Esther Hurtado is an experienced buyer that knows supermarkets well and searches for stores with good offers, but also makes sure the products are of good quality. When she began to look through Lidl aisles, she had no doubt that “this store looks exciting.”
Hurtado woke up early to be one of the first people to enter the new Lidl store in Winston-Salem, which along with nine others located in three states on the East Coast, were inaugurated this Thursday, June 15. Towards the end of summer 2018, the German supermarket chain plans to open a total of 100 stores.
The experienced Hispanic buyer is not mistaken in her description. When you entering Lidl supermarket, the senses receive a stimulating effect with the smell of freshly baked bread out of the oven from the bakery oven which is at the entrance of the store.
The vivid colors of the fresh fruit and vegetable section also entice the customer, who can comfortably stroll the 6 aisles of the 20,000 square-foot supermarket. The store has perfect lighting and the organized aisles allow shoppers to find the products they want in an easy manner.
“Our purpose is basically that when our visitor finishes searching the first aisle, they will already have most of their grocery shopping done. It’s where our fresh products, vegetables, coffee, dairy and refrigerated products are all placed in a convenient manner,” explained Chandler Ebier, spokesperson for Lidl supermarkets, to ABASTO.
More than 500 people patiently waited in a long line in front of Lidl’s store doors early Thursday morning to be the first to shop in the German establishment, who aside from offering their private label goods, is concerned with promoting the local economy and buys products from local farmers.
In North Carolina, they have five providers. Among them is the Hispanic Women in Agriculture Cooperative, funded by Martha Calderon, owner of Calderon Produce, and her sister-in-law Esmeralda Sandoval in the town of Vale, western North Carolina. This Hispanic organization sells tomatoes and peppers to Lidl.
Lidl is a strong competitor with low prices
In addition to its rollout of fresh produce, Lidl wants to show that it is a strong competition among other larger, discounted supermarket chains like Walmart.
The prices of Lidl’s products and discounted offers benefits the pockets of consumers. For example, good quality bottles of wine start at $2.89; a black Angus Beef Steak costs $6.99 per pound; and an imported pasta package from Italy costs 99 cents.
“Lidl is a unique experience. We invite our clients to reshape their way of doing shopping. Our stores are simply, from entrance to departure,” said Ashley Peace, Director of Lidl Properties U.S., to ABASTO.
Every store has close to 50 employees who train for about 5 weeks to know the supermarket function and offer good service to clients. With nine cash registers available, they want to avoid large lines of people waiting to pay and the employees expressed to ABASTO their satisfaction with having the opportunity to work with this new German company in the United States.
A good opening day was held in the first ten supermarkets Lidl. They will have to demonstrate a great level of service, good products and low prices in the next coming weeks and months to prevent their neighbors and competitors, such as Walmart and Aldi, from recovering the clients who have been dazzled by “the new kid in the neighborhood.”
Photos: Hernando Ramírez-Santos