Aldi opening line extends to neighboring businesses (w/video)

Kathryn Cargo By Kathryn Cargo

Aug. 10, 2017 at 9:57 p.m.
Updated Aug. 11, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Customers stand in check-out lines all the way to the back of the Aldi grocery store during the grand opening Thursday.

Customers stand in check-out lines all the way to the back of the Aldi grocery store during the grand opening Thursday.   Kathryn Cargo for The Victoria Advocate

Nine-year-old Kaden Smith's excitement showed on his face at the grand opening of Aldi on Thursday morning.

The source of his emotion wasn't only getting to see a new place in Victoria but primarily the fact that he spent quality time with his grandmother, Debbie Ballin, 64, he said.

"I like to shop with my grandma," he said. "I get stuff I like."

Like most grand-opening customers, Ballin began her Aldi trip at the end of a long line that ended in front of Wingstop in the nearby shopping center. Although the store gave out one-time free grand-opening shopping bags, she came prepared with her own.

Ballin waited in line to shop at Aldi for the first time but had no lack of confidence in the store's deals. She supports the company's decision to get rid of filler costs such as in-store music and plastic bags to offer affordable merchandise.

"It's great," the retired Victoria native said. "I don't mind bagging my own things and bringing my own bags as long as we can cut some cost off of something."

Rosie Sierra, 57, of Meyersville, spent about $80 on items ranging from spices to a rug. She saved at least 50 percent on her groceries, she said. For example, she bought a 24-by-48-inch rug for $6 that would cost nearly $20 at the dollar store, she said.

"I just love the service," the home provider said. "(Shoppers) should take their time and look at everything. I really didn't have time. I'm going to take my time next time because I know I missed a lot of items."

Store representatives said Aldi offers 95 percent of one's weekly shopping needs, and Sierra agrees. She said she will continue shopping at Aldi primarily. About 90 percent of the store's merchandise is exclusive to Aldi.

Jennifer Onnen, 28, of Victoria, brought her 15-month-old daughter, Harper Onnen, with her to shop. She used to live in South Dakota and regularly shopped at Aldi there. After three years of living in the Crossroads, she can now add Aldi to her weekly errands, which she said she's excited about.

"I can get a gallon of milk for $1.65 here when it's $2.38 elsewhere ... You can't beat that," she said.

Bringing a list and checking before shopping for deals are tips Onnen has for other shoppers.

Karla Waddleton, Aldi's Rosenberg Division vice president, said the grand opening went well and company officials couldn't be happier to serve the Crossroads.

"The people (in the Crossroads) are so warm, so friendly," she said. "We're just grateful to be able to bring high-quality groceries at a really extraordinary price. It's fun."



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