The eagerly awaited Aldi grocery store at 7006 Columbia Pike opened to the public May 4. People started lining up outside as early as 6:45 a.m., reports store manager Matt DeBenedetto. The crowd had grown so large by 8:30, the store ran out of shopping carts.
|Aldi officials handed out coffee, donuts, and tote bags at the store's grand opening.|
The first 100 customers got a “golden ticket” with a surprise coupon inside. Most were Aldi gift cards worth $10 or $25. Keisha Smith of Annandale was one of 10 lucky shoppers who got a card worth $100.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mason Supervisor Penny Gross called the store a new investment in Annandale that enhances the community as a great place to live, work, and play – and to age gracefully.
Gross said she is glad that people will finally stop asking her what is going into the old Bloom space. That is the number-one question she’s heard from constituents since the Bloom grocery store closed five years ago.
|From the left: Mason Supervisor Penny Gross, store manager Matt DeBenedetto, and Aldi officials.|
“We’re excited to bring Aldi to the Annandale community,” said Jeff Baer, Frederick, Md., division vice president of Aldi. What sets Aldi apart from other stores are the “everyday low prices and “exclusive brands that save customers 50 percent,” he said, and cited the Simply Nature brand of organic food and growing variety of gluten-free items.
|Mason Crest Elementary School students Stefania and Stella Gomez at the "Aldi finds" aisle.|
Baer pointed out the “Aldi finds” aisle where the store stocks a rotating array of seasonal non-food merchandise. Among the items currently on display: lawn and gardening supplies, area rugs, pots and pans, cleaning supplies, children’s balls, and bicycle seats.
|Keisha Smith (center) won $100 worth of free groceries.|
In a departure from other grocery stores, customers “rent” shopping carts for 25 cents. Also, there is no pharmacy, on-site butcher, deli, lobster tank, personal care section, greeting cards, or self-service cashiers.
|Gridlock in the produce section.|
Aldi is having a hiring event at the Annandale store on May 17, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. The store, however, is fully staffed – with 20 employees – but the company doesn’t know whether sales will be so strong, more employees will be needed. It’s also seeking employees for its stores in Alexandria, Manassas, Woodbridge, Washington, D.C., and Camp Springs, Md.
There are opportunities for store associates (paying $13.25 an hour), shift managers ($17.75), and manager trainees ($25).
|Kenny Reyna hands out chocolate samples, including pieces of a 5.5-gram Choceur milk chocolate bar that sells for $1.69.|
Applicants must be at least 18 years old and able to lift 45 pounds. The company prefers a high school diploma or equivalent and retail experience. Employees averaging more than 25 hours a week are eligible for health and dental insurance.