Aldi Foods offers biggest 'green' savings yet

The village of East Syracuse welcomed a new grocery chain to its Bridge Street mix June 2. Representatives of Aldi Foods, known for its no frills and deep discount retailing, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony the Friday before opening day for its new pilot store, Generation 1, which focuses on energy management and conservation.

"We've always had the quarter in the cart, the bags you can save and use again," said District Manager Anne James about the resourceful chain's established practices. "Keeping our stores small helps, too, because it makes us more efficient and then we can pass that savings on."

New "green" features of the Generation 1 store include CPC Energy Management System to control lighting, temperature and defrost cycles; ultrasonic and infrared motion sensors in all restrooms, break rooms and office; skylights with daylight harvesting; and a retail light dimming control system.

An open house held Saturday encouraged the public to check out their new store -- the only one built so far on the East Side of Syracuse.

"[The open house is] to give new customers an opportunity to see us on the inside, and taste some products and see the value and quality they can get from Aldi," said Aaron Sumida, vice president of Aldi, New York Division.

Aldi U.S. is based in Batavia, Ill. and operates independently from its parent company in Germany. With more than 950 stores in 28 states, the company plans to open another 100 stores this year, said New York Operations Director Randy Engelbrecht.

"We're doing a lot of expansion this year, primarily along the East Coast," he said.

One prospective store happens to be in the same town of DeWitt, just a few miles away at Lyndon Corners. Nearby residents are against the location, with common complaints pertaining to traffic. According to the state Department of Transportation, 40,000 cars pass through Lyndon Corners every day. Where Aldi sees opportunities for high sales at a highly frequented intersection, many residents see an invitation for more congestion at an already less-than-convenient juncture.

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