From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
TRUSSVILLE –Aldi has signed a lease to take over the space in Homestead Village that was once planned for a Fresh Market. The long-expected move was confirmed on Thursday by Miller Terry of Blackwater Resources. The new store is expected to open in April.
According to Terry of Blackwater, Aldi will occupy 21,950-square-feet and plans to bring their new concept design to Trussville. Additionally, Charter Spectrum has signed a lease for 4,155 square feet to bring the shopping center to 100 percent occupancy. Hobby Lobby, Petco, Home Goods, Ulta, and Kirkland’s are among the existing businesses along with several restaurants.
Terry said outparcels in Homestead Village are still available and the company has fielded inquiries from parties interested in locating in the area.
Aldi’s new design concept that Business Insider called “identical” to Whole Foods’ new concept, 365 by Whole Foods, is planned for Trussville, Terry said. The new design includes a more open floor plan, an increased inventory with organics and more fresh food offerings.
The new Aldi concept has been the talk of the grocery industry. Business publications have been buzzing about a head-to-head competition in the grocery industry between Aldi and Whole Foods. According to the Bloomberg Business article, Whole Foods Is Getting Killed By Aldi, Whole Foods launched the new 365 concepts with fewer frills in order to win over millennials.
Aldi’s new design concept matches the Whole Food 365 plan step for step but still wins the price war with pricing as much as 30 percent below Walmart, according to Business Insider.
Representatives from Aldi appeared before the Trussville Design Review Committee earlier this year seeking approval for signage for the building in Homestead Village. The approval was granted. Since then, Aldi has been in negotiations with Blackwater and just completed the due diligence phase and signed a final lease, Terry said.
In 2015, Whole Foods, once the darling of the upper-end organic grocery store world, was facing three straight quarters of declining sales in existing stores. In 2016, Fresh Market, another organic grocer, began backing out of leases and closing some stores in an effort to contain costs.
In an effort to win over the young professional millennial crowd who loved the products, but not the price, the Whole Foods chain rolled out the new 365 by Whole Foods concept. The 365 by Whole Foods is a scaled-down version of the original store with a lower price point, but without the deli, restaurants, and prepared food counters.
Meanwhile, Aldi was creating a new design, too. The new look includes traditional store shelving as opposed to stacked boxes, wider aisles, improved lighting, and expanded selection for organic and gluten-free products.
In a February 2017 press release, Aldi said that the new ALDI store look delivers on its customers’ desire for a modern and convenient shopping experience with a focus on fresh items, including more robust produce, dairy and bakery sections.
In the last few years, the release stated, ALDI has added a number of new product lines that have quickly become customer favorites, including the liveGfree brand of gluten-free foods, SimplyNature products featuring many organic items and a full line of premium baby items under the Little Journey brand.
Remodeled stores will also feature a modern design, open ceilings, natural lighting and environmentally friendly building materials – such as recycled materials, energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting, the release stated.
Another significant difference between the two grocers is convenience. While Whole Foods relies on a large footprint requiring customers to travel long distances, Aldi is more inclined to open multiple stores closer to consumers.
Aldi is investing $1.6 billion in its stores, with an extensive plan to remodel and expand more than 1,300 U.S. stores by 2020.
“With this significant investment in our stores, what we’re really doing is continuing to invest in ALDI customers,” said Jason Hart, CEO, ALDI. “We’re continuing to expand our fresh offerings, which means we need to provide more space for produce, meat, and bakery items. We’ve also made a number of improvements to our products – such as removing added MSG, certified synthetic colors and partially hydrogenated oils from all of our ALDI exclusive brand foods. But one thing that hasn’t changed is that our customers still save money on the groceries they buy the most.”