ALDI, the minimalist German discount grocery store chain, held its grand opening Thursday at 13920 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway in Chantilly.
The Chantilly store handed out free samples Thursday as future customers were allowed to familiarize themselves with the selection before the store officially opens on Friday.
"They have good prices here," said Isabel Villafranco of Clifton, who said she spends $500 on groceries per month to feed her husband, two children and herself. "I checked everything. I'll shop here for most things, but not beef. It's cheaper at Costco."
There are 1,400 items in the whole store, which has no music, no pharmacy or bank. They don't take credit cards either (only cash, debit and EBT cards). But it all equates to lower overhead and lower prices. After all, who wouldn't pay $1.89 for a four-pound bag of navel oranges and $1.19 for a three-pound bag of sweet potatoes?
"We're excited to be here in town. We're confident when customers see all of the savings that they'll come back, and that we'll be here for the long term," said Jeff Baehr, Frederick Division vice president for ALDI, at Thursday's ribbon-cutting. "We keep a close eye on our competition. If you want to get a basket of goods for $50 at a traditional grocery store, that same basket of goods will be 30-50 percent higher than at ALDI."
The Chantilly store joins a dozen other ALDI stores in Virginia, and the company anticipates opening four to six more locations annually in the DC metro area. There are more than 1,200 ALDIs in the United States, and thousands in more than a dozen countries around the world.
"This is one of our growth centers in the U.S. We have other growth centers in Florida, Texas and the New York City area," said Baehr. "It's all about the density of the population and the number of people moving to the area."
ALDI is hiring cashiers (starting at $12 an hour, plus benefits) and managers (starting at $25 an hour, with the potential to make $75,000-$80,000 a year, plus benefits).
ALDI will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.