By Kate Ramunni
HAMDEN – One of the worst-kept secrets became official Monday: Aldi will be opening in the Hamden Mart.
Economic Development Director Dale Kroop confirmed in a press release Monday that Aldi has leased 20,000 square feet of the 36,000 square foot space formerly occupied by Toys ‘R Us, which closed five years ago. The new store is expected to open next spring.
The remaining square footage in that space will be occupied by Wine Merchants, which is currently located in the Mart next to WalMart.
“The Town of Hamden is thrilled to welcome Aldi to the Hamden Mart,” Mayor Curt Balzano Leng said in a release Monday. “For many years, our Economic Development Department has worked tirelessly to fill the vacancy left by Toys-R-Us. Thanks to the dedicated work of Director Kroop and his staff, we are very happy to report a “slam-dunk” with the arrival of Aldi.
“The town looks forward to the many benefits their presence will bring to Hamden and residents at large.” said Leng.
Aldi is described as a “no-frills grocery shopping experience.” Much of its inventory is Aldi-brand products and the store will have only four or five aisles that offer the “essentials,” according to the company, including a meat department and a produce department that will be stocked in part by locally grown fruits and vegetables.
“From USDA Choice meats to gluten-free and organic foods, we are committed to bringing our shoppers the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices,” the company states.
The opening of the town’s first Aldi will bring with it about 50 new jobs, Kroop said. The store was founded by the Albrecht family in 1976 and has more than 1,600 stores across 35 states, employs over 24,000 people, he said.
Also next spring, Burlington Clothing will open in the space formerly occupied by Bon Ton, which recently closed. The company is now hiring to fill positions for the new store. And Zzaam Korean BBQ will open in the space that formerly housed the Muscle Maker Grill, which also recently closed.
There are two more stores that will be soon moving into the Mart, Kroop said.
“Kimko Realty, who owns and manages the Hamden Mart will also have announcements later this year about two new retailers in the Mart,” he said.
“Retailers know that Hamden is a strong market for shopping in the Magic Mile,” Kroop said. “Our access to the Wilber Cross Parkway and several other state roads makes access easy for retailers. We look forward to seeing people shop at these several new stores and eateries.”