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New Aldi grocery store opening Friday in Altoona

Des Moines Register logo Des Moines Register 1/20/2021 Melody Mercado, Des Moines Register
a house covered in snow: The approximately 20,000-square-foot building opens Jan. 22 and sits in Lion's Gate, a new 5.5-acre shopping development that's under construction south of Adventureland Park and east of 34th Avenue Southwest across from the Altoona Walmart. © Melody Mercado/The Register The approximately 20,000-square-foot building opens Jan. 22 and sits in Lion's Gate, a new 5.5-acre shopping development that's under construction south of Adventureland Park and east of 34th Avenue Southwest across from the Altoona Walmart.

Discount grocery chain Aldi will open its newest central Iowa store Friday in Altoona.

The 20,000 square-foot store is located at 611 34th Ave. Southwest, in the city's Lion's Gate development, a 5.5-acre shopping district south of Adventureland Park and east of 34th Avenue Southwest across from the Altoona Walmart that also includes a Dollar Tree.

It's the ninth metro-area store for Aldi, which is in the midst of a $3.4 billion push to reach 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022. Aldi, which has 34 locations in Iowa, has opened stores in Ankeny, Waukee and Grimes in the past two years.

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“As we continue to expand, we promise to do everything in our power to offer the lowest prices, every day, without exception," Jason Hart, ALDI U.S. CEO, said in a July 2020 news release when the company opened its 2,000th store. "In fact, as food costs are rising across the country, we’re lowering prices on hundreds of items to meet our customers’ increased need for savings."

More: As stimulus package expands food stamp benefits, Aldi adds online shopping for Iowa EBT users

The new Altoona location will employ about 15 to 20 people and is still working to fill a few open positions — according to Aldi Faribault Division Vice President Matt Lilla. 

Altoona Mayor Dean O'Connor said residents have expressed excitement for the new store.

"It fills a want from the citizens, and most importantly to me, it really made that area look great," said O'Connor.

Aldi is known for its low prices and no-frills stores, which accept only cash, food stamps, credit cards and PIN-based debit cards. Carts cost customers a quarter, which is refunded when they are returned to the store from the parking lot. Customers bag their own groceries in sacks they bring from home or buy at the store.

German brothers Theo and Karl Albrecht created Aldi (short for Albrecht Discount) in 1961. The brothers' philosophy was hard discounting and self-service aimed at keeping prices low. The brothers split the company into Aldi Nord (North), which operates Trader Joe's grocery in the U.S., and Aldi Sud (South), which runs Aldi in the U.S. Both divisions operate stores internationally. Aldi expanded to the United States in 1976, when it bought a small Iowa grocery chain and opened its first store in Burlington.

Melody Mercado covers the eastern Des Moines metro for the Register. Reach her at mmercado@registermedia.com or Twitter @melodymercadotv

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: New Aldi grocery store opening Friday in Altoona

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