By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
FULTONDALE — A new grocery store is coming to north Jefferson, but it’s not the one many have been anticipating.
Fultondale officials broke ground Tuesday on a new Aldi store, to be located at 1601 Morris Avenue, just off of Walker Chapel Road between On Tap Sports Cafe and the Shell gas station.
Aldi representatives said the new store should be open for business by August unless weather delays construction.
Mayor Jim Lowery said all of the site preparation has been completed and construction of the store will begin soon.
Aldi is a German-based chain that is known for its low prices. The store cuts out much overhead by selling paper grocery bags for 6 cents (or customers take their own), by charging a quarter to use grocery carts (the coin is reimbursed when the cart is returned) and by not over-staffing.
The idea is to pass on the savings to customers in the form of cheaper groceries.
“Aldi is a very clean, well-kept store. It’s great for people with limited incomes, which is all of us,” said Lowery.
He pointed out that Aldi will be Fultondale’s second grocery store; Winn-Dixie has been in the city for several years.
“In looking a the demographics of Fultondale, this will be a good fit for Aldi,” said Will Akin with Capital Growth Real Estate, which purchased the 2.3-acre site, and is leasing a portion of it to Aldi.
Akin said his company is in talks with another retailer that is considering building next to Aldi. He said an announcement should be forthcoming in four to six weeks about another business in the location.
Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony was not without its comedians. Even the sign at the event was in on the act, stating, “Aldi’s grocery coming sooner.”
It was a good-natured jab at neighboring Gardendale, which has been promising that a Publix grocery store is “coming soon” since 2008.
The Publix opening in Gardendale has faced numerous roadblocks, but city officials say they are still moving forward to get the project off the ground.