ORANGE PARK – For many Clay County residents, quality grocery products at low prices are just around the corner after the county’s second Aldi store opened its doors on Blanding Boulevard near …
ORANGE PARK – For many Clay County residents, quality grocery products at low prices are just around the corner after the county’s second Aldi store opened its doors on Blanding Boulevard near Orange Park.
The store officially opened at 9 a.m. on Jan. 11 with about a dozen customers waiting in line that first morning. In addition to the grand opening, Aldi stores throughout the Jacksonville area hosted a hiring event for those hoping to get in on Aldi’s $12, or more, per hour starting pay.
“Aldi takes a positive approach with workers, they always take care of their workers and staff,” said Jordan Augier, a district manager in training for Aldi who started at the company less than a year ago. “Aldi is in the top 94 percent for pay, and there are always opportunities to move up and expand yourself. They look for the people who want to grow – those who don’t just want to do the same thing for the rest of their lives.”
Though the 19,842-square foot store – in the Bolton Plaza – popped up in just three months, the scouting and details that went into the location took years of planning. The store is part of an expansion for the company into the Central and Northeast Florida markets. This store is the fifth to open in the Jacksonville area, with others on the way including an Oakleaf store that will be Clay County’s third.
“We’ve had overwhelming customer support [in this area],” said the region’s Director of Operations Bob Schmalz. “Our stores have a fantastic reputation, and it made sense to put one in Orange Park with their population density.”
The grocery retailer recently announced a $3.4 billion capital investment to expand to 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022 building on its already aggressive growth plan to spend $1.6 billion program to remodel 1,300 stores by 2020.
In addition to providing industry-leading pay and employee benefits, the stores are also known for treating their customers well, specifically in that they guarantee the quality of their products will hold up against other brands while only charging a fraction of the cost that a customer would pay at a Publix or Winn Dixie store. Aldi even brews its own beer and bottles its own wine to keep prices down on the more expensive items.
“We have the lowest prices in the market, and the highest quality product,” Schmalz said. “Our prices will get you in the door and the quality keeps you coming back.”
Aldi carries all the same items that can be found at the average large supermarket, but its stores have smaller footprints and a less aisle-filled shopping experience. Aldi keeps its aisle height around eye level to make the stores feel open and comfortable, instead of walking down long aisles with floor-to-ceiling shelving. Schmalz explained that it want the stores to feel user-friendly and welcoming for customers to keep them coming back.
“It’s easy to get in and easy to get out because of the smaller footprint,” he said.
The store is now open on the regular Aldi schedule, opening from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. all days except Sunday when it closes an hour early at 8 p.m.
An Aldi store is also under construction in the Oakleaf.
These two new stores will join Aldi’s first Clay County store in the busy Branan Field Road and Blanding Boulevard area north of Middleburg, which opened in May 2015.