Could Aldi Buy Up Michigan’s Local Grocery Stores Too?
Aldi is a growing grocery store that is well known for being one of the cheapest options out there. It is, in fact, the cheapest grocery store in Michigan and there are plenty of locations to choose from save a few extra bucks at the price of bagging your own groceries and using a quarter for the buggy (shopping cart, for the uninitiated).
Recently Aldi announced it is buying two southern local grocery store chains, Winn-Dixie and Harvey's. Aldi has significantly more stores in the south and is continuously expanding in the area. The purchase of these stores complements that effort, however, not every store will be transformed into Aldi overnight or at all.
It begs the question for us here in Michigan if that could be the case for our local grocery chains. Arguably the most notable local chain is Harding's Markets.
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer on if this could be the case. After all, there wasn't exactly anticipation that Aldi would purchase the chains it did. All announced plans for the franchise's expansion didn't expressly include potentially buying the likes of Winn-Dixie and Harvey's.
Still, there are a couple of silver linings should Aldi go in that direction in the Midwest as the franchise continues to expand across the nation.
First is the most obvious: Just because Aldi purchases a chain doesn't spell doom for the name and style of the local grocery store. Folks in the southeast, at least for now, are still going to walk into Winn-Dixie and have the same shopping experience as before. Presumably, if the same happened here in Michigan, Harding's or whatever chain was bought would still keep some of the stores as is.
The second is that Aldi isn't going for a full monopoly to drive out the lesser competition. At least, not yet. Until proven otherwise, Aldi is leaving some local chains alone. For instance, being from the southeast, a local grocery chain called Piggly Wiggly wasn't bought up. "The Pig" as it's affectionately known down south is a more widespread chain, though it isn't as popular as Winn-Dixie.
Third and finally, the prices at these local chains will likely be even lower. Many local grocery stores have better prices in some areas and higher in others to compete with the national franchise. Aldi is simply cheaper than them all. If Aldi gives those same prices to the stores that are keeping their original name it would provide a significant boost to their namesake.
Of course, there will be those that are frustrated altogether by the idea regardless. Big businesses growing at the expense of smaller ones is not the cheeriest aspect of our economic structure. Some folks prefer to shop local at all times, and as good a value as Aldi can be, they aren't local, even if they bear the name of a familiar experience.
While we don't have a clear answer yet, and may not for some time, it's at least good to keep an eye out for when Aldi could move in on Michigan's or the Midwest's local chains and how it would look in the event that they do.