Ocala, Florida — Hundreds of shoppers came out Thursday to welcome the opening of the new ALDI store on State Road 200.
Customers from neighboring communities were so eager to see “their” new store that they began to line up for the grand opening event at 6 a.m. By 8 a.m., the crowd of shoppers was enormous and every parking space had been filled.
ALDI Operations Director Jamie McFadden said, “It is a great turnout. And because the crowd was so big, we opened the doors approximately 45 minutes early. We didn’t want our customers to have to wait outside.”
Normal business hours for the store are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
As customers entered the store, they began commenting on how much they thought the store differed from other locations.
Most notably, is the size of the shopping aisles.
Flo, who lives in the nearby On Top of the World community, said, “I have been looking forward to the opening of this store. It’s about time. I hate taking that long drive into Ocala to shop at the other [location].”
When asked what she like about the new store, Flo said, “I immediately noticed that this store looks bigger and brighter. The aisles just look bigger.” She went on to say, “And of course, I love the prices. When you are on a fixed income, well, hey, every penny counts.” She continued, “Umm…and I don’t want to be negative, but the quality of produce, the cereals, and my favorite snack bars are much better here than Wal-Mart. And like I said, more affordable too.”
John S. said, “You cannot beat these prices. I buy a lot of cereal for my grand kids. At first, my grand kids said they did not want “generic” cereals. So, I played a little joke on them.”
“I bought a box of Cap’n Crunch from Publix and replaced the cereal with ALDI’s version of Cap’n Crunch. I waited until they finished their cereal…he chuckled…and two bowls later, they could not tell the difference. Same taste, if not better, for a heck of a lot cheaper.” He added, “I am not talking pennies, I am talking dollars.”
The inside of the store is noticeably different from surrounding ALDI stores, and there is a reason for that.
ALDI Construction Manager Butch Erwin said, “This location is a prototype as to what new stores will look like.”
Erwin told Ocala Post that the aisles are wider because they added approximately 1,500 square feet to the sales floor.
“In the next few years, the two other locations in Ocala will be remodeled,” said Erwin.
McFadden said the wider aisles will improve customer flow and allow room for new products to be introduced in the future.
“We are happy that the community is so excited about the new store,” said McFadden.
At 9:30 a.m., there was still a line at the entrance of the store.