We live in the Conejo Valley and like most folks, most of our grocery shopping is done at nearby stores...Albertsons, Trader Joe's, Costco, Ralphs, Sprouts, Smart & Final, and so on. But German grocery store ALDI opened in Simi Valley in June and we wanted to check it out.
ALDI is an abbreviation for Albrecht Diskont, or Albrecht Discount, named after founders Karl and Theo Albrecht in 1946. You may already know that ALDI is the parent company to both the Trader Joe's chain (purchased in 1979) and the ALDI store chain. That said, this ALDI store looks and feels nothing like a Trader Joe's store (to me at least). ALDI is one of the world's largest privately-owned companies.
The Simi Valley ALDI store is located at 425 Cochran Street in Simi at the Plaza, next to PetSmart and Party City and sandwiched between nearby Walmart and Home Depot.
The first thing you'll notice is that you'll need a quarter as a deposit to get a shopping cart. Place the quarter in the slot and the cart is yours; the quarter will be returned when you return the cart. If you don't have a quarter handy, not to worry; the folks working at the store were happy to lend a quarter for a cart when I was there.
I found the store to be on the "spartan" side, to some degree like the Fresh & Easy stores that are long gone, but lighter and brighter and the shelves were not as high. To keep costs low, the chain does not carry anywhere near the number of items that a typical grocery store carries. This does seem to pay off in that pricing is quite low.
This particular visit I was not planning to do my complete grocery shopping, including refrigerated items, etc. This visit was mainly to acquire snacks for the household. The first aisle as you walk into the store has quite a large selection of items, most of which are ALDI brands. We enjoyed exploring the snacks and piled our cart with reasonably priced items.
As you can see in the image to the right, ALDI brands like Millville look quite a bit like well known brands. "Fruit Rounds" at only $1.19/box looks good to me. And "Crispy Oats" looks a bit like, ahem, Cheerios.
As you can see above, the aisles are fairly wide and easy to navigate. We found a lot of great snacks and interesting items throughout the store, then went to pay.
ALDI does not provide paper or plastic bags, so do bring your own reusable bags or you can buy them at checkout. And when you check out, they do not bag your items for you. They scan the items off of the belt and place them back into your cart. From there, roll your cart a few feet away to the self-bagging area.
To learn more, visit www.aldi.us. The Simi Valley location is the only ALDI in Ventura County at this time. The next closest store is in Inglewood at 3330. W. Century Blvd. (about 6 miles from LAX).