Alexandria’s 3rd Aldi grocery store to open by year’s end

Aldi will have three Alexandria, Virginia, stores by the end of 2016. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Work is underway on Duke Street in Alexandria, Virginia, to build a new Aldi grocery store. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
The new Aldi will go where the Tres Hermanas restaurant used to be. The site was the home to Mango Mike's before that. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
The Duke Street site for Aldi used to be a restaurant. Before Tres Hermanas, it was Mango Mike's. A surfboard from Mango Mike's is seen in the background. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Aldi expects its third Alexandria, Virginia, store to open by the end of 2016/ (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Traffic and population around Duke Street, seen here, help the company determine where new stores will be located. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
The new Aldi will be located directly across Duke Street from Harris Teeter. Years ago, this Harris Teeter was a Magruder's. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Aldi opened its Del Ray store in July 2016. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
The Monroe Avenue Aldi in Alexandria, Virginia, used to be a Giant. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
You will need a quarter to get a cart at Aldi. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Aldi offered customers $10 off a $40 purchase through flyers delivered through the mail. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Among the deals during the Aldi grand opening of its Monroe Avenue store was bread for a dime. Of course, the sign technically indicates it would be less than a penny. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Aldi positions its store brands next to well-known brands in packaging that is similar. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Aisles at Aldi are wider than a lot of other stores, and goods are displayed in boxes rather than lined up on shelves. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Aldi stores are smaller than a lot of other grocery stores, but carry the basics at lower prices. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Aldi produce is displayed in boxes. Prices tend to be cheaper than Harris Teeter, Giant and Safeway,although the selection is smaller. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
Aldi opened its first Alexandria, Virginia, store in a vacant Magruder's. All three stores are in the densely populated West End. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Right now, the 4800 block of Duke Street, across the street from the Harris Teeter at the Shoppes at Foxchase, doesn’t look like much. It’s just a 14-acre dirt lot with construction underway.

An Aldi grocery store is being built on the site that for years had housed restaurants, most recently Tres Hermanas; for 18 years before that, Mango Mike’s.

“The Alexandria location is expected to open near the end of the year,” said Jeff Baehr, Aldi Frederick division’s vice president.

“The store will be approximately 17,000 square feet and have 10,000 to 11,000 square feet of selling space, with four to five aisles, as is typical for Aldi stores,” Baehr said.

“Today’s Aldi stores are also built with environmentally friendly materials such as energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting.”

Aldi is a well-lit discount supermarket with its own brand-name items that look similar to well-known brands. The shelves are stocked not with items neatly lined up one behind the other, but with the items in their original shipping boxes, like you’d see at a Costco.

Customers will need to bring, or pay for, grocery bags, and you will have to bag the food yourself. And you’ll need a quarter to get a grocery cart, although you get it back when you return the cart.

If the Duke Street store opens before the end of the year, it will be Alexandria’s third Aldi store in two years, all three in the West End. The Duke Street location is near a number of apartments, including the large Foxchase Apartments complex, on Jordan Street.

“We look at a lot of factors before choosing an Aldi location, like population density, proximity to competition, cost of the property and traffic patterns. We want to be conveniently located for our shoppers,” said Baehr.

The first Aldi to open in the city is just 1.4 miles from the Duke Street location. It opened in December 2015 in a vacant Magruder’s supermarket at 4604 Kenmore Ave., off Seminary Avenue. Magruder’s, one of the region’s last family-owned grocery chains based out of Rockville, Maryland, closed its Kenmore Avenue location and the rest of its stores in 2013.

The second Aldi opened July 21 in a former Giant building at 425 Monroe Ave., in Del Ray. Last September, Giant opened a 57,716-square-foot grocery store at East Glebe Street and Richmond Highway. The Potomac Yard store is three times larger than the one at Monroe Avenue.

Those with long grocery store memories will remember that the Harris Teeter across from the Duke Street Aldi used to be a Magruder’s.

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