It was a rainy Thursday morning in Porterville, but the less-than-favorable conditions did not stop hundreds of customers from lining up for ALDI’s grocery store grand opening.
Customers waited in line, some with umbrellas and others wearing big sweaters, to stay dry during the official ribbon cutting ceremony.
The Porterville Chamber of Commerce and City officials accompanied ALDI staff for the grand opening as they prepared to welcome customers inside the store.
“As I saw the line, it was wrapped around the building. For a cold morning in December when it’s raining that’s pretty darn good,” said Tom Cindel, ALDI group director in operations and logistics. “We are giving gift cards out to the first 100 [customers], and we are also giving out grocery bags. At the end of the store we have samples for customers too.”
Silvia Magallon walked through the store aisles choosing what she needed for her groceries.
“I’ve been here since 7:15 for the opening,” said Magallon as she pushed her cart. “Every one was very welcoming as I walked in. I even won a $100 gift card.”
Magallon said she was going to buy all the groceries that she needed for the week with the $100 gift card she received from ALDI’s.
“My experience has been great at the store so far,” added Magallon. “Things are very cheap and there is lots of groceries to choose from.”
With a smile on her face Maria Carrillo was also one of the first 100 shoppers waiting in line to enter the store.
“I have a coupon for 25 percent off and got a $25 gift card, which totals about $30 of savings, and that’s a huge help, especially [since] Christmas is arriving and we are spending lots of money,” said Magallon, adding that everyone was very welcoming and polite as she walked into the store. “This is a great store. It seems like there is going to be a lot of things on sale, and as customers, that is what we like to buy — things on sale.”
Carrillo lives in Ducor, but one of her daughters lives very close to ALDI, and mentioned that it’s very convenient for her to stop by when needed.
“I think it is a great idea what they did here,” said Carrillo on ALDI’s convenient location. “For people that come to Home Depot, Lowe’s or stores around this area, it’ll be easier for them to stop by.”
Cindel walked around the store greeting customers.
“The outcome so far is really great. You never know what you are going to get when you have a rainy day,” said Cindel. “We hope that we have a lot of people that come in to give us a shot and try us out. They are going to find that our prices and quality are in match from our competitors. That’s really what you are going to find in ALDI’s — that the price of our products and the overall basket value that you are going to see is going to be better than any competitor.”
Cindel hopes that everyone gives ALDI a shot, “that’s all we can ask for, to get customers in the door and we will do our best to keep them and I think we will.”
When making your way to ALDI, do not forget to take a quarter. ALDI includes a 25-cent grocery cart rental, but once the cart is returned, so is the quarter. ALDI also asks customers to bag their own groceries to simplify operations.
“We have an everyday low price model. We don’t want people to think prices are just going to go skyrocket after the grand opening or something like that,” explained Cindel. “So what you see today is really what you are going to get in a regular basis.”
ALDI grocery store is opened from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday, and is located at 770 S Jaye St.