Aldi's

A customer leaves Aldi’s Illinois 50 location in 2015 following the store’s first day of business. The discount grocer has become a major player in the industry.

Kankakee County is home to three Aldi grocery stores, but the community is far from the only one to open its arms to the discount grocery store chain.

The company anticipates opening another 100 United States stores this year. Did you know the retailer is now the third largest grocery store chain in the U.S. in terms of the number of stores here?

Aldi now has more than 2,000 stores nationwide — which includes one in Kankakee, one in Bradley and one in Bourbonnais — and the company is on track to have more than 2,500 by the end of 2022.

According to a recent story in ModernRetail, Aldi ranks only behind Kroger [more than 2,900 locations] and Walmart [more than 4,750 U.S. locations] in terms of store sites.

Aldi, a German-based company, opened its first U.S. store in 1976. It was on a slow-growth mode in the states during its first few decades, but within the past decade it has been rapidly expanding its footprint here.

Aldi had long had a store in the downtown Kankakee area, but Kankakee County has proven to be a strong market for the retailer and it built a new Kankakee store in 2009 along U.S. 45/52 on the city’s south side.

The company then added its second new location here in 2015 when it opened a store along Illinois 50 near St. George Road. This store replaced the Bradley store which had been located along Locke Drive. And just this past September, it opened its third location, this one in Bourbonnais, along Illinois 102 near the Bourbonnais Post Office.

According to Simon Johnstone, director of retail insight at Kantar, a leading data, insight and consulting company, the retailer had to first teach U.S. shoppers how to shop the “Aldi way.”

Basically, Aldi does not offer the vast selection of a Kroger, Jewel, Berkots, Meijer or Walmart. In exchange for that, the company offers groceries at lower costs.

Johnstone noted the company began an advertising campaign in 2012 called “Aldi Truths.” “You can’t eat frills, so why pay for them?” and “The same is always better when in costs less.”

The three Kankakee County stores are by and large the same store. The layouts are roughly the same as are the dimensions. Aldi stores are normally in the 16,400-square-foot range — about 10 percent of the size of a Kroger.

Don’t shop at Aldi if you are interested in popular brands of foods. More than 90 percent of its products are from its own private label brands, which is yet another way the company cuts costs.

And as every Aldi shopper knows, have a quarter in your pocket when you approach the store. It takes a quarter to use a shopping cart. But you get the 25 cents back when the cart is returned to its bin.

The Daily Journal’s Lee Provost writes about local business rumors, comings and goings and other notes of interest. Anyone with information to share should contact Provost at lprovost@daily-journal.com or 815-937-3364.

The Daily Journal's Lee Provost writes about local business rumors, comings and goings and other notes of interest. Anyone with information to share should contact Provost at lprovost@daily-journal.com or 815-937-3364.

Lee Provost, an award-winning reporter, has been writing local news stories for The Daily Journal since 1988. He is a lifelong resident of the region. Provost can be reached at lprovost@daily-journal.com.