By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
An international grocer will be building a new location in Fultondale.
Aldi, a chain based in Germany which operates worldwide, will open its newest store at 1601 Morris Avenue, at the intersection with Walker Chapel Road.
The city and the company will hold a ground-breaking ceremony on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
The location is part of the commercial rehabilitation project that Fultondale undertook after the April 2011 tornado. On Tap Sports Cafe is on one side of the Aldi site, while a combination Shell gas station and Subway restaurant are on the other.
Morris Avenue is being extended to cross Walker Chapel at that point; it’s the side street which runs between Lowe’s Home Improvement and Applebee’s restaurant.
Aldi specializes in smaller, no-frills stores with a limited selection of brands. Most of their items are in-house brands. Prices are typically lower than most grocers, particularly on staples such as milk; other Aldi locations in metro Birmingham sell gallons for about a dollar less than nearby superstores.
The chain is known for some policies which are unusual for American retailers, such as having customers pay a quarter to use shopping carts. The quarter is refunded when the customer returns the cart to the rack, which keeps the store staff from having to spend time rounding up stray carts. Aldi also charges for shopping bags; old-fashioned paper sacks sell for six cents.
Both policies are intended to keep down costs, and therefore prices.
The name Aldi is a contraction of “Albrecht Discount,” the name of the still-operating original store founded by the Albrecht brothers in a suburb of Ruhr, Germany in 1913. The family split the company into two parts in 1962. Aldi Süd (south) operates the chain in the United States, while the other division run the U.S. chain Trader Joe’s.
Aldi operates six stores in the metro area, with the location closest to north Jefferson County in Center Point.