This Amazingly Low-Cost Grocery Store Is Quietly Expanding Across the U.S.
There's a new foreign-born discount grocery chain with a cute four-letter name that may pop up on a block near you—and no, it's not Aldi. It’s called Lidl (pronounced "lee-dell"), and its latest outpost, which opened last month in Suwanee, GA, represents the chain's 100th U.S.-based store in its ninth state to date.
"[The] opening represents an important milestone in our mission to deliver outstanding quality products at the lowest possible prices to our customers in the United States," said Roman Heini, chairman of Lidl US, in a statement."We plan to continue to build new stores, ramp up our hiring efforts and expand our network of distribution centers to reach even more customers in the years ahead. We look forward to forging new and strong relationships with everyone who helps make our journey possible."
So how is Lidl different from Aldi, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's—and all of the other grocery stores you’re used to shopping? After all, its signage calls to mind Ikea, its name seems shockingly close to Aldi's, and its airy appearance looks like something straight of our European grocery-store central casting.
For starters, though its footprint in the U.S. remains small, it’s as beloved by its customers as it is "fiercely" affordable. Food & Wine ranked Lidl the third-best supermarket in the country, in 2019. "The concept is similar to both Aldi and Trader Joe’s—smaller footprints, lots of private labels, lots of low prices," F&W stated. "But for Lidl's American debut, the company went almost overboard, throwing wide the doors to a series of light-filled, reasonably-organized stores, making grocery shopping that is much more pleasant for anyone on any kind of budget, all up and down the East Coast, from New Jersey to the Carolinas."
It's the ninth-cheapest grocery store in America, and upwards of 80 percent of all of its products come from "Preferred Selection," the store's private label (a similar strategy you may know from Trader Joe's and Aldi's). As a company headquartered in Europe, the store carries an outsize number of its 3,500 products from across the globe, including Italy, Spain, and elsewhere.
But they're known for more than their prices and their unique food selection. They also sell other non-grocery items such as furniture, clothes, and shoes. Hardcore Lidl fans adore the front-of-store flowers section that always maintains a freshness guarantee.
Shopping with my daughter in Lidl just now, a member of staff came up and handed us each a bunch of flowers. ‘Happy Mother’s Day’, she said. ‘These are on the house.’ Such a nice gesture. Thank you @LidlGB #TootingBec #MothersDay pic.twitter.com/bk40LBB8Jr
— Naomi Westland (@NaomiWestland) March 22, 2020
One other nice touch Lidl has is a bakery at the front of the store, where customers will smell its fresh bread.
am not messin I could dive head first into all the fresh bread in the lidl mmmmmm 😋😋😋
— *miss ⭐6 times⭐ fabulousss (@lisamj_33) July 10, 2019
Lidl, which operates more than 11,000 stores worldwide, first arrived in the U.S. last year, when it acquired 27 Best Market stores that were largely based in Long Island, New York, before announcing their plans of adding 25 new stores down the eastern seaboard. To date, the company employs 5,000 people.
The company hasn't yet stated where in the U.S. it will expand to next. And for some great grocery shopping advice, don't miss These Genius Grocery Shopping Tricks That Actually Work.