If you haven't read my first post on my Aldi store event, you can do so here.
After a restful and quiet night at the Herrington Inn & Spa, I met up with the other bloggers and again we were shuttle down the street to an Aldi store in Geneva, IL. Okay, this was my first visit to an Aldi store ever, so, I felt a bit nervous and made a big attempt to not psyche myself out on things I had heard from my husband and family. Up until meeting all the great people who work for and with Aldi at the headquarters, I had just head horrible things. But, all these tales came from a decade or longer ago and Aldi has taken a lot of steps in recent years to truly make Aldi a great place to shop.
First step off the shuttle and I was floored. The building was huge. Huge and clean. There wasn't a stray shopping cart to be found. This is because it "cost" a quarter to rent your shopping, something that's done outside the US, and you get your quarter back after you return your cart. This is one of the reasons Aldi is capable of keeping their costs down. No need to pay a lot attendant to go out once an hour to push carts back inside!
Inside, the store was so open, clean, and bright. Nothing like I expected, I'm ashamed to admit. But the first few moments changed my perception of Aldi 100%. What I noticed first was the lack of shelving. Every item was in a pallet or box, which is another great way Aldi saves you money. When a box or pallet is empty, a new shipment goes in its place, eliminating the need to hire a stocker which is how more savings can be passed on to the customer. Next time you're in there, look at the milk. That's how it arrives on the truck. No restocking! Aldi also trains their employees to know how to do everything in the store. With cross trained employees, they can do what needs to be done without waiting on others, making the store run smoother and have things done more quickly, which really does trickle down to you as customer in savings!
I also noticed the lack of National Brand names or items in the store. Aldi goes by private label to make their own items. Their goal is to have products that taste just as good, if not better than what you see at other stores. They really hit the nail on the head with this, without sacrificing taste or quality, they can bring customers items they love at little cost. I also loved all the fresh, local produce available. Pomegranates for under a dollar? One alone costs almost $5 where I live! All the produce was vivid in color which just made me want to buy it all up!
We also learned about the new Fit and Active line for those of us watching what we eat or how we eat. Aldi also offers an Organic line which is amazing and I heard that next year they will even have a Gluten-Free line as well! Aldi really listens to its customers and caters to the needs, so I'm hoping that down the road they will offer a meat replacement that just isn't a special buy for the summer. Speaking of, Aldi offers these great special buys all the time, that feature some of your favorite brands from other stores at a special price or holiday items! We recently bought a bag of Halloween candy, a big name brand, for about 50% off! It's a great way to get what we love without scrapping the bottom of our piggy bank.
I am forever changed on my opinion of Aldi. I was able to do grocery shopping for my family after my encounter in Illinois. If famous chefs use Aldi products in the foods they cook up and serve, then I find it difficult to turn my nose up to it too. I am forever grateful to Aldi for flying me all the way out to their headquarters and proving to me that it's not all about names when it comes to grocery shopping, but the quality behind the label that counts.