Thursday, September 14, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Shoppers stand in the rain before the grand reopening of the Broadview Aldi on Sept. 13. | Michael Romain/VFP
Terri Sansone, of Forest Park, was in line at around 6 a.m. on Wednesday to catch a glimpse of the newly remodeled Broadview Aldi, 1001 W. Cermak Rd. The Sept. 13 grand reopening lured patrons from around the western suburbs.
By the time store employees began inviting customers inside, at around 8:30 a.m., a line of at least 100 people, all of them braving heavy rainfall, had formed outside of the store’s brand new facade. The first 100 shoppers in line received ‘golden’ gift cards of varying worth.
Shoppers peruse the aisles of the newly renovated Broadview Aldi during the store’s grand reopening on Sept. 13. | Michael Romain/VFP
Sansone, the first customer to shop in the store since it closed for renovations several weeks ago, won a $10 gift card — well worth the wait, she said.
“I’m happy. This is a nice store. It’s bigger, cleaner, wider. The bathrooms are beautiful,” she said. “It’s really nice. I like all the different offerings.”
Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson, along with various village department heads, were on hand to cut the ribbon on the newly remodeled store and to welcome customers inside.
“Congratulations to Broadview. This is long overdue. The store is beautiful and this is something we deserve in our community,” Thompson told shoppers moments before they went inside.
“We’re looking to bring great successes — fresh fruit, fresh items, a brand new, fresh Broadview as a we move the village forward,” she said. “This is the start of many more collaborations.”
Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson addressing shoppers before the doors open during Aldi’s grand reopening on Sept. 13. | Michael Romain/VFP
Chris Stair, Aldi’s director of real estate, said that the renovations took around 15 weeks, with the store closed for five weeks.
The renovations are part of the company’s national plan to invest $1.6 billion in improving and expanding more than 1,300 stores in the United States within three years. Roughly $180 million of that national investment will go into 130 stores in the Chicago area.
Stair estimates that the Aldi location in Bellwood will undergo similar renovations in 2019 while the one in Melrose Park will start renovations sometime next year.
The interior of the Broadview Aldi before extensive renovations, left, and after the remodeling. | Michael Romain/VFP
“This [Broadview] store has more square footage than the old one,” Stair explained during Wednesday’s grand reopening. “We bumped out a wall and made the store wider. We’ve got more space for merchandising our products, new paint colors for graphics, new LED lighting, and state-of-the-art, energy-efficient refrigeration systems.”
Stair said that the store renovations will allow the company to accommodate a lot more fresh offerings and Aldi-branded products.
The Broadview Aldi during its first day of opening since renovations were completed. | Michael Romain/VFP
“This expansion is not only for the fresh side of things, but we’re going to be adding several more core range products to our lineup,” he said. “We needed to expand to get that extra shelf space. We’re looking to roll out those products sometime in the middle of next year.”
Brian Ritzheimer, Aldi’s director of store operations, said that the Broadview store, in particular, will be looking to hire eight to 10 more employees. The company held a district-wide job fair on the Wednesday of the Broadview grand reopening, with applicants applying at the store location. Interested applicants can also apply online (click here).
Broadview resident and Aldi shopper Robert Thurmond. | Michael Romain/VFP
Ritzheimer said that the new store format will help help boost sales and entice new customers who are “excited about the fresh organics” and the new product placement.
“In the old store, produce used to be in the back, but now you’ll see that it’s in the first aisle,” he said. “Organic produce is called out in the first section. You’ll see the fresh meat is built out. Bread is now in the first aisle. A lot of things that are very important to the customer are now called out and made focal points within the store.”
Princess Dempsey, an Aldi customer who lives in Broadview, echoed Ritzheimer’s observations while checking out.
“I like this store because the fruit is conveniently placed,” she said. “When you walk in, you’re hitting the fruit. There are also more registers, which is also convenient.”
Ritzheimer said that the new store features an expanded selection of wine and beer offerings, including a brand that’s exclusive to Aldi and that was advertised on a poster at the store’s entrance — a $9 bottle of Rosé.
“That’s a big to-do,” Ritzheimer said. Apparently the judges with the International Wine Challenge (considered the “Oscars” of wine competitions), agree. Aldi’s Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016 was judged best rosé under $10 and notched a silver medal in the overall competition.
Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson and other village officials during the Broadview Aldi gran reopening on Wednesday. | Michael Romain/VFP
“I opened this store 15 years ago,” Ritzheimer said, looking around the facility like a proud father.
Robert Thurmond, a Broadview resident whose been shopping at the local Aldi for years, also marveled at what he called a “great transformation from what it was to what it is today.”
“It’s awesome,” Thurmond said. “People will like it once they come out and see it.” VFP
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