German Supermarket Aldi Bringing City Shoppers Another Option

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
June 28, 2017

City shoppers may have missed out when Fresh Market decided against opening a new store on South Washington Street, but now a new grocer is poised to provide another option nearby.

Aldi, a big German company, is preparing to open a 20,000 square foot store in the Tower Square Shopping Center on Hillwood Avenue, replacing the long-standing ethnic market Halalco, a source familiar with the company’s plans said last week.

The grocer will also occupy several adjacent storefronts. One of those adjacent storefronts, Russian market Troika, will move to the other end of the plaza and occupy the long-vacant space formerly occupied by barbecue restaurant Red Hot and Blue, as well as the storefront to that space’s west, the source told the Times.

The impact of Aldi on the mid-century style strip mall could be significant. Combined with the redevelopment of the long-vacant strip mall across from The Falls Church, which sits directly behind the Aldi location, that part of the City will gain a new vibrancy.

And while Aldi is not an exact substitute for Fresh Market, City shoppers may prefer it. Fresh Market is a competitor to Whole Foods and has high prices to match, while Aldi caters to a more price sensitive shopper, and its decision to open more stores will only accelerate the price war going on in the grocery business nationally, with City residents poised to benefit.

Grocery prices nationally have been heading down due to lower commodity prices but also because of new entrants into the grocery business, such as Wal-Mart, which now has the largest share of the market. The price war has been good for consumers but hurt grocery companies, including Harris Teeter parent Kroger, whose stock price has tumbled from $40 to $23 in the last 18 months.

It’s not inconceivable that the City could gain still more grocery stores as well. City officials love supermarkets, because they bring in a lot of tax revenue due to their high volume of sales. And the Tinner Hill project, where Fresh Market was slated to go, still could attract a grocer to its 20,000 square foot space. Multiple sources tell the Times that a deal could be announced shortly for a new tenant there, but it’s unknown if that new tenant is a grocer. It seems likely, because there are few other businesses that would want or could afford a large retail space, but we will all find out soon enough.

Fresh Market and Lincoln Property Co., which owns the building, are both anxious to get a new tenant in there. Fresh Market continues to make lease payments on the site despite their decision to forego a store and would like to stop, and Lincoln would like a tenant because it would help them attract other businesses to their other still-vacant retail spaces. That, of course, would in turn help the City.

June 28, 2017 


2 Responses to “German Supermarket Aldi Bringing City Shoppers Another Option”

  1. Eric Albrecht Falls Church on June 29th, 2017 2:30 pm

    The Aldi (short for Albrecht Discount) grocer has an interesting history. Started by two brothers, Carl and Theo Albrecht in Germany just after WWII, it catered to those needing and only able to afford the basics. They have been big business ever since. One of the brothers bought the Trader Joe’s company but kept the name because of it’s recognition and loyal following. Aldi’s philosophy is simple, good products and fair prices without all the frills. The company has been growing here in the United States and in other countries. This will be a nice addition to the Falls Church community and economy.

  2. Stephen Siegel on June 30th, 2017 9:29 am

    Thanks for the history lesson, Eric!

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