DeKALB – Mary Katalak of DeKalb arrived at ALDI’s new DeKalb location at 5:50 a.m. Thursday, earning her the first spot in a line of hundreds and a guaranteed golden ticket with up to $100 of store credit to celebrate the grand opening.
“My husband, Chris, works for Doyle Signs out of Addison and he installed the signage last night,” Katalak said while standing in line before the 8:30 a.m. ribbon cutting. “He sent me a picture last night of them putting up the ‘Now Open’ sign.”
Katalak said she loves shopping at ALDI because of the prices and people, and she frequented the grocer’s former location across the street. The new location is at 2540 Sycamore Road in Northland Plaza.
Ashley Clementi and Debbi Yaggie, both of Shabbona, were second and third in line, and said they didn’t mind the drive to DeKalb to celebrate the store’s opening. The store gave away golden tickets worth $25 to $100 in store credit to the first 100 people in line Thursday.
Joan Stanley of DeKalb, who was fourth in line, said she’s even been to an ALDI store in Germany.
“ALDI originated in Germany which is why you find a lot of German products in there,” Stanley said. “My granddaughter was over in Germany and we visited a store there.”
ALDI is headquartered in Mulheim, Germany, and operates more than 10,000 stores in 20 countries. ALDI has been operating in DeKalb for 24 years, and Thursday’s ribbon cutting marked the third spot in town the store has called home.
The discount-grocer chain’s Batavia division has 79 stores, and the Chicago area has 150, ALDI-Batavia Vice President Laura Branneman said.
“It’s all new, fresh product,” Branneman said Thursday of the new DeKalb location.
She said no product was moved from the former location across the street to the new one.
“Most notably, we have a lot more room in the produce section so we can offer more,” she said. “There are wider aisles, so less congestion so people can peruse and not feel like they’re being rushed.”
While giving a tour of the store, Branneman pointed out blue signs throughout marked “New at ALDI” so customers can see the larger selection in the store, especially deli, produce, and specialty items such as gluten-free products.
The alcohol section also has triple the space, she said, so shoppers can better browse the selection of wine and beer available.
Store manager Dan Dowd, has been with the company for 15 years and said he was excited to look on as shoppers entered the store.
“I’m feeling totally pumped,” Dowd said. “These customers are all so committed to being here. They love the store, people and products.”
The move is part of a $1.9 billion remodel nationwide to expand more than 1,300 U.S. ALDI stores by the end of 2020, representatives have said.