This post has been updated with comments from ALDI.
The Shelby Park Neighborhood Association is courting ALDI to replace a recently vacated Save-A-Lot grocery that some residents depended on.
The association has started a social media campaign and sent a letter to ALDI, asking the business to consider filling the void left by Save-A-Lot, which abruptly closed its doors at 1311 S. Shelby St. earlier this month.
“We’re just trying to create a wave of enthusiasm and take care of our neighbors,” said Charles Rogalinski, the association’s president and a nine-year neighborhood resident.
The group is encouraging anyone who cares about the issue to go to ALDI’s online contact page and express support for Shelby Park.
The Save-A-Lot, which closed in October amid a bankruptcy by Buehler Inc. and Buehler LLC, was a convenient location for people without transportation or who prefer to travel by foot.
So many people walk to that location that grocery shopping becomes a hassle with no grocery in the Save-A-Lot spot, Rogalinski said. “I want to make sure my neighbors can walk.”
ALDI, a discount retailer with multiple stores in Louisville, issued a statement Wednesday, acknowledging the association’s interest but making no commitment.
“We’re flattered by the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association’s enthusiasm for a new ALDI store, but right now, we cannot confirm any plans for a new store in the area,” the statement said. “We hope Shelby Park shoppers will consider visiting our nearby store at 3442 Preston Highway.”
ALDI also noted that its goal is to be conveniently located to shoppers and that it’s “always exploring new real estate opportunities around the country.”
The national retailer, which opened new stores on Hurstbourne Parkway and the Outer Loop this summer, sells “frequently purchased grocery and household items, primarily under its exclusive brands, which meet or exceed national name brands on taste and quality,” according to a company description.
“They may have limited national brands, but their off-brands are affordable, and almost all of it is self-serve, meaning there might be a pallet of toilet paper and you take the toilet paper off,” Rogalinski said. “In many cases,” he added, “they’re similar to Save-A-Lot, but I would say they’re a step up.”
ALDI, which originated in Germany, has been sprucing up stores in the local area recently. Insider Louisville reported in July that ALDI would be doing more than $9 million in upgrades to several stores in and around Louisville. That remodeling will wrap up by the end of 2019, ALDI said Wednesday.
A news release from August notes that the company has more than 1,800 stores nationwide and is on an accelerated growth plan that includes “investing more than $5 billion to remodel and expand its store count to 2,500 by the end of 2022.”
ALDI also announced a new product expansion that it said would deliver more fresh products to its customers, including more ready-to-cook and organic fresh meats and an expanded selection of produce, according to the August release.
If an ALDI were to open in Shelby Park, it could draw customers not only from that neighborhood but possibly nearby ones, such as Germantown, Smoketown and Schnitzelburg, said Rogalinski.
Already, the Logan Street Market — which is expected to have a mix of vendors selling fresh produce, meats, baked goods, prepared food and other items — is set to open next year in Shelby Park, and Rogalinski said he welcomes that.
“We think they’re going to bring some variety and be able to welcome everybody in the neighborhood, but there needs to be multiple options,” he said. “An ALDI, I think, could quickly replace that Save-A-Lot and make sure that there were options for at least the eastern part of downtown.”