German supermarket chain ALDI has officially arrived in Southern California, with eight of 45 planned stores celebrating grand openings Thursday.
The first cities to get ALDI in their neighborhoods include Beaumont, Fontana, La Quinta, Lake Elsinore, Moreno Valley, Palm Springs, San Bernardino and Yucaipa. Other locations will continue to open throughout April and July.
ALDI's spread to California is a part of a $3 billion, 650-store expansion, AP reported last month. ALDI's has been compared to California's Trader Joe's, but they have a number of differences and are independently operated. Kiplinger explains:
"Aldi is well known in Europe – especially Germany, where it was founded in the 1940s by Karl and Theo Albrecht. The brothers, now deceased, decided to part ways in the 1960s and split the company in two: Aldi Sud and Aldi Nord. Both businesses have expanded globally with Aldi Sud operating Aldi stores in the U.S. Aldi Nord owns the Trader Joe’s chain, which has fewer stores than Aldi but is arguably better known."
The supermarket chain prides itself on its double-guarantee policy that promises to replace unsatisfactory items and return your money.
The company's other trademark is keeping prices low by tweaking some of the things you probably take for granted when shopping. To use a cart at ALDI, for instance, you must put a quarter in the slot and then return the cart to get your quarter back. The company says that practice cuts down on the time and manpower spent retrieving carts. Once you're through the checkout, also expect to pack your own groceries, a system the company says keeps the line moving quickly.
Grand openings at California's new ALDI stores include free samples, contests and prizes, like reusable grocery bags.
Check out this map to see all of the ALDIs coming to California: