Last Updated Sep 21, 2009 8:19 PM EDT
The Aldi location that's been reported as preparing to bow there would represent the chain's first in New York City.
After making a splash by opening its first store in Manhattan, Trader Joe's quickly developed a location in central Queens. It made sense. Queens is a largely middle class borough that suffers a relative shortage of major food retailers and even discount stores, and the Rego Park location, with surrounding working, middle and upper middle class communities, seemed like a good place for the retailer to operate. Turns out it was. Most days, the store's parking lot looks like a bad rush hour on the nearby Van Wyck Expressway, and anyone who knows a little about New York knows what kind of nightmare that is.
Now Crain's New York Business reports that Aldi is hiring store managers for its first Queens store. Again, the Queens launch seems to make sense. Debuting in Manhattan probably wouldn't work for Aldi, not trendy enough, and the customers it draws may skew slightly more toward the lower middle class end of the Queens demographic, but, Kmart cut back its stores in the borough to one, Target has only a couple and a union-prodded New York City Council hassled Walmart so badly when it tried to build in the borough that the retailer called it a day. Even hard finding major chain supermarkets and dollar stores within its borders is hard.
Additionally, and in contrast to Manhattan, Queens is home to lots of large families who might favor Aldi's inexpensive, often private label takes on food, commodities and general merchandise.
Aldi has over 1,000 stores in operation in the United States and has said it would open 75 his year.
Back to the Trader Joe's/Aldi thing. ALDI Group is owned by the Albrecht Brothers out of Essen, Germany. Legend has it they don't get along and split the operation into two divisions, Aldi North and Aldi South. So, when Aldi South started building namesake stores in the United States in 1976 and Aldi North purchased Trader Joe's in 1979, the official word from the respective operations was â€" and is â€" that they don't have anything to do with each other. They both are pretty good at developing private label products and and like to operate nestled in neighborhoods rather than in major retail centers. They operate similar size stores, and they have very deliberate approaches to growth. But, officially, they have nothing to do with each other. And maybe that's so. But can you blame folks for being skeptical about their total independence? Oh, and, by the way, although Aldi and Trader Joe's maintain separate web sites in Germany, their parent divisions share one under the title Aldi International.