Manatee County residents north of the Manatee River were in need of another option for affordable grocery shopping, made obvious by the gobs of people at Aldi’s grand opening at 605 10th St. E. on Thursday morning. A group clamored around a table outside and volunteered their personal information for a chance to win one of three prizes for a year of free produce.
McKinley Moore, 78, lives in Bradenton and was entering the contest. He likes Aldi because “they have pretty good vegetables and products in the store and all of the workers seem to be very nice.”
Winning the year’s worth of produce would make a big difference for Moore.
“It’ll help me save a lot of money, I know that,” he said.
The new location on 10th Street East is more convenient for him than the other Manatee County Aldi’s.
“It serves a population that wasn’t being served by Aldi,” said Emilie Mason, Aldi director of real estate.
Aldi had only one Manatee County location, 4705 Cortez Road W., when the company decided to open a Palmetto store, Mason said.
“Our Cortez location was really successful; customers were driving far and wide to come to it. So we wanted to better service the population by adding a couple more stores to the area,” Mason said.
If you come to Aldi and buy the exact same thing that you’re typically buying at another competitor; if you’re currently purchasing a name brand you’ll save 40 percent if you start shopping at Aldi and that’s without coupons or considering any type of discount.
Jamie McFadden, director of operations
Affordable grocery options are increasingly important for Manatee County residents.
The percentage of people living in Manatee County living below the poverty level increased by 2 percent between 2010 and 2014. Nearly 15 percent of Manatee County residents’ 2014 income was below the poverty level, which was $12,071 for a one-person household and $24,230 for a family of four. More than 19 percent of that 15 percent lived in the City of Palmetto, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Aldi is a smaller store, about 12,000 to 15,000 square feet with a limited assortment and limited hours,” Tom Jackson, consultant for the Florida Grocers Association said in a February interview. “There’s few if any national brands and they have mostly brands you haven’t heard of, or theirs. That’s a very successful format because you can buy a lot of groceries for a low cost.”
On its website, Aldi credits its “numerous efficiencies and innovations” for enabling the privately owned grocery chain to pass savings on to customers. Stores encourage customers to bring reusable shopping bags to cut down on bagging costs and are not open 24 hours, lowering labor, rent and energy costs.
Manatee County Aldi locations
There are three Aldi stores in Manatee County; one in Bradenton, one in east Manatee County and one in Palmetto.
- 4705 Cortez Road W., Bradenton
- 4523 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton
- 605 10th St. E., Palmetto
Source: Aldi website