The wait is over. Aldi has officially made its debut in Arizona.
On Tuesday, the discount grocery chain opened its first stores in Chandler, near Alma School and Queen Creek roads, and in Goodyear, near Interstate 10 and Estrella Parkway.
Two more stores are currently under construction in Gilbert and Peoria, and are expected to open by the end of the year. Opening dates for those locations have not been announced, however.
More locations are expected to be built across the Valley. While Aldi has not confirmed any additional locations, the grocery chain has submitted plans to open stores in Buckeye, Glendale, Phoenix, Mesa, and Scottsdale, all of which are in various stages of the development process in those cities.
TAKE A LOOK INSIDE
Compared to other grocery stores, Aldi's stores are smaller, similar to that of a Walmart Neighborhood Market, and do not have some of those extra luxuries, such as in-store coffee shops, pharmacies, florists, or a meat counter.
But, it does have the standard grocery essentials, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, and milk, as well as breads, canned goods, cereals and snack foods.
It also carries beer and wine, some grab-and-go foods, like pizza and flatbreads, and an assortment of frozen foods.
Most of Aldi's labels are private labels -- Benton's, Millville, Family Orchard, Simply Nature -- with products that appear to mirror their name-brand counterparts, but they do carry some recognizable brands, including Coke, Gatorade, Capri Sun, and some General Mills cereals.
Shoppers have to purchase their own grocery bags, which vary between $0.95 for a standard reusable bag and $1.99 for a larger reusable bag, and have to use a quarter to rent a shopping cart (you get the quarter back when the cart is returned). Aldi said these measures help the company reduce operating costs, which allows them to discount their products.
The stores are open daily from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Here is what we know about Aldi's future plans.
Buckeye: Back in 2018, Aldi submitted site plans to open a grocery store near Watson and Yuma Roads. That location was initially waiting on the distribution center to be built in Goodyear, said Anne DeChance, communications manager for City of Buckeye. Now, however, she said when Buckeye's store could open is unknown. "We’ve been told they are doing 5 stores this year, including one in Goodyear, and they plan another 5-7 next year. Buckeye is potentially on that list but it hasn’t been finalized yet," she said in an email. (Aldi has not officially confirmed the Buckeye location).
Gilbert: Aldi has submitted plans for two grocery store locations in Gilbert, according to Jen Harrison, spokesperson for the Town of Gilbert. Construction has begun at the 1801 Pecos Road location, which Aldi confirmed. The other location, 1225 N. Arizona Avenue, is in "plan review," she said.
Goodyear: In 2017, Aldi purchased approximately 69 acres of land near Indian School Road and Cotton Lane for a distribution warehouse and regional office, said Tammy Vo, spokesperson for City of Goodyear. Construction has not begun on that project and "that portion of the project is still a ways out," she said. In March 2020, Aldi picked up its permits for the Goodyear location at 845 N. Estrella Parkway, which is expected to open in December, according to Aldi.
Mesa: Aldi has submitted applications for permits at 2751 S. Signal Butte Road in Mesa, the city's economic development department confirmed. The design was approved with conditions by the design review board in October 2018. In December 2018, Aldi filed for a commercial building permit. There has been no activity since then, the department said.
Phoenix: Aldi has submitted plans to open two grocery stores in Phoenix. One will be located near 14th Street and Bell Road and another at 59th Avenue and Baseline Road. Angie Holdswork, a spokesperson for the City of Phoenix's Planning and Development Department, said in an email that "the applicant contacted our reviewer and is moving forward on both [projects]." The 59th Avenue location has had its building plans preliminary approved, she said. Plans for the location near 14th Street have been submitted.
Queen Creek: In 2018, Aldi submitted building plans for a grocery store to be part of the Shops at Terravella, a new shopping complex. A spokesperson for the Town said they have not received any further information from Aldi regarding that project and that construction has not started.
Scottsdale: Aldi has also signed on to open a grocery store at Papago Plaza, which is being reimagined and rebuilt, the developer told reporters at a groundbreaking ceremony last year. It is not known, however, when that location is expected to open.
Tempe: Aldi previously submitted building permits for a location in Tempe, a city spokesperson said, but those permits expired in April 2019. Aldi did submit a "tenant improvement" plan to the city related to training, but is not a large enough plan to be a training facility, despite another report, a spokesperson said.
IF YOU GO:
Chandler: 2844 S. Alma School Rd., Chandler, AZ 85286
Goodyear: 845 N. Estrella Pkwy., Goodyear, AZ 85338
Editor's note: A previous version of this story mistakenly listed the location of the Goodyear store. That store is located near Interstate 10 and Estrella Parkway, not Loop 101.