EAST WINDSOR: New ALDI grocery store opens

By Amy Batista, Special Writer
The revitalization of Windsor Center got a big boost last week, with the opening of a new grocery store.
The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Aug. 20 at 9 a.m. and was attended by Mayor Janice Mironov, council members and ALDI executives.
“It’s a very exciting today,” said Mayor Mironov. “ALDI is a good addition to the Windsor Center and East Windsor Route 130 corridor, a new grocery store offering an additional shopping option for our residents and neighboring communities.”
The mayor said ALDI has made a great decision in choosing Windsor Center in East Windsor for its new store as the shopping mall has a prime location at the intersection of two major roadways in the heart of the vibrant Route 130 corridor.
The new restaurant occupies 22,500 square feet in Windsor Center, which is located at the southwest corner of Route 130 and Princeton Hightstown Road.
The center has gone through a dramatic transformation over the last couple of years, the mayor said.
“It was revitalized and modernized,” she said. “We are excited about the continuing positive revitalization activity at Windsor Center resulting from aggressive leasing efforts and dramatic improvements to the center’s façade and signage.”
ALDI Director of Operations Denton Division Chris Daniels said the grocer is excited to be in East Windsor.
“A special thanks to East Windsor Township,” Mr. Daniels said. “This building used to be a former Bottom Dollar and we were able to get in here, develop and get this store opened for the community real fast.”
He said it is great to work with a township that is “so pro-business.”
Customers were lined up outside the store and down the sidewalk waiting for the store to officially open.
“We have a lot of exciting things here today to offer,” he said. “We have free samples today. If you have a coupon for the golden ticket, walk down aisle one, exchange that coupon number for the opportunity to win produce for a year.”
Officials estimated approximately 300 people attended the grand opening.
“It’s the biggest record we’ve had,” Mr. Daniels said.
Mayor Mironov said she was “really impressed at the turnout.”
“I think it’s fantastic,” she said.
ALDI decided to open 30 out of its new 66 locations in early April after it bought former Bottom Dollar Food stores when that company announced it was selling its stores in November 2014. Bordentown and East Windsor Bottom Dollar Food stores were among those ALDI purchased.
ALDI District Manager Kristin Boesenberg said the East Windsor store has the “newest look inside.”
“So all of our current stores they are a little bit different on the inside,” she said. “All of our lighting is different and all of the graphics we’ve really revamped.”
She said ALDI has refreshed its look, making its stores a little less complicated and more appealing.
Resident and Republican candidate for Township Council Steven Uccio said he is going to miss the old Bottom Dollar but the new ALDI seems pretty nice.
“It’s set up more like a wholesale club with miscellaneous items like toasters and small vacuums,” he said. “The prices were good. The only bad thing I can say was the layout. There’s no reason to make people walk from the front to the back of the store like that.”
Mr. Daniels said that the “ALDI Finds” aisle has the most popular items, which are switched out periodically based on buying trends.
“Because we are a Germany-based company, we will get all the German line a few times a year and that tends to do pretty well,” Ms. Boesenberg said.
She said during baking season ALDI carries items it doesn’t normally carry throughout the rest of the year.
“Some of the holiday sprinkles and frosting,” she said.
Mr. Daniels there are a lot of gluten-free items based on demand.
Resident Melissa Florke said she was hoping for a larger selection based on what she had heard.
“I was really excited since I’ve heard great things about their gluten free line,” she said. “I have to say, I was underwhelmed and disappointed. They had one small end cap of gluten free products.”
Mr. Daniels said ALDI has expanded its produce section over the last few years.
“We’ve really put a lot of conscious (effort) into fresh products,” he said, adding they’re healthier.
Ms. Florke said ALDI did have decent prices.
“Our employees are really the reason we are able to offer 50 percent lower cost than the average grocery store basically,” Mr. Daniels said. “The amount of work they do and based on the service that they provide is a much higher quality than your average employee at your traditional supermarket.”
While prices may draw customers in, Mr. Daniels said, “What people will realize when they shop is how great the quality is.”
“Small size store; we don’t take credit cards; our employees work really hard and we have less employees than your average store,” he said. “The savings on us ends up onto them.”
ALDI does not accept credit cards, only cash, debit and EBT cards.
“We have 1,500 items,” Mr. Daniels said. “Bottom Dollar probably had about 5,000, so when you have that much more of an inventory to manage its different.”
Shoppers will find that more than 90 percent of the products in the ALDI store are ALDI exclusive brands. ALDI exclusive brands are manufactured by many of the nation’s leading food producers who work closely with suppliers to ensure that ALDI exclusive brands meet or exceed the quality of national name brands, according to ALDI’s website.
At ALDI, everything is based on efficiency, according to Mr. Daniels.
“Our suppliers put all these extra bar codes so when it scans it picks up quicker,” he said, adding they are the fastest in the country.
The company also offers a “Double Guarantee,” stating if for any reason a customer is not 100 percent satisfied with any ALDI food product, ALDI will replace the product and refund the purchase price.
“We do a lot of things that we called nutrients in the front of the label,” he said. “The other thing that we do is that we “Double Guarantee” everything. So if you try something and you don’t like it, you can bring it back and get your money back and we will replace the product with something else comfortable that you want.”
ALDI operates over 1,400 stores in 32 states, according to its website.
The current hours of operation at the East Windsor location are Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information about ALDI, visit www.aldi.us. 