s a Statesman article, so we have to take it with a grain (gram?) of salt. But there is a report that Aldi, now building in Pflugerville, will continue their Texas expansion. I’ve heard of Aldi for years but haven’t ever been in one. From Community Impact:
More than 90 percent of the products sold in the stores are ALDI exclusive brands, similar to Trader Joe’s, allowing shoppers to buy products at lower prices. ALDI has nearly 1,600 stores in 35 states.
The Pflugerville ALDI will be the first in the Austin area, with the closest stores in Temple, Killeen and College Station.
I do like TJ’s, though I’m not there often, partly because their lunatic magazine of an ad doesn’t let me see deals quickly. Since you know me, Dear Reader, you know that’s a problem. So I’m interested in the possibilities.
From the Statesman article:
Aside from stocking little in the way of name-brand products, the retailers employ a number of other techniques to cut overhead, including building smaller stores – typically just a third the size of most supermarkets. Aldi requires customers to pay 25 cents to use a shopping cart – a fee that’s refunded if the cart is returned to a corral at the front of the store at the end of their visit. It also charges for bags and requires shoppers to sack their own purchases at a counter just beyond the cash registers.
Part of the reason I’ll hit Randalls for basics is simply that I’m not hiking the Brodie HEB hike. Randalls has milk, bread, beans and frozen vegetables for the same prices as HEB and I don’t have to scurry through a parking lot of angry Lexi and a store of meandering post-yoga spirit-selves. If Aldi and Lidl are small stores with low prices, I think they’ll find a market here in Austin. We’ve got small/expensive, and big/cheap. If they’re small/cheap, people will shop there.
I wonder when we’ll hit grocery saturation, though. For every HEB and Randalls, there’s a Royal Blue and a Live Oak Market. We’ve got places like in.gredients, and more CSAs and farmer’s markets than ever. Eventually, just like restaurant dollars, grocery dollars will plateau, and I wonder who will be left standing. With luck, it’ll leave a lot of options for everyone.