Low-frills grocer Aldi is coming to south Lakeland. The international chain is planning to build its second Lakeland store at 4532 S. Florida Ave., currently the site of a Golden Corral restaurant, which is slated for demolition.

The 19,209-square-foot store at the intersection with Alamo Street will be just a quarter mile from two other grocers: the Lake Miriam Publix (roughly 50,000 square feet) and Publix’ two-year-old, upscale GreenWise Market (25,500 square feet).

The new store is scheduled to open by the end of 2022, according to Matt Thon, Haines City Division vice president for Aldi.

“The new Lakeland Aldi store layout will have ample refrigeration for more fresh, healthy and convenient products. The new store will also feature open ceilings, natural lighting and environmentally friendly building materials,” he said.

General contractor is ADT Commercial of Oldsmar, according to city of Lakeland records. The project engineer expects construction to begin in February, according to Chuck Barmby, the city’s business development and traffic manager. 

Aldi has a distribution center in Haines City, and the chain’s online store locator shows seven locations in Polk County, including one in north Lakeland at 4745 U.S. 98 North.

The south Lakeland store will front South Florida Avenue with 99 parking spaces in the rear, including four accessible spaces, according to a site plan filed with the city of Lakeland.

Aldi has been in expansion mode, adding around 100 new stores this year and “is on track to become the third-largest grocery retailer by store count by the end of 2022,” according to a company news release.

Coming to 4532 S. Florida Ave.: Aldi. Going: Golden Corral

The grocery retailer promotes its low prices, driven by using house brands for 90% of its products rather than name brands. Customers are encouraged to bring reusable shopping bags; those using shopping carts deposit a quarter, which is refunded when the cart is returned to the corral, a move that Aldi says keeps them from having to hire employees to round up carts.

The company currently has more than 2,100 stores in 37 states. Aldi has its roots in Germany, and two related Aldi companies together have more than 10,000 stores in 20 countries.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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