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The ALDI grocery store at Capital Station in Dover had its grand opening on Thursday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Local resident Carol Price thinks the new ALDI that opened its doors at 10 N. DuPont Highway in Dover’s Capital Station on Thursday will be a time-saving convenience for her but a hard-hitting competitor for nearby grocers.

“I started doing all my shopping at the ALDI that opened up in Camden a few years ago, but this new one is about 15 minutes closer to my house,” she said. “Before that, I did most of my weekly shopping at the Redner’s Market. When I switched, I was saving about $20 per shopping trip, so it was sort of a no-brainer.

“With how cheap the food and sale items are here, I think the Redner’s, Safeway and Food Lion in town are going to have a hard time competing. I don’t know what’s going to happen with that old ACME by the racetrack (Dover International Speedway) that closed down last year, but now I think they’d be crazy to try to put another grocery store in there.”

Competition among grocers seems poised to get even steeper in Dover. Lidl — another discount retail grocer — is clearing a 7.5-acre parcel from 122 to 162 N. DuPont Highway with the intention to build a new store. That location is only a block north of the just-opened ALDI.

Ms. Price was one of over 100 patrons who turned out to the grand opening despite pouring rain Thursday morning. The still-under-construction Capital Station Dover shopping center was packed with cars for the occasion.

Several new stores, including a Starbucks, have recently opened in the shopping center, which used to be the site of the long-defunct Playtex plant. Organizers of the project believe the site will be fully complete by the fall.

ALDI Center Valley Division Vice President Bob Grammer was happy to have a large turnout.

ALDI associate Marion Wright helps a customer at the checkout lane during the Dover location’s grand opening on Thursday.

“We’re so excited that we officially opened our doors to the Dover community this morning,” he said on Thursday. “We’ve seen many loyal ALDI shoppers, as well as new fans, visit the new Dover store today and we were pleased with the turnout, particularly given the rainy weather. Today’s event was fun for everyone, and we look forward to continuing to serve the Dover community.”

A routine draw to its openings, ALDI promised 100 “golden ticket” gift cards that vary from $5 to $100 to the first 100 customers. Visitors also had the opportunity to enter a drawing to win a year’s worth of free produce from the store. According to Mr. Grammer, the gift cards went quickly and the produce winner will be contacted within a week.

Expanding influence

The new store is the German discount supermarket chain’s fifth to open in the state. ALDI managers noted that it’s the most recent opening in a $3.4 billion investment to open 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022. The chain opened a store in Smyrna last December — it also has stores in Wilmington, Middletown and Camden.

The store has approximately 12,000 square feet of retail space and will employ 15 to 20 people. Though many of their stores have only a modest staff, ALDI seeks to cement a reputation for competitive compensation when compared to local grocers. ALDI has said that employee pay ranged from about $12.70 to $27 per hour.

Manager trainees can expect to make $60,000 to $70,000 per year (with an opportunity to make up to $95,000 per year as the store manager.) Shift managers can expect to make $16.95 per hour plus a bonus when performing manager duties and full-time store associates make around $12.70 per hour.

Employees averaging more than 25 hours per week are also eligible for full health insurance benefits and dental coverage. To learn more about working at ALDI and search current job openings, go to careers.aldi.us.

To make grocery shopping easier, ALDI managers noted that the company launched a partnership with online grocery delivery service Instacart. The service is available at ALDI stores in locations where Instacart currently delivers. Instacart delivers to 6,000 ZIP codes across 38 states and is accessible to 70 percent (82 million) of U.S. households. Customers who are interested in ordering ALDI products through Instacart can check if the service is available to them by searching aldi.us/en/grocery-delivery.

The new ALDI store will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Staff writer Ian Gronau can be reached at 741-8272 or igronau@newszap.com