Bethany Clough

Shoppers have been waiting: First ALDI store in the Fresno area is about to open

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ALDI, a much-anticipated discount grocery store, is about to open its first store in the Fresno area.

The store, at 1725 Herndon Ave. in Clovis, is slated to open Thursday Oct. 10.

ALDI took over an empty Fresh & Easy grocery store near the corner of Fowler Avenue.

The Germany-based company is on a massive expansion kick in California and the United States, with plans to spend $3.4 billion to expand to 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022.

The retailer has already opened stores in Hanford and Porterville. Fans of the store have been watching and waiting to see when it would open a location closer to Fresno.

ALDI is a little different than other grocery stores, even discount ones, that Valley shoppers are used to.

It carries only the “weekly must-haves,” it says. That means its stores are smaller with lower rent and electrical costs — savings that are passed on to shoppers. The company says shoppers can save up to 50 percent on brands carried only at ALDI.

The stores average about 15,000 square feet – bigger than a Trader Joe’s but smaller than a traditional grocery store.

Grocery carts are stored in one place in the store. Shoppers pay 25 cents to use a cart, and get it back when the cart is returned.

The Clovis store will open after an 8 a.m. ribbon cutting – and plenty of giveaways are scheduled.

The “golden ticket giveaway” will feature gift cards for the first 100 customers in line. Shoppers can get a reusable shopping bag, plus enter to win a year’s supply of produce and sample food.

It’s not clear what food they’ll be sampling yet, but ALDI has items that are carried only at their stores, like Halloween-themed cheeses named “bat knit crazy cheddar” and Happy Farms Preferred “Transylvanian cave cheese.”

The store will have a large refrigerated section, including healthy and convenient options, according to a news release emailed to The Bee.

ALDI made some surprising headlines when its $8 rosé was named one of the best wines in the world. The pink wine earned top honors during blind tasting at the International Wine Challenge’s Great Value Rosé under £8. That honor led to the wine selling out almost instantly when it was stocked in American ALDI stores.

The store will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.