WASHINGTON — For decades, the grocery shopping the American way has meant: the bigger the better. National and regional chains such as Safeway, Giant, Harris Teeter and Wegman’s seek to grab you and keep you for just one (huge) shopping trip.
Smaller national chains have gone against that grain. Whole Foods touts high quality — albeit at a higher price. Trader Joe’s pitches value and unique products, presented in much smaller venues.
The European way has been coming to our shores for a while, thanks to two huge grocery chains based in Germany: Aldi and Lidl (pronounced LEE-dul). Lidl has announced the Jan. 11 opening of its fourth Northern Virginia location, in Woodbridge. Aldi has six stores inside the Beltway.
Both chains sell their own brands almost exclusively, touting considerable savings over name brands. Both also brag about an efficient shopping experience.
Lidl says, along with its own lower prices, its presence drives down prices at competitors. Will Harwood, Lidl’s US spokesman, calls it “The Lidl Effect”: “All you have to do is drive toward a Lidl store,” he said. “Other retailers in the area of our stores will drop their prices by as much as 30 percent.”
He called that effect “great news, not just for Lidl customers, but for everyone who shops in the areas surrounding our stores.”
Lidl’s Woodbridge store will be at 2070 Tacketts Village Square.