ALDI, a national supermarket chain, was founded on the principle that customers with a very limited income should also be able to eat and drink quality food. In 2014, Reinvestment Fund provided $10 million in NMTC financing in partnership with Wells Fargo to support the development of four new ALDI supermarkets in low-income communities in rural Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia, as well as in one in urban Florida.
The $13.9 million project fulfills vital community needs by providing access to healthy and nutritious food at extremely-discounted prices—ALDI prices average 50% less than conventional supermarket retail. Together, the stores are expected to provide affordable, healthy food options to more than 83,000 customers residing in low-income communities.
ALDI plans to use a portion of the NMTC benefit to fund grant initiatives or other community programs to promote healthy eating and living among community residents. ALDI also plans to explore opportunities to partner with health centers in proximity to each of the stores to develop complementary healthy food initiatives and to promote local, seasonal produce.
It is ALDI’s standard practice and preference to employ residents of the local community for store-level positions. Most positions are promoted from within the store and store managers are typically “homegrown,” having started as shift managers or cashiers. The jobs provide wages that are 40% or more above the state minimum wage, and full-time employees earn medical and retirement benefits and paid holidays. This project will create 44 permanent jobs and 55 construction jobs.
All four stores are located in areas where residents lack sufficient access to fresh food. Additionally, the Lake Park, FL, store is located in a Reinvestment Fund-designated Limited Supermarket Access (LSA) area. In total, there are over 106,000 people and 48,000 households with inadequate fresh food residing in the stores’ trade areas.