International food market chain brings new jobs and new style to the community
BY CHERYL SLAVIN
ALDI Food Market, an international company based in Germany with thousands of stores across Europe and the United States, has opened a new store in Stony Point. With its potent claim of high quality products matched with lower prices, ALDI promises to offer the Stony Point community a food source alternative that is economical yet still worthwhile. The opening date is set for Thursday, August 22, starting at 9 a.m with a ribbon cutting and food sampling to be followed by a cookout with free hotdogs and sodas from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
About 90 percent of the products sold in the ALDI stores are under the ALDI exclusive brand. This is one of the company’s primary means of reducing costs overall. The products are produced by many national leading food producers, and ALDI maintains quality control through rigorous assessments in its test kitchen. The company stands by its products with a Double Guarantee: if for any reason a customer is not satisfied with an ALDI food product, the retailer will replace the product and refund the purchase price.
ALDI also employs a number of other cost-saving strategies. It uses selective volume purchasing, stocking only about 1,400 of the most commonly purchased grocery items. These are kept in open carton displays, thus reducing the need for constant restocking. The stores also generally follow a consistent layout, smaller than other supermarkets, which streamlines the shipping and loading process from warehouse to store and reduces costs that arise from leasing and maintaining a larger space. There is a shopping cart rental system, the store does not accept credit cards, and does not provide free bags or bagging clerks. Ultimately this approach results in the reduction of overall “hidden” costs usually passed on to the customer, including the reduction of excess personnel such as stock clerks, baggers or shopping cart retrievers.
The market does, however, still need staff and the employees at the Stony Point location have been predominantly local hires. The store manager is from Middletown. ALDI has hired about 10 workers so far, and will be looking to hire at least five more after the grand opening. The official hiring date will be set later on.
The company chose the Stony Point location after assessing population density, proximity to competition, cost of the property and traffic patterns. This store is part of ALDI’s much larger push into the U.S. market; over the past several years it has opened 50 to 80 American stores each year, and is on pace to continue doing so in 2013.
According to the Stony Point tax assessor’s office, the assessed value of the property at 156 Liberty Drive is $543,000. Tax revenue last year for the property was $139,968.39 in school taxes, and $57,847.57 for town and county. This year’s taxes will be determined in September and will probably change, given the improvement of the property.
In general the community is pleased with the addition of new business in Stony Point and that the former vacant shopping plaza has been replaced with the new shopping center, though some have said they wish a retail or family-oriented venue could have been attracted to the location.
Several local residents have also expressed concerns about some of the structural issues raised by the new construction. As previously reported by the Rockland County Times, residents of the Hoke Drive neighborhood had spoken at board meetings about possible noise, light and air pollution stemming from the new air conditioning units and parking lot lights, as well as about privacy, safety and eyesore issues. At the August 13 board meeting Hoke Drive resident Laura Passarelli reiterated her previous concern with ALDI’s air conditioner vents, located on the building’s roof and pointed directly at her bedroom window.
ALDI’s website claims the company strives to be ecologically and environmentally sound, which hopefully will translate into becoming a good neighbor for Stony Point residents as well. The company’s full corporate policy can be found on the website at www.aldi.us.