Friday, November 12, 2010

My trip to ALDI in South Florida

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ALDI opened yesterday in South Florida, with locations in Deerfield Beach (3825 W. Hillsboro Blvd.) and Lauderdale Lakes (3301 N. State Rd. 7).  Due to prior commitments, I missed the opening day, but I went this morning to check one of the stores out.

The Deerfield Beach store is on Hillsboro Blvd., one block west of Powerline Rd., on the north side of the street.  It's housed in a former Books-A-Million storefront.  The parking lot was pretty small, considering the number of people that will undoubtedly be coming to ALDI.  Try to park on the outside row facing the street, or look past the store to the parking lot of a furniture store.

Remember to bring a quarter!  There is a lock on the shopping carts that is only released by putting a quarter in the slot.  The store helpfully had two associates outside to help any shoppers with the unfamiliar system.

Inside, there were 5 aisles, with items stacked on two levels.  I was impressed by the number of items they had - I guess I had lesser expectations.  They had most of the basic food items that I buy each week.  However:
  • ALDI only carries their house brands, so don't expect name brands there.
  • Because they only have their house brands, there are no coupons to use here.
  • Although there are bakery items like bread, English muffins, and bagels, they do not have a separate bakery as you might find in a supermarket.
  • There are frozen and pre-packaged meats, but no butcher.
  • There are fresh vegetables; however, the selection is limited.
  • I found no whole grain ingredients, such as whole wheat flour, brown rice, or whole-grain pasta.  However, the bakery section did have whole-wheat bread.
Checkout went quickly for me - a cashier grabbed me from the end of a long line and opened a new register.  But others had to wait quite a while.  Remember to bring your own bags - if you forget, paper bags are available for purchase for 6 cents each.  And don't bring credit cards; only cash, debit cards, and food stamps are accepted.

Most importantly, how were their prices?  I copied down the prices of many of the items that I purchase each week.  Later, I'll post those prices, and I'll compare ALDI's prices to those at Walmart.  But, in short, ALDI's prices were mostly lower than similar items at Walmart, and in some cases below the prices you'd get when buying brand-name items on sale with coupons.  I was very impressed!  If you're using the first of my two opposite strategies to get the best price on groceries, ALDI would be an excellent place to shop.

Although I won't be giving up sales and coupons, I think I will be buying more at ALDI.  It is a little off the beaten path for me, but I think the extra trip will be worth it in the long run!


J Rodney November 12, 2010 at 8:34 PM  

Thank you for this run down! It sounds just like the stores I'm used to from Europe, although the difference there is that no store takes coupons! I sure love shopping in the US:)

I cannot wait to go, really I cannot wait! I hope you will link up this post to the Aldi Shopping Trip linky at my most recent Aldi giveaway 2 x $25 ALdi gift certificates! You will get 5 extra entries just for linking up your post.

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