SEMINOLE — This city is about to trade in one of its most irksome eyesores for a sleek ALDI store, the first for the discount grocery chain in western Pinellas County.
The 16,929-square-foot store is scheduled to be built on the site of the former World Savings Bank, 7777 Seminole Blvd. City Council members have long wanted something to replace the deserted bank building. The costs of razing the bank building and constructing the grocery are estimated at $800,000.
The ALDI will also be the first business to develop a site under Seminole's recently adopted design standards. The standards are meant to give the city more control over the appearance of businesses to improve the city's visual aesthetics and provide a more cohesive and attractive identity.
ALDI, for example, wants to have 86 parking places rather than the 68 allowed by code. It also wants to have its front door facing a side street rather than Seminole Boulevard. To gain those concessions, ALDI has agreed to install more landscaping than normally required, add extra architectural details on the building and work with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority to put a bus shelter on the property.
The Seminole City Council could approve ALDI's building plan either later this month or next. Once approved, construction is estimated to take about six months.
ALDI opened its first store in Iowa in 1976. Today, there are more than 1,000 ALDI stores in 29 states, from Kansas to the East Coast.
Each ALDI store carries about 1,400 regularly stocked items, including fresh meat, and, in certain locations, beer and wine. Almost 95 percent of the products are sold under exclusive ALDI select brands. On occasion, ALDI will sell a national brand marketed as "special buys" — limited-time offers of products available while supplies last.
The chain is known for its shopping cart and bag system. Customers pay a quarter deposit to use a cart. When the customer returns the cart, the quarter is returned. This system cuts down on the labor of collecting carts left in the parking lot and damage to cars. ALDI says it passes the savings to the customer.
The stores don't give away bags either. Consumers can bring their own bags or buy the chain's paper, plastic or insulated bags.
ALDIs are already located in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Clearwater, Largo, Tampa and Brandon.
Reach Anne Lindberg at email@example.com or (727) 893-8450.