Discount Grocer Aldi Opening Stores Across South Florida, Offering Hundreds of Jobs With Benefits | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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Discount Grocer Aldi Opening Stores Across South Florida, Offering Hundreds of Jobs With Benefits

Move over, Walmart. There's a new supercheap grocer in town. South Florida, welcome Aldi -- the area's new low-priced supermarket -- which currently has several locations in Palm Beach and Broward counties, with more to come.

The discount grocer -- which along with Trader Joe's is owned by Germany's Albrecht family -- has opened about 1,300 U.S. stores in 32 states in the past few years. It's latest target: Florida, where it plans to open a total of 56 stores from Ocala to Miami. Today, Aldi sells a good selection of some of the nation's most commonly purchased grocery items, from toilet paper and paper towels to bottled water, eggs, milk, and bread.

That's good news for the South Florida work force, which will see hundreds of jobs thanks to several new stores slated to open in the coming months. In 2010, the chain opened its first store in Deerfield Beach, followed by stores in Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, and West Palm Beach.

So, just how low are the prices? On a recent trip to the new West Palm Beach store, a gallon of organic soy milk was going for $2.29, a dozen grade-A large eggs were $1.79, and vine-ripe tomatoes cost $1.30 per pound.

Cheap price points are mainly thanks to the chain's exclusive brands, which Aldi claims must meet or exceed the national name brands on taste and quality. The grocer also keeps prices down thanks to an open layout and minimal storage space, stocking items in piles -- no shelving or traditional aisle layouts -- while produce is placed in open crates. Customers are encouraged to bring their own bags or use spare cartons to pack groceries.

In Germany, the Aldi chain has been criticized for having poor employee relations and labor conditions. However, here in the U.S., the company promotes itself as "a model of fairness." In an official statement released for its Florida job initiative, Aldi claimed to offer employees "generous compensation" well above the industry standard, saying even part-time employees would receive full health insurance.

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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna

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