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New ALDI grocery to open in March
Company also in process of building a warehouse in Jefferson
The old Goody’s Family Clothing store on Dawsonville Highway is the site of a planned ALDI supermarket. - photo by Tom Reed

Construction is under way for a new grocery store on Dawsonville Highway that is expected to open in a couple of months.

ALDI is renovating the storefront once held by Goody's Family Clothing in Lakeshore Marketplace.

The discount food store is set to open in March, said Thomas Behtz, vice president for the ALDI Jefferson office.

Unlike other national grocery chains, ALDI stores occupy a relatively small 20,000 square feet of space and sell about 1,500 items. The store carries mainly items produced under its brand name, which Behtz said allows it to sell products at up to 40 percent less than other grocery stores.

The store also uses other cost-cutting measures, such as displaying items in their shipping material and not accepting credit cards and checks.

"All of these things are meant to keep the operation efficient and keep costs down," Behtz said.

ALDI opened its first store in 1976 and now has more than 1,000 stores in 31 states.

The first ALDI stores in Georgia opened in 1995 and now there are about 30 locations in the state, the closest to Gainesville being in Lawrenceville, Milton and Duluth. There are plans to open stores in Macon and Warner Robins later this year and Athens next fall.

ALDI is also in the process of building a 50,000-square-foot warehouse in Jefferson, which will open in the spring. It will start hiring warehouse employees later this month, Behtz said, and the facility will give ALDI greater ability to expand in Georgia.

Behtz said the Gainesville site will be one of the first Georgia stores not classified as being in the metro Atlanta market.

"We just don't have today enough stores to be noticed by a lot of folks," Behtz said. "We're looking forward to getting into some of these smaller markets where we can be a bit bigger of a voice in the market."

Behtz said ALDI has been fairly well received in Georgia, but the biggest challenge it faces is getting customers to try its products they aren't familiar with.

"Ultimately, the biggest thing for us is for the residents of Gainesville to come try us out in March when we get open," he said.

The storefront at 834 Dawsonville Highway, was vacated by Goody's in 2008 when the chain filed for bankruptcy.

Since then, the space has been occupied intermittently by holiday stores.

ALDI began interior and exterior renovations last fall.

Behtz said the construction is on schedule and grand opening festivities are planned for March.


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