By Mary Ellen Godin Record-Journal staff
Aldi grocery store, 1248 S. Broad St., is adding 3,000 square feet and updating the 21-year-old store with a new facade.
The company received approval to expand into space left vacant when Party City relocated nearby to Townline Square in Meriden. Aldi currently occupies 16,850 square feet in Kohl's Plaza. The grocery chain, which opened its first store in the U.S. in 1976, is known for its quarter deposit on carriages, bring-your-own-bags policy, and low prices.
The four-aisle store will expand to five aisles and will be closed for renovations starting mid March, with a re-opening set for late April. Aldi will encourage Wallingford shoppers to visit stores in Hamden, Middletown, and Southington.
"The Wallingford, Connecticut, Aldi store is part of our $1.9 billion investment to remodel and expand more than 1,300 U.S. Aldi stores by the end of 2020," Bruce Persohn, South Windsor division vice president, said in an e-mail. "This is a significant investment in our stores, but it's really an invest ment in our customers. We're evolving to meet their changing tastes and needs, and in return they have made us one of the fastest-growing retailers in the U.S."
The $1.9-billion investment is part of a $5.3 billion plan that also calls for 800 new stores.
"It's really a national program to update all their stores," said David Spector, senior vice president of leasing for National Realty & Development Corp., which owns Kohl's Plaza. "This is their second expansion."
Plans for the revamped store call for a pop-up facade, glass storefront and changes to the loading area on the southern end of the building. The move into a portion of Party City eliminates some vacant space in the plaza.
"Our remodeled stores feature open ceilings, natural lighting and additional storage for even more fresh produce, dairy and meat," Persohn said.
Shopping interruptions were kept to a minimum this week with the north and southern sections of the store fenced off for construction activity.
Aldi recently launched a product expansion emphasizing fresh, organic and easy-to-prepare options. It has also expanded online ordering and delivery in major markets, according to a company press statement.
The new format's five aisles have expanded produce, refrigerated and freezer sections.
The expansion plan is expected to add 25,000 jobs nationwide, according to a statement from store officials. Aldi was named 2018 retailer of the year by industry information source Supermarket News.