A new Aldi with a bakery, an indoor cart corral and an extra 1,000 square feet for new products is giving south Naperville another grocery option.
As shoppers crowded the store in its opening hours Friday at 2708 Showplace Drive, a dozen employees welcomed first-time customers and longtime fans to the new location.
Inside a 13,000-square-foot store originally built for a different grocer called The Fresh Market, the Aldi offers about 150 more products than the company's basic stores that haven't been recently renovated, with expanded offerings of fresh, healthy, organic and ready-to-eat options, said Heather Moore, vice president of Aldi's Dwight division.
Recently built or renovated Aldi stores, such as the chain's other shop on the north side of Naperville at 1440 Naperville Wheaton Road, are typically 12,000 square feet and don't have their own bakery, Moore said. Cart corrals, where carts are linked together by an interlocking system requiring a quarter to rent one for a shopping session, are typically outside but under an overhang.
Moore said regulars noticed the changes.
"We were impressed," said Michele Roedel of Naperville, a retiree shopping Friday morning with her husband who said Aldi is one of the stores they frequent. "We like the size and the extended selection."
It's not like this new store is the only Aldi in the region; in fact it's part of a $3.4 billion plan for the chain to operate 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022. But Moore said the company has been targeting the south Naperville area near 95th Street and Route 59 for the past five years to provide a more convenient option for residents there than stores in Aurora, Lisle, Wheaton, Oswego or Plainfield.
"We've danced around this particular area," she said.
So have other grocers. Even in 2015, when officials approved plans for The Fresh Market to construct the building, city council member Judith Brodhead said a grocery store in the Naperville Crossings development had been "a long time coming."
So shoppers who live nearby, such as Beatrz Riverio, checked it out Friday on the eve of Memorial Day weekend.
Riverio, who stopped in for a watermelon, limes, chips, almond milk, hummus, mayonnaise and a decorative plant holder, said she thought the new store might be more like a Mariano's, with a cafe and a salad bar. Although she found instead a discount grocer that sells mostly its own store brands and requires customers to bring or buy their own bags, she said she wasn't disappointed.
"It's very nice," she said about the Aldi, a store she'd never tried before. "It's nice to have options."
The new store is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
"You can get in, get good quality, save a ton of money, and you can get in and out quick," Moore said. "Everything we do is to save the customer money."