Aldi logo

The German-owned discount supermarket chain Aldi is considering opening a store in Evanston.

The chain reportedly is considering located the store on a vacant out-lot at the east edge of the Home Depot shopping center at Oakton Street and Hartrey Avenue.

Aldi builds relatively small stores with an inventory of about 1,300 products — only about three percent of the items carried in many larger new supermarkets.

But it has achieve success with a model of deeply discounted prices, a focus on store brands, and cutting costs by, among other things, charging customers a refundable 25 cents to use a grocery cart.

The chain’s interest in Evanston was first disclosed by Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, on her message board, and was confirmed by city officials who asked not to be named because the zoning analysis request the chain has filed is not considered a public document.

The chain, the focus of a column Sunday in the New York Times, is owned by two elderly German billionaires, brothers Theo and Karl Albrecht.

Theo Albrecht also owns the more up-scale Trader Joe’s chain, which is planning to open its first Evanston store on the ground floor of a 14-story rental apartment building planned for 1890 Maple Ave.

Aldi has over 950 stores in the United States including 180 in Illinois and 20 within about 12 miles of Evanston. It reportedly plans to add 100 more stores in the U.S. within the next year.

The closest existing Aldi stores to Evanston are at 4833 Oakton St. in Skokie and at 6220 N. California in Chicago.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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