JOLIET – Shoppers braved the chilly Thursday morning weather as they prepared to enter the new Aldi location in Joliet.
The grocery retailer opened a new spot at 2601 W. Jefferson St., which will replace the old location at 1820 W. Jefferson St. In celebration of the new space, company representatives offered the first 100 shoppers gift certificates and other promotional offers.
And the customers came. By the time Aldi had its ribbon-cutting ceremony, the parking lot was full and shoppers packed the entrance.
Heather Moore, Aldi vice president for the store’s Dwight division, said the previous Aldi location was almost 20 years old. Increased customer demand meant it was time to open up a bigger store. She said the new location is about 2,000 square feet bigger.
“It was becoming more and more difficult to carry all the items into the store and give the customers a good shopping experience,” she said.
The stores also are now offering more organic and gluten-free products, Moore said.
The new building has energy-efficient lighting, along with more efficient refrigeration for food products. The store was also constructed from recycled materials. The shopping experience will be easier and less cluttered, Moore said.
“It’s an easy shop. You can get in and out… the aisles are big,” she said.
Aldi practices efficiency through its cart rental system. Shoppers insert a quarter into a lock to get a shopping cart and can get the quarter back when they’re done. The store also encourages customers to bring their own shopping bags. Those who don’t can buy bags at the store.
Aldi has more than 1,300 stores in 32 states and the company plans to expand with an average of 80 new stores each year, according to company representatives.
The Aldi store is part of a new retail and restaurant development. Restaurants Mooyah, Potbelly and Chipotle also are moving in.
The property used to be the site of a Joliet car dealership.
The developers of the site are father-and-son team Jerry and Matt Cairo, of Chicago, who also developed outlots across Jefferson Street in the Menards and Wal-Mart shopping center for an Applebee’s restaurant and a Starbucks shop.