Alabaster Aldi opening this fall

Crews clear a lot near the intersection of Simmsville Road and U.S. 31 in June to house a new Aldi grocery store. Workers have since constructed the majority of the store's building. (File)

Crews clear a lot near the intersection of Simmsville Road and U.S. 31 in June to house a new Aldi grocery store. Workers have since constructed the majority of the store’s building. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – A new Aldi grocery store at the intersection of U.S. 31 and Shelby County 11 in Alabaster is scheduled to open in the next few months, according to information released by the company.

In a press release issued on Aug. 5, Aldi’s public relations firm, Webber Shandwick, announced a hiring seminar scheduled for Aug. 12 at the Sheraton hotel in downtown Birmingham. The seminar will be from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. at the hotel, which is 2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N. in Birmingham.

During the seminar, the company will be hiring for its existing stores in Pelham, Bessemer, Birmingham, Fultondale and Homewood, and for its future stores in Alabaster and Hueytown, which are “slated to open this fall.”

Crews began working on the 17,651-square-foot Alabaster Aldi in June, and have since constructed the majority of the building’s exterior. The future site of the Aldi store is behind the city of Alabaster’s welcome sign and flags at the intersection of U.S. 31 and Shelby County 11.

The Ohio-based Deerfield Construction and the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Morgan Construction Company are the contractors for the project.

Project plans call for the store to offer access from U.S. 31 and from Shelby County 11, and call for improvements to the two roads to allow the access points. The store’s main parking area will face Shelby County 11, and a smaller parking area will face U.S. 31.

During a May 27 meeting, the Shelby County Commission approved a right-of-way acquisition from Aldi to aid the property’s development. The project will include relocating utilities and providing proper drainage in the area, as well as adding right- and left-hand turn lanes from Shelby County 11 to the property, according to County Engineer Randy Cole.

The Alabaster store will be Aldi’s second in Shelby County and its eighth in the Birmingham metropolitan area. The company opened a 17,500-square-foot store off U.S. 31 in Pelham in March 2011.

Aldi Food Markets have several differences from many other area grocery stores. Aldi offers limited name-brand products, and relies heavily on its own store brands.

Shopping carts are rented for 25 cents each, and the quarter is refunded when the cart is returned to its rack. Shoppers must also either bring shopping bags from home or purchase them at the checkout line.

Because Aldi charges for bags and rents shopping carts to customers, the store is able to keep its prices down by not assigning employees to collect shopping carts from the parking lot and bag groceries.