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Jax Daily Record Friday, Oct. 13, 201705:30 PM EST

German grocer Aldi to open near Trader Joe’s in Mandarin

The stores will operate in side-by-side San Jose Boulevard shopping centers.

In what would be its 10th Northeast Florida location, Aldi posted signs for a San Jose Boulevard location at 10950 San Jose Blvd.

That would give the Germany-based discount grocer sites in many neighborhoods around the area, with more expected.

It also would bring competition to that stretch of western San Jose Boulevard south of Interstate 295.

Aldi intends to open in San Jose Plaza, which is next to Claire Lane Center where Trader Joe’s opened last week.

Monrovia, California-based Trader Joe’s is leasing a 13,700-square-foot space at 11112 San Jose Blvd. Trader Joe’s opened its first area store in October 2014 in Jacksonville Beach, so it’s not developing at the same pace as Aldi.

Trader Joe’s describes itself as a neighborhood grocery store with foods and beverages ranging from the everyday to the exotic.

A building-permit application shows that Aldi would take 21,000 square feet of space in a former fitness center that would be renovated at a cost of $800,000.

Aldi representatives did not respond to emails or calls for comment.

On Aug. 31, Aldi opened its fifth area discount grocery store at Town Center Promenade.

The first four opened in St. Augustine in St. Johns County; Middleburg in Clay County; and in Jacksonville at 9041 Southside Blvd. and at 7043 Normandy Blvd.

Jason Povlick, Aldi area real estate director, said at the Town Center Promenade opening that two more sites were under contract in Yulee in Nassau County and in the Oakleaf area of Southwest Jacksonville.

While he declined to specify where those would be, previously reported plans show Oakleaf Corner as a potential address.

There also are stores under construction in Bolton Plaza along Blanding Boulevard in Orange Park and in CB Square in the Regency area in a former Bed Bath and Beyond along Atlantic Boulevard.

San Jose Plaza’s store would be the 10th identified.

Povlick said in August that several Aldi stores would open in the Jacksonville market over the next several years, but he did not want to be specific.

The newer stores feature the chain’s “new look” of a modern design, natural lighting and an environmental focus on building materials, refrigeration and lighting.

They also feature new shelving and floor tiling, different wall graphics, more fresh produce, larger bakery and dairy sections and other enhancements.

The opening along San Jose Boulevard also continues the talk about the relationship between Aldi and Trader Joe’s. One does not own the other.

Trader Joe’s opened last week in Claire Lane Center. It’s the second area store for the California-based chain.

In a 2014 obituary for Karl Albrecht, The New York Times described the history.

Brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht created Aldi in Germany after World War II, taking over their mother’s store.

After a disagreement, the brothers divided the company in 1961. Karl Albrecht controlled operations in Britain, Australia and the United States, while Theo Albrecht ran the stores in Europe. 

The Times wrote that Theo Albrecht stepped into the American market in 1979 by buying the Trader Joe’s chain, applying some Aldi principles to upscale items like California wine, goat cheese and olive oil. 

Meanwhile, the Trader Joe’s website says it traces its history to 1958 when it was called Pronto Markets. The name was changed to Trader Joe’s in 1967.

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