The German grocery store chain ALDI has been busy the past few months constructing its 18,000-square-foot store at 6301 Veterans Parkway in north Columbus. Now comes the hiring.
Thom Behtz, ALDI’s division vice president in Jefferson, Ga., just northeast of Atlanta, said Thursday the store will open in November. That’s close enough that the company is already looking for employees, with a "hiring event" Wednesday at the Marriott hotel on Front Avenue in the city’s downtown.
ALDI said it will hold the job fair from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. that day. It will be looking for store associates, whom it will pay $10.50 an hour, along with a shift manager, who will earn $10.50 per hour plus $4 extra each hour they perform manager duties. A manager trainee will be paid $22 an hour.
Basic qualifications for those who apply, the company said, are to be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED, available to work 6 a.m.-11 p.m. any day of the week, and the ability to lift 45 pounds. Retail experience is a plus, it said, as is management experience for those seeking the top jobs.
ALDI, which is expanding steadily across the U.S., is known for paying employees above the national average, with health and dental coverage available to those putting in more than 25 hours per week. All staffers are eligible for the firm’s 401(k) plan.
Competition for the positions will likely be fierce, however, with Behtz having said previously the local store will have about 10 employees.
The new store, Behtz said, will use about 10,000 square feet of the 18,000 square feet it is constructing for display space. The layout will include four to five “uncluttered” aisles spaced 8 feet apart, spacious checkouts and “pricing prominently displayed.” The overall design, he said, will include “high ceilings, better lighting and environmentally friendly building materials such as energy-saving refrigeration and light bulbs.”
The buzz around the grocery chain includes the very efficient operation of its stores, savings of which it says are passed along to customers, and the ease of getting in and out while purchasing from a smaller product inventory.
The company’s website says store shoppers must bring their own bags or purchase reusable ones on site. Those wanting a shopping cart must put a quarter in a machine, then get it back when finished shopping; that keeps staff from having to retrieve carts. And credit cards aren’t accepted; they only take cash, debit and electronic benefit transfer cards.
“Everything we do from our smaller, energy-saving stores to recycled bags and cartons capture the very essence of conservation. As a result, you can save up to 50 percent on the majority of your needs,” the grocer’s website says, pointing out it offers more than 1,300 items for sale rather than as many as 30,000 items at typical supermarkets. Many of its products are ALDI’s own brands.
The ALDI supermarket will be an anchor for a 65,900-square-foot strip shopping center being built at 6301 Veterans Parkway, adjacent to CarMax and across from Northside Medical Center and The Hughston Clinic.
Wes Lewis, a real estate broker, senior vice president and asset manager with Columbus-based Adams Brokerage Co., is spearheading development of the shopping center being built on property that through the years has been home to a Lowe’s home improvement store, and vehicle sales lots for Bill Heard and Legacy dealers. ALDI is leasing the land upon which its store is being built, and is shooting to have the center completed by year’s end.
The chain, founded in 1942 by the late German brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht (ALDI is short for “Albrecht Discount”), operates more than 9,000 stores worldwide. That includes nearly 1,400 stores in 32 states in the U.S. The estate of Theo Albrecht also owns the popular Trader Joe’s grocery chain.
The company in June said it is expanding to Southern California next year, with 25 stores planned there by July 2016. That’s part of ALDI’s five-year strategic plan to open 650 new stores nationwide by the close of 2018, giving it roughly 2,000 locations in the U.S. at that time. The company said the entire expansion will require an investment in the neighborhood of $3 billion to pay for land, construction and equipment.
ALDI’s building permit from the city of Columbus shows a construction price tag of nearly $1.6 million. Pound Construction of Columbus is the general contractor.