This week Aldi opened its third 805 location with its grand opening on Grand Avenue in Arroyo Grande. The space, formerly occupied by Cookie Crock and vacant for several months, anchors the Elm St. and Grand Avenue plaza that includes Starbucks, Five Guys, Chipotle, Menchie's, and more. Additionally, being across the street from the best restaurant in SLO County, Aldi is helping revitalize the former wasteland that is Grand Avenue.
Headquartered in Germany and with ties to Trader Joe's, Aldi bills itself as a discount grocery store with a focus on fresh produce. In recent surveys we researched Aldi consistently ranks in the top 10 US grocery stores.
I made a quick stop in the new store. Here's my initial impressions.
What I Liked
Prices are definitely low. Can't really beat 39¢ for avocados. From what I can tell, the produce quality is fairly high. The store itself is fairly small and the checkout process is very fast, making Aldi a great option if you're in a hurry to pick-up just a couple things.
Probably the best part about my first trip was the discovery that Aldi carries Topo Chico, which is fairly impossible to find in SLO County. Returning from Texas after a Topo Chico bender no longer has to be hard.
What I Didn't Love
Depositing a quarter to get a cart is odd. Who carries quarters around? I get the purpose but still don't love it. Overall the selection is limited. In the baking aisle, for example, only bleached flour was available and there was no yeast.
So, despite a couple minuses, Aldi looks to be a great addition to local grocery options.