Last Updated: Mar 31st, 2014 - 14:20:42


New grocery store planned
By James Peacemaker, Jr. Managing Editor
Jan 30, 2014, 11:33

JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT An Aldi grocery store is planned to go on Temple Avenue just east of the Sonic restaurant.

COLONIAL HEIGHTS — Some people have said Aldi is like the Ikea of grocery stores.

Well, you won’t find an Allen wrench in your box of cereal, but you will find low prices.

And now the German discount grocery store chain has plans to build a store in Colonial Heights in the Southpark Mall area.

The 17,018-square-foot store would go on a 3-acre site near the intersection of Temple Avenue and Charles H. Dimmock Parkway. The location would be just east of the Sonic restaurant on Temple Avenue, with an entrance to be on Dimmock Parkway. Right now, the spot is just a large gravel lot.

A company official speaking at the city Planning Commission meeting in January said the company has been looking for a good location for a store in the Richmond area for a year and a half and thought Colonial Heights was a great location. He said they were attracted by the growth in the area.

Aldi is planning to build the store not long after Kroger announced its plan to build a store on Temple Avenue at the location of the former courthouse.

The Aldi representative said they are not worried about the competition from nearby Kroger and Wal-mart, saying that the traffic will help their business thrive. Martin’s, Food Lion and Sam’s Club also have stores in the city.

There are some differences that customers will find at Aldi stores.

While a typical grocery store has 30,000 brands, Aldi offers only about 1,400, according to its website. Nearly all of their items are Aldi store brands.

Aldi stores are typically smaller as well. This store would be less than one-quarter the size of the Kroger planned for Temple Avenue. Typical Aldi stores only have about 15-20 employees.

The Aldi chain also charges 25 cents to rent a shopping cart, but you can get the money back when you return your cart. This eliminates the need for employees to round up carts in the parking lot. Customers also must bring their own bags or purchase them at the store. They also do not take credit cards, checks or the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. They only accept cash, EBT or debit cards. The stores also do not stay open late. All of these measures aim to keep prices low.

Aldi operates nearly 1,300 stores in 32 states. They have more than a dozen locations in Virginia so far, with most in the northern part of the state.

Last month, Aldi announced that the grocery store chain plans to open 650 new stores across the nation in the next five years. To reach the goal, the chain will open about 130 stores a year, up from its previously planned 80 per year.

“We’re ramping up our expansion plans to meet growing demand for Aldi from customers across the country,” said Aldi president Jason Hart in a news release.

The investment would be about $3 billion and would create 10,000 new jobs.

Southpark Mall stores

Three new businesses could soon be going in along Dick’s Sporting Goods at Southpark Mall.

International House of Pancakes, Firehouse Subs and Five Below are planning to go in the northeast side of Dick’s, although all lease agreements may not be finalized.

The space was made available after Dillard’s announced it would close in September 2012.

The Dillard’s department store was 85,000 square feet while Dick’s occupied only 56,000 square feet of that space. It left strips of retail space available on each side of the store that can be used by future stores or restaurants.

The three businesses will all be on one side of Dick’s, according to plans shown at a city Planning Commission meeting in January. IHOP would occupy 4,000 square feet. Firehouse Subs would take up 2,200 square feet. Discount store Five Below would be on the outside corner and take up 8,200 square feet.

CBL and Associates, which owns the mall, was seeking the Planning Commission’s approval to exceed the amount of space allowed for signs.

Construction has already begun on revamping the outside facade of the mall. A large section of wall is currently missing, temporarily revealing a steel framework covered in plastic. A post by Firehouse Subs on their facebook page says that they expect the location to be open by April.

Plans show how three upscale storefronts will be added to the northeast side.

The architect for the project, James Horsch, of Herschman Architects, said the developer is investing money to make the building look more attractive.

“He wants this to be a very nice looking rebuild renovation. He’s spending a lot of money to find the materials and articulation of the architecture that is really going to be a nice enhancement to his side of the mall,” he said at the Planning Commission meeting.

Horsch said parts of the facade will feature cultured stone and a surface that resembles brick.

The addition of Dick’s and the new restaurants are part of several major changes that have occurred over the past few years. The mall has completely renovated its food court, expanded the movie theater, built a children’s play area, and added numerous recognizable brands to its lineup of stores.

Changes for Golden Corral

The Golden Corral restaurant near Southpark Mall will also see major changes.

The company plans to demolish the building at 250 Conduit Road in early 2014.

The existing 13,357-square-foot building will be replaced with a brand new 12,947-square-foot building.

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