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A new supermarket chain is setting up shop in St. Petersburg.

Aldi, a discount grocer with U.S. headquarters in Batavia, Ill., will open its first St. Petersburg store at 9 a.m. Monday.

Even as the store gets ready to open at the 34th Street Crossing Shopping Center, at 2900 34th St. S, the real estate broker that got Aldi into the space is suing the shopping center for not paying its commission.

The Shopping Center Group, LLC says in its lawsuit that the 34th Street entity owes more than $57,125 in fees and interest.

Norah Suid, a manager for the 34th Street center, declined to comment on the dispute. The lawyer for the Shopping Center Group did not return calls. A spokeswoman for Aldi also declined to comment on the lawsuit.

With 10,000 square feet of retail space, the Aldi store is smaller than most supermarkets. It will have about 10 to 15 employees, but only three to five will work a shift.

"We have a lean team,'' with each person shouldering multiple responsibilities, Aldi spokeswoman Martha Swaney said.

She said the grocer saves by carrying only about 1,400 of the most frequently purchased products. Prices are about 50 percent lower than at other supermarkets, and Aldi carries mainly its own brands, she said.

Customers must deposit 25 cents to use a shopping cart. They get their money back when the cart is returned. Shoppers also bag their own groceries, using their own bags or paying a few cents for Aldi bags.

Aldi also is opening stores in Tampa and Largo this week. Pinellas Park will get its second store, at 9021 U.S. 19 N, on Nov. 11.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at or (727) 892-2283.


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