Aldi opens Odessa store

Customers were ready when the Aldi in Odessa had its grand opening celebration on March 12.

The Aldi store is one of the grocery chain’s new locations in Pasco County, and new stores are planned off State Road 56, near Wesley Chapel Boulevard, and another off U.S. 301 in Zephyrhills.

Customers were lined up on March 12, waiting for the new Aldi in Odessa to celebrate its grand opening. The store is one of Aldi’s new locations in Pasco County. (Brian Fernandes)

Patrons were lined up awaiting the store to open in Odessa.

Store Manager Katherine Garner oversees the Aldi store. She held the scissors for the ceremonial ribbon cutting outside.

Matt Thon, Aldi division vice president, helped officiate at the grand opening.

“We’re really excited to open the Odessa, Florida store,” he said. “It’s our 93rd store in our division here [and] about the 150th in Florida.”

It also is now among 1,900 Aldi grocers in the U.S.

Thon also noted that Pasco County’s growing population is what appealed the grocery chain to build a number of its stores within the region.

The newest Pasco store adopts the same interior design found in many of those in the country.

The aisles are filled with various food items – some commercial brands, but mostly Aldi brands.

The store also offers healthy food alternatives, such as vegan and organic products.

Many of these foods can be found in the new refrigerated section, which provides additional space to stock.

New and already-existing stores will follow this model, as well.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the more popular items, Thon said.

“From the consumer feedback that we’ve received, and what our customers tell us each and every day, is produce drives their shopping decisions,” he said.

The key is to put fresh food with high quality on the line within a timely manner, Thon said.

Shopper Cynthia Cameron, of Hudson, came to the store to support the opening of the Odessa branch.

Aldi’s Matt Thon, Haines City division vice president, is joined by Store Manager Katherine Garner and District Manager Sopheap Bednarski. The trio took a moment to pose for a photo during the store’s March 12 grand opening.

Cameron noted that even when she’s in another county, she’ll shop at the nearest branch.

“I do like Aldi, and I think they’re a great store to shop at,” she said.

She enjoys Aldi’s chicken and its produce. She’s impressed by the store’s prices.

Thon noted that the store’s Keto bread is a popular item.

It sells quickly, he said, noting the Keto diet — which avoids carbohydrates — has helped popularize the bread, Thon said.

One aisle alone is stocked with various Aldi name-brand wines.

Also, items like Barissimo coffee and Elevation energy bars are placed at the front end of aisles as stand-out products.

This includes the gluten-free LiveGFree products.

“What I hear from customers is they come in for our gluten-free line and they’re shocked at the price points,” Thon said.

Cost-efficient items are what keeps loyal shoppers, he added.

The store also stocks appliances and décor items.

Items include bedroom accessories, shelves, chairs, ovens and handicap equipment.

Those who enjoy gardening also can select from a variety of flowers and plants.

The carts used at the store are interesting, too.

Each can be pulled from its space when a quarter is inserted in a slot, located on the bar handle. Customers get the quarter back once they return the cart.

Thon noted that he wants customers to have that same comfort level when they walk into the new Odessa store.

The upcoming Lutz-Wesley Chapel branch is scheduled to open in the summer.

Published March 18, 2020

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