Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

In praise of Aldi's AND Trader Joe's: Wish We Had Both!

Development, Entrepreneurship, Living well on less $

Poor Aldi's*.  The Town of Brookfield Plan Commission squelched their plans for a new store. One of the reasons cited in the Community Watch post was that, "Some members of the Plan Commission said they were wary of the discount grocer's reputation and the type of customers and tenants the store would attract to Bluemound Plaza..." (near Best Buy)

Was that criticism warranted?  Just who is an Aldi's customer?

Well, I am. I know of 2 aldermen who shop there. I also know some of my City of Brookfield neighbors shop there. As food prices continue to climb, I think more Brookfield customers will seek them out.

The last time I was at Aldi's Hwy 100 store near Greenfield Ave., I asked if business was increasing because of rising food prices. The checkout guy said, Oh, YES. In fact, we are building one in Brookfield.

Brookfield? I said, I wouldn't think you would ever get one in Brookfield. He then went on to tell me they wanted to build one in the Town of Brookfield. I was still skeptical.

I do know what the commission is worried about. There is a certain type customer that both Wal-marts and Aldi's attract in some areas. (Customers without a comb or teeth come to mind, however I have seen people like that at say, The Outpost too.) But then, Chucky Cheese customers are no prize either!

I do wonder if that customer element has to do more with the neighborhood the store is in though. Aldi's stores are often located in less affluent areas and so they attract bargain seeking customers. If an Aldi's was to be built in the Town of Brookfield, it would seem that it would attract customers from that area? I would think it unlikely someone in the lower income bracket would drive past a closer Aldi's to get to the Bluemound store.

What about their reputation? 

The people I know who shop there love the low prices and their products.

Unlike some cheaper store brands that are very inferior to name branded items (Jewel Foods comes to mind), Aldi's has top notch companies making many of their products. 

The post mentioned that "Trader Joe's might be a bigger draw."  So, Trader Joe's is OK, but Aldi's is not?

Interestingly, they are owned by the same parent company. They even share some of their product line. My sister and I discovered this by a fluke. I told her about the great frozen whole baby green beans I purchased at Aldi's. She told me she bought the same beans at Trader Joe's. (She has no Aldi's near her; I have no Trader Joe's.) 

Here is the scoop on Trader Joe's and ALDI : (my emphasis. Photo is of Trader Joe's at Bay Shore)

Owned by a German company called Albrecht Discounts, ALDI is a discount grocery chain that started in Germany in 1948. Decidedly no frills, the company stocks virtually all house-brand products, all offered at very low prices thanks to exclusive deals with their suppliers, many of which are big-name producers. ALDI has approximately 5,000 stores worldwide and the two Albrecht brothers, who own the company, are some of the riches men in the world.

But getting back to ALDI's business strategy, does this sound like another store that we know of? The same strategy, although executed by the US staff and tailored to their customers' tastes, is the exact same one used by Trader Joe's.

Trader Joe's, although it may be based in Southern California, is actually owned by Albrecht Discounts. The company was purchased back in 1979, long before it hit the cultural mainstream. Since that time, it has been left to turn itself into a very trendy, upscale grocery store by following a similar business plan to ALDI. TJs has low prices and a lot of store-brand products, but a different image that appeals to a different group of consumers.

Seems the proposal will come before the full Town Board on June 17th. Maybe their opinion would be swayed if Town residents asked, "When Aldi is coming to town?" If not, maybe Aldi's would consider building another Trader Joe's?


*I am not affiliated with Aldi or Trader Joe's in any way.


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