BEMIDJI -- The grocery store chain ALDI is planning to expand into the Bemidji market, according to company officials.
"We are excited to confirm we are pursuing a store in Bemidji," Matt Lilla, division vice president for ALDI in Fairbault, Minn., said in an email to the Pioneer. Lilla said more details will be available in the future.
Company officials have made contact with the Bemidji planning office and intend to submit an application this week for a conditional use permit, according to Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Director Casey Mai. That use permit would then be brought before the Joint Planning Commission on Nov. 21, followed by a vote on final approval at the Joint Planning Board's meeting on Dec. 11.
"Whenever you have a grocery store larger than 15,000 square feet, it is required to have a conditional use permit because of the traffic volume and things to that nature," Mai said.
A store in Bemidji would be the latest in several ALDI locations emerging in the northern Minnesota region and beyond. In November 2017, an ALDI opened in Dilworth, Minn., and in June, another opened in Fargo.
According to the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, another Fargo location is expected to open in 2020, as the company plans to have 2,500 stores across the nation by 2022 as part of a $3.4 billion expansion and renovation plan. The first ALDI to open in the United States was in Iowa in 1976. Today, the store has 1,900 locations.
In Minnesota, the first ALDI opened its doors in 2003. Since then, stores have opened in communities such as Baxter, Grand Rapids, Virginia and Fergus Falls, as well as the Duluth and Twin Cities metro areas.
The company originated in Germany in 1946. According to its website, the stores carry ALDI exclusive brands, rather than national brands, which can result in lower prices.